Wednesday, January 30, 2013

App Review: Language Empires

Hey Everyone!  Back with another FABULOUS APP by Smarty Ears!  And here to review it for us is my friend and colleague, Stephanie.  Stephanie works in the same school as I do, servicing students in grades K-5.  Take it away ...

Smarty Ears has recently released a new app called Language Empires ($29.99 in iTunes).  This app targets 8 different aspects of language:

  • Figurative Language
  • Vocabulary
  • Inferencing
  • Which questions
  • Why questions
  • How questions
  • Sequencing
  • Predicting.  

As you open the app, you will notice that you have a few options listed at the bottom.  Visit the City and Quick Play get you playing the game immediately.  The Support button leads you directly to the Video Tutorial for the game.  The video is a comprehensive overview of the app, narrated by one of the app developers – who is also a speech pathologist.  That’s always a bonus!  Who better to develop an app for speech pathologists?  I would recommend running quickly through the tutorial because it’s a fast way to understand all the features and settings of the app for those of us who just want to take and go. 

When you decide to visit the city, you will be prompted to enter in your student’s names.  You can choose an avatar or use a real picture to represent your students. 

Once you have chosen your players, you are presented with a map of the empire.  The empire consists of little areas devoted to each of the 8 target skills.  Simply drag the players into the area you would like to them to target.

You can further customize their play by selecting a level of difficulty within each target area.  There are 2-3 levels of difficulty per area. 

Once everyone is in the right location, you can move right into the questions.  Students will immediately begin answering questions regarding their language target.  These questions are read aloud to the students and feature a small coordinating picture and multiple choice responses. 


Figurative Language:


Which Questions:

How Questions:

Why Questions:



After you have finished playing, you may go back to the home screen and find the Report section.  You are able to view, share or email students results.  Students might like to see all of the trophies they accumulated along the way. 

Pros of the app:

  • I like the fact that you can work on so many different language targets all in the same place!  It was great for those groups of kids that all have different goals. 
  • The idea of levels within each skill area provides allows for greater customization.
  • The graphics and music were engaging enough to keep the interest of my students.

Future app update recommendations:

  • It would be great is there was a sense of “game play” between the different players.  Once you are playing, the questions are asked back to back with no feel of moving from one area to another for the next players turn. 
  • When the questions are on the screen, all players are listed at the bottom, with no indication as to whose turn it is.  I would love to see only that player’s avatar at the bottom, so that I didn’t have to remember who was in what area.   

Bottom line:

My student’s and I definitely enjoyed playing this app.  Everyone was happy and engaged - which is a sign of an effective and productive speech session in my book!  I feel like this app is best suited for Grades 3-5.  However, you could use it for slightly younger children as well, if you take more time to explain every question and really talk it through.  I would definitely recommend this app to anyone looking to add a versatile language tool to their iPad toolbox!

I would like to personally thank Carrie for being a wonderful colleague and friend.  It was so sweet of her to pass along this app for me to review with my older students. 

DISCLAIMER:  Although a copy of this app was provided to me in exchange for my review and another for the giveaway, the thoughts and opinions are my own.  (Thank you Smarty Ears!  I love all of your apps!)


Another disclaimer:  I did not pay/compensate Stephanie in any way for the kind words!  :)  If you would like to enter for a chance to win a copy of Language Adventures, you can do so using the Rafflecopter below!

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