TCI Tech Review Blog

TCI teachers, speech therapists and staff provide feedback and reviews of Assistive Technology and iPod, iPad, & iPhone Apps that are used to support students with autism.  The application and technology reviews listed here are personal statements made by individuals and may or may not reflect the official position of the school and/or administration. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of this page (see RSS icon at bottom of page) or follow our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/tcischool. For more information and resources about mobile apps supporting students with special needs, visit Mr. Palmer's page.

  • Nearpod (Panarea)

    Posted by Caitlin Bonner at 11/10/2014
    Nearpod Nearpod is an excellent app that promotes technology integration during lessons and allows students to follow along with the lesson on their iPads. This app allows teachers to share their presentations, control students’ activity, assess students, and track progress. Teachers must create an account at www.nearpod.com and download the app on the students’ ipads. Once the teacher creates an account, he or she can explore the website for pre-made “Nearpods” or presentations. There are paid and free lessons available on the website, but the teacher is also able to create and upload “Nearpods” of his or her own. When a lesson is downloaded, it appears in the My Library section of the website. The teacher selects the lesson and clicks on Live Session. When a live session is created, the presentation will open along with a pop-up with a Pin number for the students to type into their iPads. The students will type in the pin number, sign in with their names, and the lesson will begin. The teacher controls when a slide is changed while the students follow along. When a question is embedded in the presentation, the app records each student’s answer. Teachers are able to assess the students and track their progress during the presentation. The website keeps track of the students’ progress in the Records section under the teacher account.

    While creating a Nearpod presentation, there are a variety of options available to make them interactive and to meet the needs of all your learners. Some of the possible interactive features one can embed in a presentation are videos, questions, links, polls, quizzes, PDF documents, and drawing activities. There are many helpful tutorials on the Nearpod website that teach how to use all aspects of the website and how to create your own Nearpod presentations. Free and paid memberships are available on the website. The free membership includes many of the basic tools one would need to teach an effective and interactive lesson.

    Nearpod is marketed by Panarea and is available in the iTunes App Store for FREE.
     
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  • Reading Comprehension Camp (Smarty Ears)

    Posted by Noelle DiGiacomo at 10/6/2014 4:00:00 AM

    Reading Comprehension Camp Reading Comprehension Camp is a great app to use with your students to promote reading comprehension skills. The app consists of 5 levels. Each level has a variety of stories to choose from. The stories can be read to the user or the user can read the story themselves and record what they have read to practice fluency skills. After each story is read, the user can choose which types of questions they would like to answer, from basic "wh" questions to inference and vocabulary questions. Each question provides multiple choices and the student can refer back to the story to answer the questions. If the user is having difficulty answering a question, there is a "hint" option, which will highlight the sentence where the answer can be located. The app also collects data for each individual story. The data is displayed in a graph showing the users overall performance by question type. The data also shows which question for each story was correct or incorrect, and this data can be printed or shared. There are many customizable features for each learner, and can even be used with groups of up to 4 users. I highly recommend Reading Comprehension Camp for any students that may struggle with reading comprehension or may need supplemental reinforcement of reading skills.

     Reading Comprehension Camp is marketed by Smarty Ears and is available in the iTunes App Store for $19.99
     
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  • TouchMath Adventures Jungle Addition (MediaKube, LLC)

    Posted by Laura Hartjen at 9/29/2014

    Touchmath TouchMath Adventures: Jungle Addition 1 is a great hands on iPad app that prepares learners to add single digit numbers through a scaffolded step by step process.  The app is divided into three training modes: Adventurer Training, Skill Practice, and Adventure Mode. 

    Adventurer Training provides a hands on review of the order of the Touch Points.  Those familiar with the Touch Math Touching/Counting Patterns app will find this mode familiar as the D.I.G.I.T robot from the previous app guides students through the touch points 0-9.  This quick review of the Touch Points is a great warm up for students before diving into the Skill Practice or Adventure Mode.

    Adventurer mode transports the learner into the jungle with Panar and Freckles, two leopards and their monkey friend Newton on a journey to find treasure.  Throughout the adventurer mode, the story progresses giving the learner tasks to complete from counting objects to get a puzzle piece to rafting down a river while sequencing numbers.  The skill tests in each level include activities such as counting to 20, number sequencing, beginning addition, and even a comparing numbers activity using greater than, less than, and equal to.  In order to advance to the next level, the learner must complete each skill activity with 70% or higher.  This ensures that the learner understands the skill before moving on to the next activity.  What is particularly nice about the layout of the activities is the way the chapters progresses naturally through the Touch Math process.  The learner is able to start with counting objects as a means of adding to using numbers and objects together to add to finally adding with numbers while fading some of the Touch Points.  After completing each addition problem, the problem is repeated back which is a great way for the learner to start memorizing simple addition facts.  The final challenge level combines a random mix of all the skills from the previous chapters which the learner must complete to finish the adventure.  Teachers and parents also have the option to change the settings for each chapter including setting the number of problems, what skills will be worked on, and if the problems should be given in order or randomized.

    touchmath Skill practice mode takes all the skill tests out of each chapter in Adventure Mode and allows them to be practiced without going through the whole narrative adventure.  Each activity progresses in difficulty as each level is completed, but if a skill could use more practice on a certain set of facts there is an option to replay that particular skill set.  This is also a great place for the student to practice a skill in order to pass the skill test in adventurer mode. 

    Overall TouchMath Adventures: Jungle Addition 1 is a wonderful app for learners who are already familiar with the order and placement of Touch Points and ready to move on to add one-digit numbers.  The fun adventure as well as the entertaining hands on math activities are sure to keep a learner excited and motivated to progress through the TouchMath addition program.

    TouchMath Adventures Jungle Addition is marketed by MediaKube, LLC and is available on the iTunes store for $9.99.
     
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  • Dollars & Cents (Attainment Company)

    Posted by Randall Palmer at 6/9/2014
    Dollars & Cents TCI has reviewed numerous coin counting and money recognition apps, but Dollars & Cents from Attainment Company stands out as one of the best.  Dollars & Cents provides a clean and simple interface for students with autism to learn coin recognition, spending money, and making change. 

    In the Counting Coins section, students can practice coin recognition, sorting, matching, and even practice using a pretend vending machine.  In Spending Money section, students are presented with a list of items to shop for. Once selected, the student must identify the proper amount of money to give the cashier. Finally, the Making Change section provides an opportunity for students to practice counting money and making change as if they were running a cash register.
     
    Dollars & Cents supports multiple user names, so an entire class can share a single iPad. The Options menu allows teachers to manage users and customize a plethora of settings that control the students’ experience.
    Dollars & Cents is marketed by Attainment Company and is available in the iTunes App Store for $39.99.

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  • News-2-You (N2Y)

    Posted by Noelle DiGiacomo at 6/2/2014
    News-2-You News-2-You is an online newspaper designed for students with special needs. With four levels of difficulty and the use of symbol-supported text, students have the opportunity to explore real-life current events and topics, at a level they can understand. A subscription of News-2-You provides weekly articles, and includes worksheets, games, and activities to go along with each article. Also, included with the subscription is an iPad app that can be downloaded on your students' iPads, and they can have access to the same materials available in the online version. The website provides a sample lesson if you would like to try it in your classroom or at home.
    News-2-You is marketed by N2Y and is available in the iTunes App Store.
     
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  • Bag Game (All4mychild)

    Posted by Barbara Lanigan at 5/30/2014
    Bag Game This is a spin-off of the game “20 Questions.” All you need to do is choose a graphic (there are over 100 included to choose from OR take a photo of your own) and “hide” it in the brown paper bag.
     
    Some areas of speech-language include: categorization, expressive language for describing, question formulation skills, reasoning skills, vocabulary-same/different, auditory memory skills-making mental pictures.
     
    Two ways you can use this app:
    1. Hide the item and have the child ask the questions to identify characteristics of the item or the name of the item. You can use visuals with sample questions written out (e.g., Is it a food?” “Does it fly?” etc.). You can also use a clue sheet that lists attributes (e.g., hard, soft, tall, short, round, square, noisy, quiet, cold, hot, etc.).
    2. Hide the item and you give the clues to describe it. Example: “ It’s a food, that is served at breakfast, round with syrup.” Give one clue at a time if the child can make guesses based on the limited information.
     Other tips:
    • After the child is familiar with how to play the game, you can reverse roles and have them hide the object.
    • It is always good to review the facts after you have gathered a few. For example: “So far, we know it is a vehicle, that has an engine and wings.” etc.
    • By using your own photos, this app can also be used to help children learn family members and other information. Example: “Guess who we are going to see this weekend?...She is a girl, she is 12 years old, she has blonde hair and green eyes, she likes to play soccer… Yes, Cousin Emily!” OR another example: “We are going on a special vacation this summer. Would you like to guess?... We are going on an airplane, we will stay at a hotel, it will be hot, we will go to a state called Florida, we might see Mickey Mouse”…Yes, we are going to Disney World in Orlando Florida!
    • You can also use this app during long car rides, waiting at a restaurant or doctor’s office, etc.

    Bag Game is marketed by All4mychild and is available in the iTunes App Store for $1.99

     
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  • ArtikPix (Expressive Solutions, LLC)

    Posted by Susan Varman at 5/28/2014
    ArtikPix ArtikPix is a great articulation app that provides flashcard and matching activities for children with speech sound delays. The activities provide multiple opportunities for practicing the pronunciation of speech sounds in a fun and motivating way. The application can be customized to suit an individual’s needs by offering a wide range of target sounds in words and sentences and in all positions (initial, medial and final). Each target sound is illustrated with fun and modern graphics. The application features a recorded audio model of each target word and sentence. Additionally, users can take their own photos and label the pictures with a word incorporating the target sound in the appropriate position. This is helpful to create a customized target word list that is more functional for the user. The application also offers the ability for voice recording of the student’s trial productions, with the ability to score each trial and improve self-monitoring skills. Data can be collected on students seen individually as well as in groups.
     
    The application offers "th, w, y, and h" decks for free with 20 additional decks available as In App Purchases for $1.99 a deck.

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  • Articulation Station (Little Bee Speech)

    Posted by Susan Varman at 5/26/2014
    ArticulationStation Articulation Station is an app that helps students improve pronunciation and articulation. It uses use very specific exercises, games, and stories that focus on 22 English language sounds. This app improves pronunciation and understanding of how letter sounds form words. There are more than 1,000 target words that are illustrated with bright, colorful photos. Users can also take their own photos and label the pictures with a word incorporating the target sound in the appropriate position. Sounds can be practiced at the word, sentence and story level. There is a new sentence for every target word and short, creative stories for each sound position. The application provides an audio model of each target. In addition, the user has the ability to record his/her own voice and play it back to work on self-monitoring skills. By allowing the user to choose multiple target sounds at once, the application can be set-up to work on phonological processes as well.
     
    Articulation Station is free for the entire P sound program. Additional sound programs can be purchased from the Articulation Station store ranging in price from $0.99-5.99. Overall, the games and activities are motivating to students and encourage continued practice.
     
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  • Between the LInes (Hamaguchi Apps)

    Posted by Michele Jorgensen at 5/19/2014
    Between the lines As speech-language pathologists, we are always searching for innovative ways to target social language skills. Between the Lines is an app that goes far in filling that need. This highly engaging app provides practice with a variety of social language tasks including perspective taking, and interpreting body language, facial expressions, and vocal intonation. Students gain practice with comprehension of figurative language as well. One of the most appealing aspects of Between the Lines is the fact that the material is presented in video format. Videos containing a variety of social situations and idiomatic language usage are presented along with follow-up questions. It is always gratifying to see how well the videos sustain the students’ attention! I love how easy it is to adjust the settings to accommodate a student’s individual learning level (e.g. number of answer choices presented, automatic or delayed presentation of choices, etc.) and the user-friendly data collection feature allows progress to be tracked for individuals as well as individuals within a group.

    There are three levels of Between the Lines. Each is sold separately.

    Between the Lines Level 1: This level is intended for use with students in elementary through middle school. The social situations and locales in the videos are in line with this age group and include settings such as school, park, mall and birthday party.


    Between the Lines Level 2: Level 2 is very similar to Level 1 in terms of age appropriateness. However, the content is at a slightly higher level and the answer choices can be somewhat more challenging.


    Between the Lines Advanced: The advanced level is most appropriate for teen and adult populations. The social situations presented include ones encountered with teenage peers, employers, co-workers and spouses. The answer choices are typically more challenging at this level as well.



    It’s hard to find great apps that are geared toward teens and adults with social language deficits. I highly recommend this app as a fun and effective way to address these crucial skills. Between the Lines is Marketed by Hamaguchi Apps and is available in the iTunes App Store for $9.99.
     
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  • Conversation Coach (Silver Lining Multimedia, Inc)

    Posted by Jessica Morrow at 5/14/2014
    Conversation Coach As a speech-language pathologist, I often find myself looking for fun and creative ways to target pragmatics and social skills. Conversation Coach, with its colorful real life pictures and cool graphics keeps the attention of my students. Conversation Coach is an interactive app designed to help students follow the back and forth flow of a normal conversation. The game utilizes a ping pong ball that each player passes to the other side of the screen indicating their partner’s turn to respond. This is a great tool to teach the skills of staying on topic, listening to others, turn-taking, organizing thoughts, and utilizing expressive language. Conversation coach allows users to customize topics or use premade material. It also provides picture choices, written word, and spoken word modes in order to reach users with different learning needs.

    Conversation Coach is marketed by Silver Lining Multimedia and the full version is available in the iTunes App Store for $29.99.

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Last Modified on November 12, 2014