Thursday, August 1, 2013

Smarty Ears' Describe It To Me {An App Review!}

Hi Everyone!

I love checking my email and finding out there is a newly released Smarty Ears App for me to review! It's no secret that I think they rock, but when I caught a glimpse of the new Describe It To Me app, I knew I had to have it. I can honestly say that at least 90% of the kiddos on my current caseload could seriously use this app to help with both expressive and receptive describing skills. One of their favorite games to play in language therapy is Super Duper's "Jeepers Peepers," but many of my students have tremendous difficulty playing the game, and often become frustrated. I often have to go back to teach describing skills before they are able to play the game. I'm so excited to use this app to teach these skills...because they are so important!

Disclaimer: A copy of this app was provided to me by Smarty Ears, but no other compensation was provided. All opinions are mine. 

When you open the app, you see this adorable page. You can choose between the four buttons: Support, Play, Report Center, and More Apps

Smarty Ears apps always have great Support Buttons, where you can find out more about the app, watch tutorials, request support, and more....and their support help is always quick, easy, and so helpful!

If you choose the "More Apps" button when you open the app, you can scroll through other apps offered by Smarty Ears!

Choose "Play," and enter in your students. You can enter students manually, or import them from TRC. As usual with Smarty Ears' apps, you can add a real picture, or an avatar picture of your students. Once you are finished editing your student, click on the students to select which ones will be playing, and click "Next" to begin. If you select "Settings" in the upper right of this screen, you can choose to remove an item from an incorrect choice, display visuals or have auditory reinforcement when correct, display points, use a spinner, or customize a word list!

You can select the type of question by moving the cursor at the top of the app. Options are: Category, Function, Parts, Location, Visuals, & Extra. You can also choose between receptive and expressive answering options by sliding the gauge from "R" to "E" on the right of the screen. This picture shows a student being asked to receptively name the category a lady bug goes in. There are four choices to choose from. 

When a student answers correctly, this ribbon pops up on the screen.

If a student is working on describing expressively, the SLP or student can tap whether they got the answer correct, almost correct, or incorrect. I love the "almost" correct option, as I frequently have students who can get to the correct answer with a little bit of prompting/cueing.
Here, the student is being asked about the "function" of the object.
This student is being asked to expressively identify the parts of the object.

This student is being asked about where this type of object is found.

Here, the student should describe what he can see (or what the object looks like).

Finally, this student is working on the "Extra" tab. Here, they are being asked about additional information about the item.
If you choose the "Report" button from the start screen, you can view report cards, view awards and points, or choose homework sheets.

If you select a student and choose "Report Card," you can see what the student was working on and their data from that session. You can open these results in TRC or send via email as well!

If you select "Awards and Points," the student can see the awards they have earned for answering correctly.

Once the students obtain a certain amount of points earned from correct answers, they earn awards to go in their trophy room.
Lastly, if you choose "Homework Sheets" in the top right of the Report Center, you will find more than 30 homework sheets to choose from to use in therapy or to send home for practice!

You can choose to print or email the homework sheets, too!
In case you can't already tell, I'm totally stoked about this app! I have lots of students who need practice on describing. I also have students who don't have difficulty describing items receptively, but who bomb describing expressively. This app is perfect for students working on both! I also love that multiple players can play at the same time, and the homework sheets are awesome for take home practice and carryover! I also adore the ability to customize the word lists!!! My only suggestion would be adding some sort of game reinforcer, especially for the older students. My younger students love earning the ribbons and trophies, but several of my older students grew a little bored after 20+ minutes of answering questions. When I made it a competition between them, though, they were right back on track!

Thanks so much to Jonathan at Smarty Ears for the opportunity to review this app. It is currently available in iTunes for 9.99.

Have any of you used this app? What do you think?


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