Thursday, December 6, 2012

App Review & Giveaway: Conversation Builder Teen

When Kyle at Mobile Education Store contacted me about their newest release, Conversation Builder Teen, I knew it would be a hit!  He asked me to review it, but since I don't work with teens, I asked Kyle if he would agree to let one of my co-workers use the app and write the review.  He was kind enough to agree.  

This review is written by Jennifer Malloy, MS, CCC-SLP.  Jenn splits her time between an elementary and middle school in my district.  Take it away Jenn!

Carrie was kind enough to let me trial an app on the iPad that is designed for the population of students I work with at the Middle School. The app is called Conversation Builder Teen. I was very excited to trial this app because I already use other “Builder” apps from the Mobile Education Store (Story Builder, Language Builder and Sentence Builder) This app did not disappoint.

The first thing the app prompts you to do is create a user profile. I chose “Miss” seeing as this is what most of the students call me. You can select the conversation type with the choices being 2 or 3 players or Group.
The app allows you to select specific topics of conversation you would like to use. The choices included are: clothes, bullying, summer, entertainment, sports, sarcasm, relationships* and school. Or you can play all of the conversation choices at random.

 *Some topics are sensitive and may not be appropriate for all students, such as sex and pregnancy. In order to select these topics a password must be used to unlock the setting.

2 or 3 Player Mode:

This screenshot above shows the format the app uses when in 2 or 3 player mode. A field of choices is used to aid the students when formulating conversation. This picture depicts a situation in which the student must provide the best response to their friend who is beginning a conversation by stating, “I’m so mad at my parents.” Students select the BEST response to the question and are then able to record themselves saying the chosen response. Once all of the responses are recorded, the students are able to listen to the conversation in its entirety. 

Group Mode:

The above picture coincides with the group player setting. The students in the group are able to have a conversation with each other without prompts from the app.  Again, the students are recorded and can listen to the playback after the conversation is complete.

Therapeutic Applications: 

I work at a middle school and treat students ranging from 10-14, with varied speech and language targets. I found that this app was flexible enough to target a variety of IEP goals for every student I treated throughout the day:

Articulation This app is excellent for working on the carryover of articulation skills to the conversation level.  Students record their statements into the app in order to have a mock conversation.  They can listen to the recordings and monitor their productions.
Fluency  Students with fluency goals utilized speech strategies (e.g., easy onset, pull out) while using this app. The fact that the app allows for students to record their own utterances improved self-awareness of disfluent moments and strategies that helped to improve fluency.
Pragmatic  Students with goals addressing pragmatic language skills also benefited from this app. The students were given a field of three responses to each open-ended question or comment from the app. The students were able to see other responses that could work, however, not all were the BEST choice for the situation.
Expressive/Receptive Language This one is a no brainer! Students are cued to answer questions appropriately and utilize appropriate grammar and syntax in their responses.

The Bottom Line:

Every student I used this app with had a great time! I was having such a positive response from the students while utilizing this app that the other speech therapist I worked with asked what we were doing. I showed her the app and we collaborated groups for the rest of the day. It is VERY hard to find something this age group enjoys doing, targets a variety of speech and language goals and, most importantly, is cool!  I highly recommend this app!


See Conversation Teen Builder in action: click here to see a short video tutorial.  Conversation Builder Teen sells for $29.99 in the App Store.  Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter below!

Disclaimer:  Mobile Education Store provided a copy of Conversation Builder Teen for the purposes of this review and giveaway.  However, opinions expressed are those of the SLP who provided the review.

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