Speech Apps

The Generosity of an Application Developer and Your Chance to Give Back

Crack the Books

Many of you have read my reviews of Mobile Education Store's applications, developed by Kyle Tomson. They were the first applications that I reviewed for speech-language pathology. After reviewing many of his applications, Kyle made it a point to reach out to me via e-mail. He is appreciative of every mention of what he has created, a passion stemming from his daugther who has autism, review or otherwise. After reviewing his first applications, I have reviewed many of his later releases including two of my favorites for the iPad: Conversation Builder Teen and Tense Builder; for which he has generously donated codes for me to use and review with my students. I can genuinely say that his applications have a permanent place on my iPad and have truly helped many of my students with communication disorders with grammar and conversation skills. You have most likely seen his generosity through discounts on his applications, giveaways of his applications on various websites, and sometimes giveaways as big as iPads! I was fortunate enough to meet Kyle at the ASHA 2013 conference in November, when he invited me to come and promote his brand in the Exhibitor Hall. There, I got to finally meet an amazing individual who genuinely cared about the quality and education value of his product to assist in the education of children not only with communication disorders but at all levels of science and literacy skills. Kyle Tomson is one of the few application developers who develops a personal relationship with those who use his applications and takes it upon himself to tackle technology and education's biggest problems. From watching him interact with speech-language pathologists, as well as hearing about his interactions with others through social media, you can tell that he truly listens and responds to the questions, ideas, thoughts, and concerns of educators.

Crack the Books ASHA 2013

(Kyle Tomson, developer of Crack the Books series, at ASHA 2013)

Around ASHA 2014, Kyle released his latest series of applications, titled the Crack the Books series. I have been fortunate enough to have used and witnessed the development behind a couple of these applications, and I am absolutely awestruck. The quality of these applications from behind the scenes is evident from the different reading levels to the interactivity to the pristine images. From a development standpoint, these are high-quality and took a lot of time, research, and money to develop. On the application store, consumers get to see the finished product and the price, but they do not have knowledge of the inner workings of application development. It takes a team - content writers, researchers, educators, graphic designers, programmers, narrators, etc. When we see a piece of software on other websites, we can expect to be charged upwards of $50 for this type of quality work. Unfortunately, the way in which the application store is rooted, society expects software for their devices to be 99 cents or less - this is pathetic for even applications such as Angry Birds and Toca Store, which earn a significant amount of money but took hundreds more to develop than the amount they charge. Kyle tackles this problem by charging a fee to download for the quality and time spent creating his applications, plus a subscription service for future updates.

Crack the Books Series

But enough about generosity and politics - the point of this post is to tell you why it is important to give back and donate to the Mobile Education Store's latest project. If we are investing in iPads as teaching tools in the classroom, then we need to also invest in quality educational content that can be used with an entire classroom of readers from low to high reading levels, engages our students, and grows in content. There are not that many textbooks available for the iPad and those that are out there currently have static displays. This is not taking advantage of the iPad as a learning tool - iPads can be touched, play video, show visuals, read text aloud, etc. The Crack the Books series is revolutionary in the fact that there are five different reading levels that contain the same content but make sure that each student has the same access (including text-to-speech), include interactive visuals, are motivating in interactivity and visually, have high-quality images, are researched (include citations for content), and allow for assessment of knowledge through flash cards, notes, and quizzes. If that doesn't convince you of the quality of these applications, YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS VIDEO to see how amazing these applications are:

Take it from someone who understands technology, what it takes behind the scenes to create such amazing content, and the value of technology in education - if you want to continue using iPads as educational tools, we need to invest in content like this. Content that is accessible for all learners - visual, textual, auditory, sensory - and multiple reading levels within one classroom. Content that continues to grow in quantity and quality. Content that USES the iPad's technology to its advantage and is not static. I highly recommend backing this project whether you are an educator, therapist, or parent and want to see quality content like this in the schools. Donate by clicking the image below to go to the Kickstarter website for this campaign and clicking "back this project". I did.

Crack the Books Kickstarter

Apps and Products Discounted for ASHA 2013

ASHA Convention 2013 Wand

I am currently at the ASHA 2013 convention in Chicago having a blast, but you can too through all of the great app and product sales going on online and on the iTunes App Store! Continue reading to learn more about which applications, TpT stores, and products are on sale for ASHA 2013!

Articulate It! Application Review

Articulate It app icon

Holy revamp, Batman! When Articulate It! first came out, it was a great app, but it did not have as many features and had an older look to it. Granted, it was one of Smarty Ears' first applications, but to be honest, it kind of turned me off from using the application compared to some of my newer ones. Luckily, Smarty Ears keeps up with updating their applications and realized this fact as well. They did a complete over-haul of this application, as well as some of their others that came out early on. The graphics and style show a significant difference, as well as the content of the application, which makes me feel completely comfortable using it again with my students! Continue reading to learn more about how to use this application!

Auditory Processing Studio Application Review

Auditory Processing Studio app icon

Want to get down making some beats with Andrew from Virtual Speech Center? Then the reward game of this application is something that you and your students will enjoy! Andrew is back in Virtual Speech Center's Auditory Processing Studio application! Students can work on auditory processing skills with and without background noise using this application. Continue reading for my review of Auditory Processing Studio!

Conversation TherAppy Application Review

Conversation TherAppy app icon

Tactus Therapy Solutions is known for making high-quality applications to use with adults, but did you know that many of their applications can be used with children and teenagers by taking advantage of the settings? Not only is this wonderful because there are not many applications out there for adults with communication disorders but also because it makes their applications worth the price since you can use them with a variety of clients. Their latest application, Conversation TherAppy is probably my favorite application due to the amount of settings, data collection, use with multiple clients at once, and ability to customize the content. Continue reading for my review of Conversation TherAppy!

Syllables Splash Application Review

Syllables Splash app icon

Make a splash this summer with your clients using Syllables Splash! This application is an under the sea motivational dream! With an underwater diving theme and characters to assist in syllable awareness, this application is not only great for phonological awareness but fun! Continue reading for my review of this entertaining syllable awareness application!

Auditory Analysis (USA) Application Review

Auditory Analysis app icon

This is my first review of an application on an Android device. This is exciting for me but also a bit intimidating as I rarely use Android devices, so I do not know as much about their overall settings. The device I am reviewing this on is a Nexus 7 tablet. I will be honest that I do not know how to take screenshots of the screen, so I did take photos with my own camera which are not as good of quality as a screenshot would be. I do not currently bring this to school as it is my fiance's device and not my own, but he is kind enough to let me borrow it to do this review as well as those in the future. He also was kind enough to install the application, Auditory Analysis, for me from the developer (as a file, not from the store itself), so I am definitely grateful to have him around (afterall, there wouldn't be this website without him either)! Hopefully I do not mess up this review too much with my lack of knowledge of Android devices, but the great thing is that it will pave a path towards more Android application reviews and hopefully better ones! Who knows, maybe I'll like the Android system so much that I'll want one for myself! Anyhow, continue reading for my review of Auditory Analysis available for use on Android tablets.

Apraxia Ville Application Review

Apraxia Ville app icon

At the school where I work, there is quite the incidence of students of students with childhood apraxia of speech and severe phonological delays in Kindergarten and first grade. It is hard to find applications at the right level for each student in particular because some students prefer real-life images and text to animated or illustrated images, even if I am working with a group of students. This can be frustrating as what they really need to work on is the content regardless of context. Therefore, I try to motivate my students in whichever way works the best whether its flashcards, real-life images, an animated application, cues, etc. Apraxia Ville has definitely been a motivating application for my students who prefer animated and illustrated images or need an animated cue of mouth movement on an age-appropriate model instead of staring at my face all of the time. For more information about Apraxia Ville and its use, continue reading.

I Dare You Articulation Application Review

I Dare You Articulation app icon

If you loved Erik X. Raj's Multiple Choice Articulation application, then you will like his latest application - I Dare You Articulation! Take all of the great parts from Multiple Choice Articulation - the narration, the fun, the motivational factors, the simplicity and cleanness of the application - and exponentially add more motivation/fun! What you get is I Dare You Articulation! Believe me and picture this - groups of third and fourth grade students coming into my classroom and expecting drill practice sit at the table to begin speech; during the session they are out of their seats, giggling, and motivated to move on to practice the next articulation sentence; after the session, students are all out of their seats begging me to play the application again! I kid you not, I have never seen my third and fourth graders so motivated and energized at 8:15 am to practice their articulation sounds! Continue reading to learn more about how to use this application to spice up your articulation therapy sessions!

Reading Comprehension Camp Application Review

Reading Comprehension Camp app icon

I have a significant number of students on my caseload who either have auditory processing disorder, language processing disorder, or a learning disability. We work over and over again on their ability to recall information from a story in an organized, sequential manner. In our fourth grade classrooms, each student has an iPad, so whenever my students are able to bring theirs to therapy, they are extremely excited! I ended up installing Reading Comprehension Camp on two iPads for my fourth graders to use simultaneously and was able to choose the question types that they had the most difficulty on. It was a life-saver and a great motivator for them to be able to use this application! To learn more about how you can use it in therapy, continue reading!

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