Sunday, June 9, 2013

Phono Learning Center (App Review & Giveaway)

Phono Learning Center (PLC) is the newest app produced through Smarty Ears. The app is developed by Mary Huston, MS, CCC-SLP. Based on the Hodson's Cycles Approach, PLC is developed to target phonological disorders in children. The PLC is developed to fit in with your Cycles Approach or traditional therapy with 4 different games and a multi-user format.

Start by clicking on New Session. Add the characters or import them from the Therapy Report Center. 

The front page also links you to a homework page. You can email them to parents directly from your iPad. 

Add a student picture or an avatar. If you select Auditory Bombardment as 'on' there will be a quick auditory bombardment section at the beginning of  the app. At the bottom of the page you can select your phonological targets. 

Select the players you want to play for this round. Adjust the settings to fit the students using the app. Extra tidbits I think are important.You can change the app data collection to the level of prompts (imitate, prompt, independent). The app settings can be set to limit a single phonological target at a time (the Hodson's Cycles Approach) or multiple targets (a traditional therapy approach). 

During the Auditory Bombardment, tap the balloons and listen to the words being said. This is available during single player games.  

From this point the student can select from 4 different activities to practice the phonological process. 

The balloon game features a hot air balloon. The student says the word on the card and then drags that card to the balloon basket. The basket slowly fills with air before taking off!  I have the app set to phrase level for multisyllable words during this example. 

The matching app features a picture card at the bottom of the page. Student then flip over the yellow-backed cards to find the match. It memory with a twist. My poor little kiddo was really sick of saying TOMATO by the end, because he wasn't exactly a 'memory' champ. I on the other hand was super happy to have a tone of data since I had him say the pairs each time! 

The paper toss game was my student's favorite part of the app. First read the word in the given picture. The student then touches the paper with the picture on it.

The paper will crumble and is ready to be tossed into the basket! 

For the puzzle activity, the student says the word on the puzzle piece. I have it set on s-blend phrases here. After you say the word or phrase, tap the puzzle piece. It will float to the puzzle and turn into a picture piece. We had lots of fun with the guessing game portion of this activity, trying to figure out what the picture would be! 

Data collection is available throughout the app in the top right hand corner. Reports are available to share. I like using the 'almost' as a way to give me the idea of the level of cueing. If the kid needed an extra prompt I used the 'almost' scoring. 

To hear the app explained thoroughly check out this video! 

Pros: I'd love that the app has researched word targets based on Hodson's cycles. approach.  The app meets the expectations for professionals familiar with the Smarty Ears brand. Phono Learning Center features 4 entertaining activities, paired with the research based methodology for treatment, topped off with effective and efficient data collection. Instead of adapting apps to meet evidence based strategies, PLC is an app developed fully around EBP! I love it!

Cons: Some of the game activities didn't really have an 'ending'. The paper toss game for example. I'd love it if the app had a counter attached. Kids work so much better when you can give them a goal. I had to count aloud the 'shots made' for my little guy to keep him working to 30 points. ((Kinda like when I need a goal set on the treadmill! So I don't blame the kidddo!)) I'd love if it the 4 activities had a better way to 'finish' to keep my students working for a goal.

Future improvements: This isn't an expectation of the app, just my 2 cents! I'd LOVE to see a chart to show a students mastery of goals or schedules of cycles. For example, the SLP could track which weeks/dates had been spent on each phonological process. As it stands you can look back through the reports to monitor progress but I'm envisioning a chart that the SLP could just look across and see that they had spend x amount of session on a certain phonological process.

Ok.  Phono Learning Center is on sale for $14.99. Regular price will be $24.99. You can find it on iTunes.

Smarty Ears has donated one code for a lucky SRN reader! Just use rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win the app!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Smarty Ears provided the app for this review. No other compensation was provided.