Monday, March 18, 2013

App Review: Phonological Processes

Hey everyone!  I had the opportunity to review a FANTASTIC new app from the Virtual Speech Center!  This app is simply called "Phonological Processes" and it targets (you guessed it!) phonological processes! Click HERE for more information and to view a video of the app in action.  Phonological Processes sells for $16.99 in iTunes and targets the following phonological processes:  
  • Affrication
  • Deaffrication
  • Cluster reduction L
  • Cluster reduction R
  • Cluster reduction S
  • Cluster reduction mixed
  • Final consonant deletion
  • Fronting
  • Gliding of L
  • Gliding of R
  • Gliding mixed
  • Prevocalic voicing
  • Stopping of fricatives
  • Stopping of affricates
  • Stopping mixed.

The description on their website states that "The Phonological Processes app was created by a certified speech and language pathologist for children ages 4 and up who exhibit phonological disorders or delays. This research-based app implements a linguistic approach for treatment of phonological disorders by engaging users in minimal pair contrast therapy."  

One of the things I love the most about the Virtual Speech Center's apps is that they cite the evidence behind their products (in this case, Minimal Pair Contrast Therapy) right on the product page - Very handy if you work in a setting that requires you to state your evidence!  

Getting Started

Now let's take a look at Phonological Processes.  As you can see in the screenshot above, there are three areas, plus the start button.  On the "Info" screen, you will see a description of the app and a run-down of how to use it.  In addition, there are links to Virtual Speech Center's other apps, a link to sign up to receive their email newsletter, and links to VSC's Facebook and Twitter pages:  

Info Screen

In the "Reports" Section, you can view data collected during your sessions:


From the settings screen, you can customize the options of the app. These include User Alternate Count, Audio, Auto Paging, Random Paging, and Show Instructions.


Using the App

 Once you've entered your students and selected the settings you wish to use, you're ready to begin!

As you can see from the screen above, there are four ways to target the phonological processes:

1.  Auditory Bombardment:  In this mode, the app names the two pictures.  You can record a child's productions by tapping the red circle button on the left and play back using the green arrow under it.  You can also repeat both recordings by tapping the repeat button or hear individual words by tapping the speaker icon under the image.

2.  Auditory Discrimination:  In this mode, the narrator asks the student to "Show me the ___."  You can record/play back student productions in this mode as well.  In this mode, data is automatically collected.

 3.  Minimal Pair Production:  In this mode, the student is asked to name both pictures.  You can record the student's productions and compare to the model.  In this mode, you can mark a student's productions as correct or incorrect.  There's a "plink" type of sound associated with correct responses and another sound (not harsh or unpleasant) for incorrect.

 4.  Single Word Production:  In this mode, the student is asked to name the picture containing the target process.  As in "Minimal Pair Production," you can record/play back child productions, compare to the model, and mark productions as correct/incorrect.

The screenshots above are from the "Flashcard" function.  There is also a "Board Game" option.  Like in "Flashcards," you select the phonological process you wish to target for each student.  To play the board game, the student also selects a game token (a piece of fruit):

The student(s) work their way along the jungle river to the dock at the other end.  Notice the animals stationed along the way?  If you land on one of these, the animal will do something and make its way to the dock as well (e.g., the parrot flies, the hippo roars and splashes).  The exception is the snake, which will make you go back one space.

You get the same type of pop-up in the game as you would in flashcards, so you can target the same objectives, but in a more reinforcing manner:

I worked on /s/ cluster reduction when I took the screenshots above, but here are some examples of other phonological processes...

Final Consonant Deletion

Gliding /l/

Prevocalic Voicing

What I liked:

  • I haven't tried an app that targets phonological processes before this one.  If I wanted to work on final consonant deletion using an app, I had to pick multiple phonemes in word final position.  This is a much faster way to work on phonology!
  • The jungle/safari theme is adorable!  The kids loved the board game and all wanted to land on the hippo and the snake (even though it sent them back a space).
  • The multiple ways to target the processes - Auditory Bombardment, Auditory Discrimination, Minimal Pair Production, and Single Word Production
  • The number of phonological processes included.  I used this app for over a week with my articulation and phonology groups and didn't have a need for a target that was not included!

Things that could be improved:

  • I did notice a couple of minor bugs that I'm assuming will be corrected in an update.  For example, after using "Single Word Production" mode for a while, the instructions started asking students to "Name these two pictures" when only one picture was there.
  • This app uses real-life photos.  This is generally a strength for most apps.  However, when you're targeting articulation/phonology, some words are difficult to depict in a picture.  Because of this, some of the images for target words are a bit of a stretch (e.g., a fully made bed for "sheet"or a needle and thread for "cheap").  
  • When you reach the end of the board game, you are immediately brought back to the beginning.  I'd love to see some sort of "ending" and option to start over or finish your session.
  • If you turn of audio in the settings, you do not hear the narrator.  However, you do still hear the noises associated with a correct/incorrect response.  I'd love to see an option to turn off these sounds.
The bottom line:

If you have students working on articulation/phonology this is a great app!  Minimal pairs are a great way to work on processes and it's so convenient to have that option in app form!  My kids enjoyed it (especially the board game function).  One of my students figured it out quickly enough that he started scoring his own productions after about 4-5 minutes!  The developer states that the app is for students 4-years-old and above.  I used it with some of my three-year-olds as well.  This app is fairly reasonably priced for an app of its caliber as well.  

I definitely think Phonological Processes is a great app with lots of therapeutic potential!  Check it out in iTunes HERE.

Also, Virtual Speech Center was kind enough to provide me with a code to give away to one lucky winner! Enter to win using the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...