Word Retrieval Application Review
Over the past few years, I have worked with adults and children whom have had difficulty with word retrieval. Whether it has been due to aphasia or central auditory processing disorder, there have been multiple clients who have worked on word retrieval goals with me. When Virtual Speech Center came out with an application focusing specifically on word retrieval skills, I had to jump on it right away. This would benefit so many of my students! Continue reading to learn more about how this application works and how it focuses on word retrieval skills.
The Main Page of the application shows a futuristic grid with four buttons standing out in front - Start, Settings, Reports, and Info.
Pressing on the "Info" button brings the user to the Information page with information on how to use the application, its intended populations, and included activities. In addition, there are buttons on the left hand side of the page to access more applications by Virtual Speech Center, the ability to sign up for Virtual Speech Center's newsletter, and links to Virtual Speech Center on social media.
There are five different settings on the "Settings" menu:
- Use Alternative Count - press the "-" or "+" buttons to choose the count up to five; alternate count means how many turns between students in group therapy
- Audio - toggle audio within the application play on and off via a switch
- Auto Paging - toggle automatic paging on and off via a switch
- Random Paging - toggle random paging on and off via a switch
- Show Instructions - toggle the ability to show the instructions via an on and off switch
To begin application play, press the "Start" button. Then, you will be brought to the "Select Students" menu. If you have not previously entered a student or need to add a new student, press the "Add Student" button. Then, press on the blank rectangle to type in a students' name via the keyboard and press "Save". To select a student, press on his or her name on the list and a check mark will appear. You can select multiple users. Then, choose the type of activity in which you want to use to practice word retrieval skills - Flashcards or Game.
Flashcards - Shows one flashcard at a time with a picture or a sentence to answer or name. You can hear the narrator state the sentence or question by pressing the green arrow in a circle button at the bottom of the screen. If the client answers correctly, press the green check mark button on the right hand side of the page. If he or she answers incorrectly, press the red "x" button. When a response is scored, it will change the percentage of accuracy on the right hand side of the page. The number of trials will show above the accuracy. Then, you can press "Next" to go to the next flashcard. If you would like the client to record a response, press the red circle button at the top of the flashcard to begin recording and the rectangle to stop recording. Press the green triangle "Play" button to play the recording back.
Game - The game in this application is a Jeopardy-type game. Each category of skill is shown as a title of a column with 100-700 points per response. When a number is pressed, a flashcard with a sentence, question, or image to respond to appears. If the user answers correctly, press the green check mark button. If incorrect, press the red "x" button. To hear the question or statement spoken aloud, press the green circle arrow button. To record a response, press the red circle button and to stop it press the red square button. To play a recorded response, press the green triangle button. Percentage of accuracy is shown on the left hand side of the card and the trial number is on the right. If scored correctly, the flashcard and the number chosen will disappear. If incorrect, the user will get a new image/sentence/question for that number next time he or she presses it. The user must select a new number for a new flashcard. Each time a response is scored correctly, the number of points will change at the top of the column. Accuracy and trial number will show on the left hand side and recording capabilities on the right.
After you choose the activity, press next to choose the type of strategy to focus on (four sets of 20 for each). You can select or deselect all by pressing the associated buttons. You can select as many sets to focus on or as few as you want. When you select a set, a green check mark will appear next to it.:
Name This Picture - An image is shown asking the user to state the name of the picture. (Ex. "Name this picture" [a picture of an apple is shown])
Sentence Completion - A sentence is shown with the end of the sentence missing for the user to complete the sentence. (Ex. "I eat soup with a...")
Opposite Meanings - A word is shown to state the opposite/antonym for. (Ex. "What's the opposite of the word 'open'?")
Associations - A word is shown for the user to state what items are associated with it. (Ex. "What things go with a house?")
Convergent Naming - A set of clues is given to assist the user in determining the word associated with the given adjective/category/etc. clues. (Ex. "This is an animal that has fur and four legs and is used to catch mice.")
Definitions - A word is given for the user to define. (Ex. Define the word "lake".)
Divergent Naming - A category is given for the user to name as many items as they can in the given category. (Ex. "Name five musical instruments")
Once you have completed application play, press the "Finish" button at the top left hand corner of the page. Then, a "Session Report" will appear with the student(s) name(s), Date/Time of session, and the sets practiced with accuracy.
You can also review reports via the "Reports" button on the Main Page at any time. This will bring you to the "Reports" page. You can then select a user on the left hand side of the page. The user chosen will highlight in blue. Then, to view progress over time on a goal, press the "By Goal" tab followed by the goal you wish to review. If you would like to see progress for a given session, press the "By Date" tab and select the session date/time. If you choose to view a particular goal, it will show a table with the user's name followed by the goal and progress for each session date. If you choose to view by a particular date, you will see the Session Report for that date for the chosen user.
You can then e-mail the report by pressing the "E-mail Report" button in the top right hand corner of the page. This will bring up a pop-up window from the "Mail" application with the report pasted into the e-mail. You must have your e-mail associated with the "Mail" application and an internet connection to use this.
If you wish to delete a user, press the pencil button by the "Select User" text. Then, press the red circle with a minus button next to the user whom you wish to delete. Finally, press the "Delete" button.
What I Like About This Application:
- I love that there are seven different ways to practice word retrieval skills.
- The application can be used with children as well as adolescents and adults with communication disorders.
- The Jeopardy-like game is motivating for students to keep track of their score throughout.
- There are 80 cards for each strategy for lots of practice!
- There are two different ways to use the application, for practice with flashcards and via the game.
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:
- I'm not sure how to make this better, but since there are no pictures for most of the flashcards (except the "Name This Picture" portion), my students are not as motivated to use the application as with other apps. Maybe it would be okay to have an option for a picture hint or different levels of cues? I think this application is definitely fine the way it is for adults, but for my school-aged students, they may not want to continue to pay attention through the whole app.
- I would love to be able to select words from a word list or see the words used in each set, especially the definitions one, so I can decide which one to use to the ability and age of my students.
- It would be great to be able to add your own images/sentences to the application if there is a specific image a user needs to practice naming or sentence to complete.
- It would be great if the flashcards were shuffled more in a set or when using multiple sets.
- It would be nice to be able to delete individual reports. Also, sometimes when I mess up settings for a certain student, I have to exit and re-enter into application play; however it still creates a blank report. It would be great if that did not happen as it adds additional, unnecessary reports to a list.
- Articulation/Fluency/Voice - Have users read the statements/questions aloud using age appropriate speech sounds, fluency strategies, or vocal strategies.
- Naming - Have users use the "Name This Picture" activity to name various images shown on flashcards.
- Vocabulary - This application works on learning, using, cueing, and being able to retrieve information about different vocabulary words. You can also have students use the "Definitions" activity to have them give definitions for different words.
- Categorization - Use the "Divergent Naming" activity to have students list items in a given category.
- Describing - Use the "Associations" activity to discuss items associated with a given object. You can also have users describe different vocabulary or images on the application.
- Word Retrieval - This application uses multiple activities and strategies to help students practice word retrieval skills.
Word Retrieval is available for the iPad for $9.99.
Consonantly Speaking was given a copy of this application to review. No other form of compensation was given.