Tuesday, May 28, 2013

App Review and Giveaway: Kangaroo Island Photo Classifying

Recently I was contacted by the good folks at Super Duper, Inc. about reviewing one of their new apps, Kangaroo Island Photo Classifying.  I have a few of the Super Duper Fun Deck apps, but this app is different as it is more interactive, and I was very excited to give it a try!

Getting Started:

This is the home screen of the app:

As you can see, there are six different activities included in the app:
  • Class-a-Roo
  • Picking Parrot
  • Skink Ball
  • Turtle River
  • Koala Canvas
  • Seal Search

If you tap on the lighthouse, you can see a list of the categories that this app offers, as well as all of the individual members of those categories.  This is especially helpful if you wish to pre-teach members of a given category.

There are three icons along the bottom of the home screen as well.  Tapping the first, the "Share" icon, will allow you to email Super Duper and view their Facebook and Twitter pages.  Tapping the center "Thumb up" button, will allow you to report a bug, review the app, or make a suggestion to the app developers.  Finally, tapping the "i" or "information" button, will show you a description of Kangaroo Island (see below).

Playing the Games:

To collect data, you must first add a player.  Also, it should be noted that only one player can play at a time.  To add a player, tap the Tiki labeled "Player."  Next, tap "add player."  You can enter the player's name and select the categories you wish to target.  It should be noted that, although you are able to choose more than five categories, no more than five will be used during any given game activity.  You can also choose to use pictures or text for the category items, and whether or not you want the app to say the category and item names.

This "Player screen" is where you can view data from previous sessions.  As you can see, I entered a player named "Any" to be used with groups of students and for students who may not use the app frequently.  I figured that this way, I could jot down the accuracy level on paper rather than store the data in-app.  Under the graph, you can see the different animal pictures.  If you tap a specific picture (e.g., the kangaroo), you can see data for that specific activity only (e.g., "Class-a-roo").  Tapping the last icon will show combined data for all the different activities.  You can also email or print your data ("share" and "print" icons just above the graph).

Once you've set up your students, you're ready to play the games.  Here's a breakdown:


In this activity, the student is prompted to help Sally the Kangaroo find her friends by choosing the correct item and placing it in her pouch.  Sally hops across the screen and a thought bubble appears with the target category.  Players then have to choose the correct coconut and either tap it or drag it to her pouch.  If incorrect, the coconut will rise up off of the screen.

After a predetermined number of correct responses, Sally will meet a different friend:

Picking Parrot:

In this activity, the student is told that Paul the Parrot is hungry and they can feed him a snack after sorting the items into categories.  The categories are marked on the sand and the students sort the category items (circles) by dragging and dropping to the correct location. If incorrect, the circle returns to the top line-up.

After a student has sorted 2 items into each category, they are able to feed a snack to Paul:

Skink Ball:

Where I live, we call this game Skee Ball.  Regardless of the name, the kids love this one!  Basically, the little skink (I looked it up, a skink is a type of lizard!) holds a ball for you to roll down the correct lane.  When correct, the lane lights up.  When incorrect a buzzer sounds.

After a while, the student will earn a ticket from the machine:

Then they trade in their ticket for a toy on the shelf!  From what I've experienced, the more correct items you get, the more toy options you have.

Seal Search:

For this activity, the student is prompted to find Cindy the Seal by choosing an item that does not belong with the others.  In this example, "pizza" would be the correct response because it is not a color like the others.  If the student is correct, the puzzle piece will remove to reveal a portion of the background.  If incorrect, the items in the circles fade and the puzzle piece remains.

When a student gets all four correct, they find the seal!  The backgrounds will change for subsequent trials.

What I love about this game is that you can easily include targets such as:  describing pictures, using prepositions (on the beach, under the water), answering WHERE questions, etc.

Koala Canvas:

In this activity, students can paint a picture with Cole the Koala.  First, they will need to choose a picture an a color palette.

Next, they dip the paintbrush into a color (category) and tap an item that belongs to that category.  As they tap items, portions of the picture are colored.  You do need to return the paintbrush to the paint each time you tap an item.  For example, you cannot tap "colors" then bring your brush to both "orange" and "blue."  If a student is incorrect, they are told why they are incorrect (e.g., "Cow goes with animals.").

Here's the finished picture:

Turtle River:

For this activity, the student is told that the turtles need help finding their home and that students should place the turtles on the correct island.  The turtles swim between the islands and, although they move at an acceptable speed for many people using this app, I found that they were a bit too fast for some of my students.  If a student is correct, the turtle will go to the island.  If incorrect, they hear "Ooops, try again" while the turtle returns to the water.

After the student finishes, an animated turtle is seen walking on the island toward a cluster of eggs, one of which hatches.

What I like about this app:

  • The variety of games.  With this game you get six different activities, all targeting classification/categorization.  I also like that in Seal Search, category exclusion is targeted.
  • The graphics and animations make this game motivating and entertaining to students.
  • The amount/content of categories included.  I like that this app includes academic categories (e.g., upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, etc.).  We often see students who have difficulty recognizing the difference between letters/numbers and this would be a great app to reinforce that concept.
  • The ability to target inclusion/exclusion within the same app.
  • There is a large number of items within the given categories.
  • I also love the interactive element.  This app plays like a game, which is always more motivating to students than apps that do not have a game-play component.  

Changes I would like to see in an update:

  • I would love to be able to play with more than one player at a time.  I don't think this is a real "negative" as far as playing the game.  I created a profile to be used only for groups.  However, when you are playing with a group, you can't effectively use the data collection features.
  • Again, for some of my students, the turtles in "Turtle River" moved a bit too quickly.  I would love to see an added setting with maybe 2 or 3 speed options.

The Bottom Line:
No doubt Super Duper is your go-to location for speech-language therapy materials "hard goods."  I was excited when they branched out into the app world with their Fun Deck apps.  Now, Super Duper has really hit the ball out of the park with the addition of more interactive apps, Kangaroo Island Photo Classifying included.  This app has been frequently requested since I added it to my therapy sessions.  It makes working on category inclusion and exclusion more fun and interesting.  If you find yourself working on classifying/categorization, then this app is a must-have!

Kangaroo Island Photo Classifying is on sale for $9.99 (in iTunes) during the month of May for BHSM.  As of June 1, it returns to its regular price of $12.99.  However, Super Duper was kind enough to offer a code for me to give away to one lucky reader!  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below.

Disclaimer:  Super Duper provided the codes for this app review and giveaway. However, the opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.

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