Thursday, June 27, 2013

App Review: Prepositions Journey

This year I have had a TON of kids who are working on prepositions.  Waaayy more than usual and I'm not sure why.  With that being the case, I wish this app had been released sooner!  

Prepositions Journey is the latest app by Virtual Speech Center.  This app was designed by a certified speech and language pathologist and targets comprehension and use of early/common prepositions in a fun, motivating way.

Getting Started:

From the menu screen, you can tap the "Info" button to review a description of Prepositions Journey.  From this tab you can also view more apps by Virtual Speech Center, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up to receive newsletters via email.

You can choose/adjust your settings by tapping "Settings."  Settings include:  Enable Audio, User Alternate Count, Automatic Paging, Random Paging, and Correct/Incorrect Sound.

Once your settings are configured and you are ready to begin, tap the "Start" icon to add/select students.

For each student, you will select target(s).  The app will remember your selections the next time you play, but you can easily change them if you need to modify.  You can also select from three different settings/categories:  Lake Camping, Island, and City.

The prepositions targeted in this app (receptive and expressive) include:

  • Above
  • Behind
  • Below
  • Beside
  • Between
  • Far
  • In
  • In front
  • In the back
  • In the middle
  • Near
  • Next to
  • On
  • On the left
  • On the right
  • On the side
  • Out
  • Outside
  • Over
  • Under

You can choose any/all of the prepositions above to work on receptive understanding.  For receptive tasks, students will hear a description and have to touch the correct illustration.  Here are some sample of receptive targets:

"Show me the rabbit below the hammock."

Scene from "Lake Camping"
"Show me the fox above the umbrella."

Scene from "Island"

"Show me the squirrel between the stop signs."

Scene from "City"
*Receptive targets will automatically tally correct/incorrect responses!

*Notice the "Record" and "Play" buttons?  You can easily make receptive identification of prepositions an expressive activity as well by having students describe the correct and/or incorrect responses.  You can record the child's responses and play back to monitor for carryover of articulation/voice/fluency.

You can choose any/all of the prepositions listed above for practicing use of prepositions to describe location.  For expressive tasks, students are asked to describe the location of an animal.  Here are some examples of expressive targets:

"Where is the squirrel?"

Scene from "Lake Camping"

"Where is the rabbit?"

Scene from "City"
*The target preposition for the picture above was "In the middle."

"Where is the fox?"

Scene from "Island"

*With the expressive targets, you can also record and replay a student's responses.  This is great for allowing a child to compare their own use of prepositions and overall syntax with an adult model!

*During expressive tasks, the clinician will use the check and "x" buttons to mark responses as correct/incorrect.

Back on the Home Page, you will notice a "Reports" button.  When you click this, you will be able to view data from your sessions.  You can view data by activity or by date.

The app will generate a report that includes the date/time, the target, and a percentage.  You can print the report if you have AirPrint capabilities or email the report to yourself/parent for printing.

And there you have Prepositions Journey!  Here's what I think:

The Pros:
  • Prepositions are a huge area of focus for my population!  This app is a motivating way for students to learn these concepts.
  • The ability to target both receptive understanding and expressive use of prepositions in one app is fantastic!
  • Data collection and report generation are two must have features in any app geared for use in therapy sessions!
  • The graphics are adorable and the kids enjoy the settings and the animal characters.
  • You can record responses so that students can hear their responses.  This allows you to use the app for expanded purposes (e.g., articulation carryover, fluency practice, etc.).
Changes I would like to see in an update:
  • Some of the picture targets were a bit unclear to my students.  For example, when the squirrel was in the backpack, they weren't sure if she was actually in the backpack or standing on the backpack.
  • Many of VSC's apps have built in reinforcement and I was expecting Prepositions Journey to have it as well, but no such luck.  (For some of you this might be considered a "Pro," but my kids really work for the reinforcements!).

The bottom line:
Prepositions Journey is a great app for targeting prepositions in both receptive and expressive contexts.  The app is colorful and engaging to students, meaning increased motivation!  Because you can record student responses, you can use this app for a wide range of purposes, including carryover of articulation, fluency, and voice strategies.  Prepositions Journey is another winner for Virtual Speech Center!  Prepositions Journey sells for $9.99 in iTunes.

Do you work on prepositions a lot in your therapy sessions?  Do you find yourself working on receptive or expressive more frequently?

Disclaimer: Although I was provided with a copy of this app for the purpose of this review, the opinions expressed are mine alone.
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