Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Choice Board Creator ~ App Review

With all the great app suggestions I keep seeing on Facebook and other blog sites, I'm running out of room on my iPad!  I'm surprised, though, that I have yet to come across a review of what just might be my favorite FREE app...  ChoiceBoard Creator by Techno Chipmunk.  I love this app because of its versatility.  It's designed to be a simple way for students with alternative communication needs to make basic choices.  I have used the app in this way, allowing students to make lunch selections, pick a song during circle time, or choose an activity during therapy sessions. 

Some screenshots from iTunes:

I tend to find myself, however, using the app for more than just making choices.  I don't know about your students, but mine are more motivated to do just about ANYTHING if the iPad is involved!  Because of this, I find myself using this app to target:

  • Answering comprehension questions about stories.
  • Receptive vocabulary identification (this really only works if your students CANNOT read)
  • Pragmatics (identification of peers by name)
  • Audio screenings ~ I have some students who just don't understand what's expected of them, regardless of how often I explain.  As a last-ditch effort this year, I grabbed the iPad and made a quick board.  I was amazed that I could actually get a more or less reliable result!
Here are some example boards I've created:
School Vocabulary - Receptive

Question Board for "Grow Little Turnip, Grow Big"

Lunch choice board

Characters from "Scarecrow's Friends"

Identifying peers from a group

Audio screening

What I like about the app:
  • It's very easy to use.
  • It's customizable and you can create a TON of different boards.
  • You can change the size and number of boxes per page.
  • You can use as many (or as few) pages as you want.
  • You can use pictures or text in the boxes.
  • You can insert pictures directly from the camera, making it easy to make boards very quickly.
  • You can use the default audio (applause) or customize the audio for "correct" response
  Things I would change:
  • You have to select a "correct" response.  If you were using this for AAC purposes for a child to make a choice between multiple activities, you would have to have all the boxes marked correct (since any choice would be appropriate).
  • There is no "back" button for an accidental hit.  You can return to the main menu and start over though.
  • All the pages loop, rather than bringing you back to the start-up page.  Although I don't actually mind this (it's convenient if you're working with a group and giving each child a turn), it tends to freeze up after a few loops.
  • You can't add text AND a picture to the same box (at least not that I've figured out).
  • If you delete a board, the title of it is not removed from the board list.
  • Adding audio to the question.  You have to read it to the students. 
 Overall, this app is very versatile and a MUST for any SLP or educator!  I hope you can find it useful!
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