Monday, June 24, 2013

App Review: Question Builder

When I first got my iPad in August of 2011, I was so excited!  To get started, I had purchased an iTunes card so that I could add a few apps.  At that time, there weren't nearly as many apps designed for speech and language use on the market as there are today.  This was one of the very first apps I purchased on my very first day of being an iPad user...

Question Builder by Mobile Education Store "is designed to help elementary aged students learn to answer abstract questions and create responses based on inference."  Who doesn't have students on their caseload working on improving their ability to answer questions?  I know I do!

Getting Started:

The first tab along the bottom of the app is the "Info" tab.  Selecting this tab will give you a written description of the app:

When you first open the app, you will be taken to the "Settings" portion.  You will be prompted to enter a new student for data collection purposes.  The app will automatically start up with the last student who used the app.  You can easily change the student or add a new student by tapping "Not You?"

From the settings screen, you will choose the settings you want for each specific child.  You can target questions by specific type (Why, Where, How, What) or include a variety of types (Random).  As with most of Mobile Education Store's apps, there are multiple levels of play.  You can also select color code reinforcement, text reinforcement, and audio reinforcement.  More on all of the settings in just a moment!

Once you have your settings selected, tap "Play" to begin!  Regardless of the settings you have chosen, you will be shown a picture and asked a question.  The student then needs to select the correct answer and tap select. They can also repeat the question if they need to do so.

If the student is incorrect, they will receive verbal feedback (e.g,. "That's not quite right," "You are really trying," etc.).  If correct, they will either receive auditory feedback alone, or receive feedback with a reinforcement cartoon like this car that popped up and danced after the correct response was given:

Now that you have an understanding of the premise of the app, I'm going to go back and talk about the different settings that are available.  First up, Level of Play:

  • In Level 1, the student will be given three possible responses to choose from when selecting their answer.  
  • In Level 2, they are given 4 possible responses.
  • In level 3, they are given 5 possible responses.

Level 2 - 4 possible responses
Color Code Reinforcement:

Notice the red bar along that top that contains the target question?

Turning color code reinforcement off will remove the red bar:

Color code reinforcement removed from a Level 3 question
Deselecting Text Reinforcement will remove the question entirely:

This is a great option when you are working on auditory comprehension tasks and don't want a student to rely on reading the question.

If you have Audio Reinforcement selected, Question Builder will repeat the correct answer (e.g., "That's right.  The beaver ate the tree.").

The last tab from the bottom menu (technically the 3rd, but it's the last one I'm talking about) is "Stats."  This is where you will find all of the data collection for your students.  You do not get percentages.  Rather you will be able to see how many correct answers a student got on the first, 2nd, and/or more attempts.  You can fairly easily calculate a percentage by adding up the total.  For example, in the screen below, this student got 70% of Level 1 questions correct on the first attempt and 30% correct on the 2nd attempt.  They got 75% of Level 2 questions correct on the first attempt and 25% on the 2nd attempt.

That's pretty much everything you need to know about Question Builder!  Here's what you should take away...

The Pros:
  • Question Builder allows for multiple levels of play and a variety of supports, so you will be able to use this app for a wide age range of students.
  • The reinforcement cartoons are cute and the kids always want more of them!  ("Can you make the car come back Mrs. Manchester?" -- "Nope. Only you can do that by answering more questions!")
  • I've yet to have a student use this app and tell me they are done before I'm ready for them to be done...meaning that they have been actively engaged and entertained while working on needed language targets!
  • Data collection!  Data collection is always a nice feature in an app and I don't mind that you don't get a percentage.  Like I said, it's fairly easy to calculate.  

Changes I would like to see in an update:
  • Most of my students are non-readers.  It's great that this app reads the questions aloud.  However, there is no option to have the response choices read aloud.  I end up reading the choices myself, which works fine, but it's always nice to have a read aloud option.
  • The data is can't view statistics from different dates.  This makes it difficult to montir progress.  You could jot down your data, reset the stats, and keep a record of a child's progress over time.
The Bottom Line:
Question Builder is a great app for working on a student's ability to answer questions.  The limitations are minimal and easily overcome.  The app has built in reinforcement that increases student motivation.  There are multiple levels and that allows you to use this app with a variety of age ranges.  Question Builder was one of the very first apps I bought when I first got my iPad and it was well worth the price ($5.99 in iTunes)!

Do you use Question Builder?  What is your favorite feature?

I do have a code for this app to give away, but you will have to keep your eyes on the Facebook page for more info!!

Disclaimer:  I was given a code for Question Builder to give away (I purchased my own copy), but the opinions expressed are mine alone. :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...