Sunday, November 11, 2012

Conversation Builder Teen {app review & giveaway}

Even if it's been a few years since you were standing outside your locker, Conversation Builder Teen makes you feel like you're right back into the land of teen angst. High School can be difficult for teens with intact social skills. We know it can be so hard for our students who lack pragmatic language skills. Conversation Builder can be the newest tool in the SLP toolbox pragmatics. It can help your students practice conversational exchanges in a controlled environment, before they head out into the land of people with partially connected frontal lobes!

Develop a profile by entering your student's gender and name. Multiple profiles can be added into the game.

Conversation Type indicates how you will play the game. Most instruction will happen with by the 2/3 player version. The other choice is in a group where the iPad will be passed around. Theme base modules are selected to determine the content of the conversations. There are 8 different available modules (clothes, bullying, summer, entertainment, sports, sarcasm, school, relationships). 300 conversations are included for practice.

Parental controls allow SLP's and parents to block students from certain topics such as smoking, alcohol and sex.

The conversation stimulator  requires students to initiate conversations, respond to conversations initiated by the Ipad or participate in group conversations. The students are guided through the conversation with possible answers. If they give an unexpected answer, helpful hints are given.  They are given the chance to record their voice to add to the conversation.

Clicking on the history button lets you look at what conversation has already taken place in the written form.

When the conversation is complete, you can play back the conversation with the animated and student answers interlaced. Conversations can be saved as well as emailed.

Each student has a progress page. You can see how many of the conversations have been completed as well as any saved conversations. Conversations are only marked completed when you answer each part of the conversation correctly the first time.

The group setting allows to any conversation to be added. You add your students, image and do not use any outline for conversations. Save any set with at least 4 parts.

Many of my students who used the original Conversation Builder, benefitted from a boost in confidence. While Conversation Builder can't give them every skill needed, it can give them the confidence to attempt the social interactions they desperately want. The opportunity to practice reduces the anxiety some of my students feel in those situations.

The themes in conversation builder are suited well for teenage relationships. It's often hard for SLP's and teachers to model the type of situations that take place in the high school hallways in an authentic way. I like that the answers aren't always example of 'good behavior,' but rather typical teenage phrases.  For example, in the sarcasm model, one of the items includes a group of girls telling a fake story to you about a popular girl. One of the correct answers is "Will you shut up!" The app uses expected teenage slang and sarcasm "Right - and I bet she robbed a bank last night too" to demonstrate real life communication exchanges.

The bullying topics are appropriate and put the students in the actual situations. For example, in one conversation, someone says "How's the most popular girl in school?" The student must detect sarcasm and decide how to react.

So far, I haven't seen another app on the market take on tough topics like Conversation Builder Teen. Smoking, stealing, online bullying, Facebook, self deprecating sarcasm, sitting in the cafeteria, defending others, pregnancy rumors, breakups, dating, parties, concerts, divorce, and texting are just a few of the conversation topics.

Mobile Education Center provided with with a copy of this app. The opinions in this review are mine.

Conversation Builder Teen is available on itunes for $19.99 this weekend only. Full price ($29.99) will take effect Monday 11/12/12 Enter to win one copy on the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway