Monday, August 13, 2012

Verb News

The developers from the Virtual Speech Center recently released a new app Verb News. The app is based on a young boy named Andrew. Andrew's news channels each teach the student about a different verb tenses.

By selecting the 'Intro to Tenses' button, the students are given short explanations of verb tenses. These include Simple Present, Simple Past, Simple Future and Present Continues. These each include about 3 minutes of information presented with a timeline visual for support. For example in the 'Simple Past' video it explains that the past can be 5 minutes ago, yesterday or last week.  The app explains that usually we use -ed to mark past tense. The other words we have to memorize, such as the verb 'bought.'

When you're ready to work with your students, select the 'Start' button. Here you can add students easily by typing in their names. Select multiple players as needed. The next section of the app with have you select the word targets (109 regular, 81 irregular) by selecting 'all' or just the words you wish to target. You will also get to select the type of learning activities (auditory bombardment, fill in or develop a sentence.)

Then select a tense to get started (see the silver boxes on the left in the picture above.) The student name will appear in the lower left hand corner to indicate which student is currently taking their turn. You can use the red button in the upper right hand corner to record a sentence at any time. Use the button on the left to change the tense of verb you are practicing at any point.

The app also includes data collection that is up to par with SLP expectations. As usual it can be emailed or printed. There is also a feature for recording you own 'news cast' using the built it camera in the iPad 2/3.

What I love: The app targets verb tenses, but really can be used to target more syntax structures that come up when students are generating sentences and filling in blanks. There are many targets, but I can choose  which ones my clients are ready for.  I did run into a technical issue with a 'repeat' button, but when I emailed the developer they had a fixed version sent through iTunes that same day! (A speedy developer is so helpful!)

What needs work: A few of the pictures seemed distorted because they were stretched to meet the square size of the photos. The only other thing I would like to see, is a mixing of the question types.  If you select multiple activities (ie: auditory bombardment and fill in) they will not mix the question types in the prompts. Your student will first be asked all auditory bombardments and then move onto the fill-in questions.

Verb News is currently on sale for $9.99. The developer is hosting a giveaway on their site!

Do you have a favorite app for grammar?