Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hi, friends of my blog!

Once again, I feel like the day-to-day routine is so time consuming that I wonder if I will ever post here again! I want to write more, but sometimes, just don't get to.

Anyway, Yesterday, I watched a video of two YouTube personalities that took everyone's favorite 1980s pioneering game The Oregon Trail out of the computer and into real life. If you're interested, click here to see it.

I was thinking to myself, wow, the guys looked like they really had fun bringing that computer game to life! I remember playing the game when I was in 5th grade. It was a nice trip down memory lane.

Today, I was scrolling through and saw a post on a facebook group sharing that the Jenga app is free today. My first reaction was, "how do you even play Jenga on an app?" Bringing an IRL game to an app might be a little weird. So I checked it out. Spoiler alert: this is not my typical format for a blog post, but I can do something different, right?

Jenga app

It was surprisingly true to the IRL (in real life) version, but not anywhere near as satisfying to me. You can tap to see which blocks are looser (white ones are looser than red ones). A few taps and swipes will remove your block and allow you to place it on top. You can play classic mode, pass 'n' play (two player mode), or arcade mode (colorful blocks with some additional bonus point opportunities).

Don't pull out the red blocks!

White blocks are a pretty safe bet
It even falls if you don't remove your piece carefully, or if the tower is too unbalanced.

Oh no!
So are there pros and cons to the app vs. the IRL game? I'm not going to conclude one way or the other, but invite you to ponder with me...

App version:
Pros: 
1. No set-up time. If you've played the IRL game, you know this is annoying to have to set up each time.
2. Play simulates the real game well. Tapping blocks to test, placing blocks on top, even tapping to try to scoot blocks back into a sturdier position.
3. Cost. The app was free today, but I have a feeling that even if it was a paid app before, it's cheaper than IRL Jenga, or the knock-off version of the same game available at some stores.
4. For SLPs who travel to multiple sites, the app is a space saver and a time saver!

Cons:
1. No satisfying crash sound! The tower doesn't really wobble that much and the 3D view allows you access to most of the tower at a time, but not the same way the IRL game does. The animation of the falling is a little too digital feeling, as if the blocks are on some planet with very little gravity.
2. You can still target whatever you want, but you aren't going to be writing on any of the blocks to customize anything.
3. You'll have to compete with the iPad for your students' attention.
4. Some students aren't willing to give up the iPad once it's in their hands. You'll possibly have turn-taking and sharing issues to deal with on top of your intended goals and objectives.

IRL version:
Pros: 
1. Speech Jenga. You can customize the blocks with vocabulary or articulation words or whatever! Writing on the blocks gives the student their word/task for your therapy session. An internet search for "speech Jenga" will yield tons of ideas.
2. We are always looking for hands-on activities for our students. Why should we allow technology to run the show just because it exists? Sometimes a lot more learning comes from real-life interaction when we put the iPad away.
3. We can encourage better problem solving and some general practice with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
4. You can push blocks back in better than in the app version. If the tower is getting a little wonky, you can - with one hand - try to fix it.
5. The wobble, the suspense, the CRASH! Need I say more?

Cons: 
1. Price. As mentioned above, you'll have to shell out some dough for the real thing.
2. Missing pieces may be an issue if one falls under a cabinet or behind a table.

Well, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer the app or the IRL game? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch!
Keep it AFV!
Saturday, December 13, 2014 Karen
Hi, friends of my blog!

Once again, I feel like the day-to-day routine is so time consuming that I wonder if I will ever post here again! I want to write more, but sometimes, just don't get to.

Anyway, Yesterday, I watched a video of two YouTube personalities that took everyone's favorite 1980s pioneering game The Oregon Trail out of the computer and into real life. If you're interested, click here to see it.

I was thinking to myself, wow, the guys looked like they really had fun bringing that computer game to life! I remember playing the game when I was in 5th grade. It was a nice trip down memory lane.

Today, I was scrolling through and saw a post on a facebook group sharing that the Jenga app is free today. My first reaction was, "how do you even play Jenga on an app?" Bringing an IRL game to an app might be a little weird. So I checked it out. Spoiler alert: this is not my typical format for a blog post, but I can do something different, right?

Jenga app

It was surprisingly true to the IRL (in real life) version, but not anywhere near as satisfying to me. You can tap to see which blocks are looser (white ones are looser than red ones). A few taps and swipes will remove your block and allow you to place it on top. You can play classic mode, pass 'n' play (two player mode), or arcade mode (colorful blocks with some additional bonus point opportunities).

Don't pull out the red blocks!

White blocks are a pretty safe bet
It even falls if you don't remove your piece carefully, or if the tower is too unbalanced.

Oh no!
So are there pros and cons to the app vs. the IRL game? I'm not going to conclude one way or the other, but invite you to ponder with me...

App version:
Pros: 
1. No set-up time. If you've played the IRL game, you know this is annoying to have to set up each time.
2. Play simulates the real game well. Tapping blocks to test, placing blocks on top, even tapping to try to scoot blocks back into a sturdier position.
3. Cost. The app was free today, but I have a feeling that even if it was a paid app before, it's cheaper than IRL Jenga, or the knock-off version of the same game available at some stores.
4. For SLPs who travel to multiple sites, the app is a space saver and a time saver!

Cons:
1. No satisfying crash sound! The tower doesn't really wobble that much and the 3D view allows you access to most of the tower at a time, but not the same way the IRL game does. The animation of the falling is a little too digital feeling, as if the blocks are on some planet with very little gravity.
2. You can still target whatever you want, but you aren't going to be writing on any of the blocks to customize anything.
3. You'll have to compete with the iPad for your students' attention.
4. Some students aren't willing to give up the iPad once it's in their hands. You'll possibly have turn-taking and sharing issues to deal with on top of your intended goals and objectives.

IRL version:
Pros: 
1. Speech Jenga. You can customize the blocks with vocabulary or articulation words or whatever! Writing on the blocks gives the student their word/task for your therapy session. An internet search for "speech Jenga" will yield tons of ideas.
2. We are always looking for hands-on activities for our students. Why should we allow technology to run the show just because it exists? Sometimes a lot more learning comes from real-life interaction when we put the iPad away.
3. We can encourage better problem solving and some general practice with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
4. You can push blocks back in better than in the app version. If the tower is getting a little wonky, you can - with one hand - try to fix it.
5. The wobble, the suspense, the CRASH! Need I say more?

Cons: 
1. Price. As mentioned above, you'll have to shell out some dough for the real thing.
2. Missing pieces may be an issue if one falls under a cabinet or behind a table.

Well, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer the app or the IRL game? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch!
Keep it AFV!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hi, I'm glad to be finally writing another post for you today! The first quarter of the school year has felt like an entire year of things to do! I feel like I have a moment to breathe now that IEP updates have gone out. Anyway, I'm happy to share with you a Halloween activity before the holiday has passed. Yay!

I came across this skeleton game (available for free at this link) and decided to play roll-a-skeleton with my groups.
Cut out your skeleton bones ahead of time,
and make it easy for players to get their selected piece.
The premise of the game is simple: roll the dice and you get the part of the skeleton that is assigned to the number. Think of it like roll-a-skeleton. I decided to assign different numbers than the ones you will see printed on the activity. This is what I chose to do, and obviously you can assign whatever  numbers you want for your activities.
1 - a leg
2 - head
3 - ribs
4 - two arms
5 - your choice
6 - another leg

Here are some speechy ideas for you you to work on while playing this game...

Articulation: This game lends itself to several specific sounds: especially /l, r, g/ and /sk/, but you can use any sounds and require practice on the targeted sound before earning a turn at the game.
Language/vocabulary: of course you can target the body vocabulary terms that are cutout, and divergent naming practice of other parts such as feet, toes, eyes, fingers, ears, and many more. You can also focus on requesting: after a roll of the dice, the player must ask, "Can I have..." or request in an appropriate manner. Describing is also going to be fun, because if you allow additional parts which are duplicates (e.g., two heads), the player can describe his or her skeleton (e.g., "My skeleton has two heads; yours has three arms"). Grammar; plurals will easily be targeted here. You can also use the EET to describe attributes for skeletons, and for extra fun, compare and contrast with another Halloween favorite of many students, the zombie!
Auditory processing: skip the dice and practice following auditory directions: attach the head to the top of the ribs; before you add an arm, put a leg on; etc.).
Stuttering: Using fluency skills, talk about scary decorations for fall, make up a skeleton story, or even discuss other skeletons such as dinosaur skeletons/fossils. 

Two more legs, and I'll have the
skeleton of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man!
What other ideas do you have for this activity? Share your ideas in the comments below. :-)
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen
Sunday, October 26, 2014 Karen
Hi, I'm glad to be finally writing another post for you today! The first quarter of the school year has felt like an entire year of things to do! I feel like I have a moment to breathe now that IEP updates have gone out. Anyway, I'm happy to share with you a Halloween activity before the holiday has passed. Yay!

I came across this skeleton game (available for free at this link) and decided to play roll-a-skeleton with my groups.
Cut out your skeleton bones ahead of time,
and make it easy for players to get their selected piece.
The premise of the game is simple: roll the dice and you get the part of the skeleton that is assigned to the number. Think of it like roll-a-skeleton. I decided to assign different numbers than the ones you will see printed on the activity. This is what I chose to do, and obviously you can assign whatever  numbers you want for your activities.
1 - a leg
2 - head
3 - ribs
4 - two arms
5 - your choice
6 - another leg

Here are some speechy ideas for you you to work on while playing this game...

Articulation: This game lends itself to several specific sounds: especially /l, r, g/ and /sk/, but you can use any sounds and require practice on the targeted sound before earning a turn at the game.
Language/vocabulary: of course you can target the body vocabulary terms that are cutout, and divergent naming practice of other parts such as feet, toes, eyes, fingers, ears, and many more. You can also focus on requesting: after a roll of the dice, the player must ask, "Can I have..." or request in an appropriate manner. Describing is also going to be fun, because if you allow additional parts which are duplicates (e.g., two heads), the player can describe his or her skeleton (e.g., "My skeleton has two heads; yours has three arms"). Grammar; plurals will easily be targeted here. You can also use the EET to describe attributes for skeletons, and for extra fun, compare and contrast with another Halloween favorite of many students, the zombie!
Auditory processing: skip the dice and practice following auditory directions: attach the head to the top of the ribs; before you add an arm, put a leg on; etc.).
Stuttering: Using fluency skills, talk about scary decorations for fall, make up a skeleton story, or even discuss other skeletons such as dinosaur skeletons/fossils. 

Two more legs, and I'll have the
skeleton of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man!
What other ideas do you have for this activity? Share your ideas in the comments below. :-)
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hello,

The school year is underway in my district, and I've spent tons of time doing the following:

Playing detective
It would be too easy for me to know where my students are come the beginning of a new school year. I requested class lists a bunch of times, but ended up having to run around the school on a quest to determine what teachers have my students. That and finding out who moved away, who moved in... what's going on with this one student who had an outside evaluation over the summer. And then asking, reminding, and hunting down those elusive teacher schedules.

Starting the schedule
I, like most of you, cringe at the thought of making a schedule when all that is before me is a blank plan book.


This year, I tried a new method. I grabbed one of those teacher lesson plan books and made each column a day of the week. And each row was a chunk of time for my groups. After deciding what students would be in groups together, I wrote their names on strips of sticky notes. If they are supposed to come 2 times per week, I wrote their name 2 times. Then I look at the teachers' schedules, check the special ed teachers' schedules, find a time that looks like it works, and put the names in the boxes. If I had any sticky notes left over with names, I knew I had to find a spot to fit them in.

I'm not going to lie. I didn't like this method. The number of time chunks in my day do not fit on a nice one-page spread. I had to turn the page for later time slots, and was afraid my sticky notes would come loose. So as I progressed with finding spots, I entered them into an excel spreadsheet as I have done in the past after I had determined what time slot they would get. But, it was interesting to try another way of doing things.

Taking the CELF-5 webinar
My district got several SLPs in my district the new CELF-5. So, I remembered how I learned about the CELF-4 in grad school. You gotta dig into the manual. I also had access to the 3+ hour webinar from Pearson.
If you notice, I have post-it notes on one of the test protocols. I quickly noticed that the stimulus easels are thinner than the 4th edition. They are for a reason. They are double-sided. Meaning, the standardized scripted prompts are not on the back of the easel. So, for now, I made myself a script copy of the test booklet with the intro directions, scripts for any demos and trial items, as well as for the items. And, if you're wondering, yes, I printed the post it notes on the printer! For a quick and easy tutorial and free templates, visit youtube!

The nice thing about the webinar is that it is grouped into sections, and you can click on the section you want. You can stop, start, skip ahead, go back. It's a nice overview of what you need to know to administer the test. There are differences from the previous edition, so be aware of those!

Decorating my office
Not a lot is different about my office this year. I still share half of a small office, but my roommate is different this year. This is my third year sharing this room, and my third roomie. It's definitely crowded. But we're figuring things out.

I decided to continue with my owl theme, so I'm reusing a great door decoration I found last year. I redesigned the look of the door, but the graphics are all the same as last year. New look with old stuff. Click here to check out Putting Words in Your Mouth, which is where I got it from.


I will be displaying learning targets, but slightly differently than before. I have a blue pocket chart like this one hanging up in my room now. I cut and laminated some sentence strips and display learning targets quickly and easily now. I'll have them written up ahead of time now, so it saves time during the groups.

Embarking upon the world of bulletin boards
I have never designed a bulletin board besides the one I did when I was completing my school practicum. I am always inspired by ones I see floating around on facebook and pinterest, but never knew how to really make a useful one. I don't want to just display who's in my class (is there an ethical dilemma with that, anyway?), or have a giant sign that basically says, "the speech room is right here, folks!"

I wanted something the whole school can get in on, so I made an interactive bulletin board. I saw one somewhere that had a Words With Friends style to it, and I thought it would be perfect for tier 2 vocabulary. Each month, I will display a different grade-specific tier 2 vocabulary word out there. Students from each grade can represent that word in a variety of ways: draw a picture, write a sentence, describe it... anything goes! I got a lot of positive feedback from the teachers in my building on institute day, so I'm excited to see how the students will represent their words. And I told teachers I take requests for academic vocabulary, too.

Starting with my groups
So this week, I began getting my groups. And without fail, I began to find conflicts with other service providers including special ed teachers and ESL teachers! Nothing is ever written in stone with that schedule, right? Anyway, I'm getting them set up with notebooks for speech homework, and including a student-friendly version of their IEP goals in the front cover. The template I found is perfect for this.
I love the fact that each goal has two lines. Some goals are a little longer than one line. But what I love best is that I can have them written in English and Spanish for my bilingual students. I have a 1/2 time bilingual parapro to assist me with my bilingual K-3 students. So she translated the goals for my kids. She also provides Spanish support for those groups and translates their homework, too. Get this free by clicking here!

I'm sure there's more... I've already completed 2 evaluations this year, too! Crazy.

How's the beginning of the school year going for you?
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 Karen
Hello,

The school year is underway in my district, and I've spent tons of time doing the following:

Playing detective
It would be too easy for me to know where my students are come the beginning of a new school year. I requested class lists a bunch of times, but ended up having to run around the school on a quest to determine what teachers have my students. That and finding out who moved away, who moved in... what's going on with this one student who had an outside evaluation over the summer. And then asking, reminding, and hunting down those elusive teacher schedules.

Starting the schedule
I, like most of you, cringe at the thought of making a schedule when all that is before me is a blank plan book.


This year, I tried a new method. I grabbed one of those teacher lesson plan books and made each column a day of the week. And each row was a chunk of time for my groups. After deciding what students would be in groups together, I wrote their names on strips of sticky notes. If they are supposed to come 2 times per week, I wrote their name 2 times. Then I look at the teachers' schedules, check the special ed teachers' schedules, find a time that looks like it works, and put the names in the boxes. If I had any sticky notes left over with names, I knew I had to find a spot to fit them in.

I'm not going to lie. I didn't like this method. The number of time chunks in my day do not fit on a nice one-page spread. I had to turn the page for later time slots, and was afraid my sticky notes would come loose. So as I progressed with finding spots, I entered them into an excel spreadsheet as I have done in the past after I had determined what time slot they would get. But, it was interesting to try another way of doing things.

Taking the CELF-5 webinar
My district got several SLPs in my district the new CELF-5. So, I remembered how I learned about the CELF-4 in grad school. You gotta dig into the manual. I also had access to the 3+ hour webinar from Pearson.
If you notice, I have post-it notes on one of the test protocols. I quickly noticed that the stimulus easels are thinner than the 4th edition. They are for a reason. They are double-sided. Meaning, the standardized scripted prompts are not on the back of the easel. So, for now, I made myself a script copy of the test booklet with the intro directions, scripts for any demos and trial items, as well as for the items. And, if you're wondering, yes, I printed the post it notes on the printer! For a quick and easy tutorial and free templates, visit youtube!

The nice thing about the webinar is that it is grouped into sections, and you can click on the section you want. You can stop, start, skip ahead, go back. It's a nice overview of what you need to know to administer the test. There are differences from the previous edition, so be aware of those!

Decorating my office
Not a lot is different about my office this year. I still share half of a small office, but my roommate is different this year. This is my third year sharing this room, and my third roomie. It's definitely crowded. But we're figuring things out.

I decided to continue with my owl theme, so I'm reusing a great door decoration I found last year. I redesigned the look of the door, but the graphics are all the same as last year. New look with old stuff. Click here to check out Putting Words in Your Mouth, which is where I got it from.


I will be displaying learning targets, but slightly differently than before. I have a blue pocket chart like this one hanging up in my room now. I cut and laminated some sentence strips and display learning targets quickly and easily now. I'll have them written up ahead of time now, so it saves time during the groups.

Embarking upon the world of bulletin boards
I have never designed a bulletin board besides the one I did when I was completing my school practicum. I am always inspired by ones I see floating around on facebook and pinterest, but never knew how to really make a useful one. I don't want to just display who's in my class (is there an ethical dilemma with that, anyway?), or have a giant sign that basically says, "the speech room is right here, folks!"

I wanted something the whole school can get in on, so I made an interactive bulletin board. I saw one somewhere that had a Words With Friends style to it, and I thought it would be perfect for tier 2 vocabulary. Each month, I will display a different grade-specific tier 2 vocabulary word out there. Students from each grade can represent that word in a variety of ways: draw a picture, write a sentence, describe it... anything goes! I got a lot of positive feedback from the teachers in my building on institute day, so I'm excited to see how the students will represent their words. And I told teachers I take requests for academic vocabulary, too.

Starting with my groups
So this week, I began getting my groups. And without fail, I began to find conflicts with other service providers including special ed teachers and ESL teachers! Nothing is ever written in stone with that schedule, right? Anyway, I'm getting them set up with notebooks for speech homework, and including a student-friendly version of their IEP goals in the front cover. The template I found is perfect for this.
I love the fact that each goal has two lines. Some goals are a little longer than one line. But what I love best is that I can have them written in English and Spanish for my bilingual students. I have a 1/2 time bilingual parapro to assist me with my bilingual K-3 students. So she translated the goals for my kids. She also provides Spanish support for those groups and translates their homework, too. Get this free by clicking here!

I'm sure there's more... I've already completed 2 evaluations this year, too! Crazy.

How's the beginning of the school year going for you?
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hi!
I'm back today with an app review of the Articulation Test Center by Little Bee Speech. I'm excited, because this is the first assessment app I'm using.

Disclaimer: This app was provided to me gratis for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated in any additional ways. The opinions in this review are my own, and were not influenced by the app developer, or anyone else.

First things first... there are video tutorials available that provide an intro to this app. I highly suggest watching them if you decide to get this app.
Full Test Tutorial (also embedded into the app itself)
Quick Test Tutorial (also embedded into the app itself)
App Update Info for v. 1.3

I am using an adapted rubric to help me complete this app review. I hope you will find it helpful and objective. The scale is from 1-4; 1 being a low rating, 4 being a high rating. This is a fairly thorough review. I sincerely hope that you aren't deterred by the number of comments I made. I really want you to realize all the aspects of this app to help you decide if this is right for you.

Relevance rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app's focus has a strong connection to the purpose for the app and appropriate to meet that need.

This app is designed with SLPs in mind. The full test was designed for SLPs to "assess articulation and phonology skills in students of all ages." The screener was designed for "parents, teachers, and SLPs to quickly screen students' articulation skills," based on age. While incredibly relevant to do what it claims, I personally do not know if teachers and parents that I have come into contact with would actually purchase this app. They certainly can, if they wish; it's a great app. However, they would only be able to utilize the screener portion, and the cost of the app may deter those individuals from getting the most out of this app.

Customization rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app offers complete flexibility to alter content and settings to meet individual needs.

This app is super customizable. The full test has options to give the full test, or just a selection of sounds.


I have had many referrals for students who have just one sound in error, and the traditional articulation test I have includes all sounds in all positions for all students. From the screening, I know that all I need to look is the one sound. However, standardization rules dictate that the test must be administered as described. The Articulation Test Center allows for flexibility. The screener allows you to select the age of the student

You can also customize the settings to include/exclude the voice prompt (when tapped, the app could give a verbal prompt), picture, word, and more. As students get older, you can make the app more age-appropriate by just showing the printed word. However, if you do this, make sure their reading skills are appropriate! You wouldn't want a reading miscue to taint your articulation scores.


You also can create student profiles and save data for later reference, more on that below. Just be sure you're abiding by HIPAA and FERPA rules.

Usability rating 3/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app can be launched and used easily for the intended purpose.

This app is quite user friendly. In both the screener and the full test, you can record (and stop) the student's production with a quick tap of the record button. You can mark a sound as incorrect  (red), an approximation (yellow), or simply leave it as correct (green).


Or you can use the menu to put in the substitution. If the student omitted a sound, you just swipe it up and away! The menus allow you to enter the sound substitutions, and also name the phonological process if one is appropriate.

For non-SLPs who may be using this, the sounds are marked using typical orthography. "Ch" like in "cheese" is notated as "ch." Non-SLPs will no doubt appreciate the examples of phonological processes when in that menu; however, should not be expected to fully understand nor make judgments regarding a student's use of them. For SLPs, the IPA character is written underneath the orthographic representation, very tiny, and the font color is teal on teal. I downgraded my rating slightly in this area for the reason that I wish the IPA was more readable, especially on the vowels. If I had my way, the IPA symbols would be more prominent, and the orthographic representations would be underneath instead. But that's from my SLP perspective.


The app also has a button to reverse the stimulus picture so it is facing the student across from you. The rest of the app functions normally, orientated toward you. This makes it easier to arrange who can sit in what chairs for the comfort and ease of both the student and the SLP.


One other thing I wasn't entirely fond of is the fact that some sounds in the words are greyed out. The usability is hindered by this. For example, I was going though the full test as if I was testing a student who uses multiple phonological processes, one of which was final consonant deletion. I can't swipe away the /t/ in elephant easily and mark it with the process. I could tap over in the lower corner and make a note; however it's not an easy, at-a-glance read when you review the results. You need to tap the note icon to see it. Similarly, if a student has syllable deletion or backing, I can't mark that either, depending on the word (e.g., the /t/ in "tire" is greyed out, I wouldn't be able to mark a /k/ for a student who backs alveloars. When I've used my traditional, standardized articulation test, I have made notes for myself on the response sheet with data such as that. Even though that sound isn't being counted for points, it is information I can gather about the student's skills.


From a student's perspective, it may begin to feel awkward when the SLP is tapping away marking all of these things. The ease of hiding your marks behind the stimulus easel is gone, and the student will be able to see green squares turning red or yellow, or to red slash marks. If you have a student who may be sensitive to that, you may just want to use the record button while the student is present, fly through the pictures, and mark the errors after the student has left.

The speech sample includes a lot of things within the scene, and several scenes are available. I recommend turning off the background sounds, because if your student is quiet, or has some subtle errors, it may be difficult to hear him or her.

Feedback rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app provides specific feedback to the user.

The feedback this app gives you is up to you. If you marked it, it will be visible in a scrolling list of words tested. The app also lets you view errors you marked by sounds, substitutions, and phonological processes. It gives a report that you can use as part of a more comprehensive report, or as a standalone report. It also provides recommendations. But don't forget to use your clinical judgment! The app can only take you so far. You need to ensure that the information which is generated is an accurate description of the student being assessed.


I think the ease of obtaining an intelligibility rating is awesome! You can playback the spontaneous sample and use the + and - buttons to indicate if the student was intelligible or not. When the sample is over, you have a percentage!


Sharing rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app can collect and save data, and if it can be exported.

The Articulation Test Center app allows you to print or email, provided you have those abilities from your tablet. I do not have a printer I can use from my iPad mini, but emailing would work. It also saves in the app, so you can review it again later, or edit it if there are any errors or things you forgot. The scores are always available from the home screen in the bottom corner.

Overview:
Relevance rating 4/4
Customization rating 4/4
Usability rating 3/4
Feedback rating 4/4
Sharing rating 4/4
Overall: 19/20 (95%)

If you think this app is just what you need, (which it just might be) it can be yours for $49.99. BUT WAIT! Little Bee Speech is throwing a back to school sale! From August 12-14, 2014, it will be 30% off. This will be the biggest sale of the year, so check it out now!


What do you think? Have you used technology when assessing articulation? If not, did this review help you get a feel for what it would be like? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to stay in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 Karen
Hi!
I'm back today with an app review of the Articulation Test Center by Little Bee Speech. I'm excited, because this is the first assessment app I'm using.

Disclaimer: This app was provided to me gratis for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated in any additional ways. The opinions in this review are my own, and were not influenced by the app developer, or anyone else.

First things first... there are video tutorials available that provide an intro to this app. I highly suggest watching them if you decide to get this app.
Full Test Tutorial (also embedded into the app itself)
Quick Test Tutorial (also embedded into the app itself)
App Update Info for v. 1.3

I am using an adapted rubric to help me complete this app review. I hope you will find it helpful and objective. The scale is from 1-4; 1 being a low rating, 4 being a high rating. This is a fairly thorough review. I sincerely hope that you aren't deterred by the number of comments I made. I really want you to realize all the aspects of this app to help you decide if this is right for you.

Relevance rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app's focus has a strong connection to the purpose for the app and appropriate to meet that need.

This app is designed with SLPs in mind. The full test was designed for SLPs to "assess articulation and phonology skills in students of all ages." The screener was designed for "parents, teachers, and SLPs to quickly screen students' articulation skills," based on age. While incredibly relevant to do what it claims, I personally do not know if teachers and parents that I have come into contact with would actually purchase this app. They certainly can, if they wish; it's a great app. However, they would only be able to utilize the screener portion, and the cost of the app may deter those individuals from getting the most out of this app.

Customization rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app offers complete flexibility to alter content and settings to meet individual needs.

This app is super customizable. The full test has options to give the full test, or just a selection of sounds.


I have had many referrals for students who have just one sound in error, and the traditional articulation test I have includes all sounds in all positions for all students. From the screening, I know that all I need to look is the one sound. However, standardization rules dictate that the test must be administered as described. The Articulation Test Center allows for flexibility. The screener allows you to select the age of the student

You can also customize the settings to include/exclude the voice prompt (when tapped, the app could give a verbal prompt), picture, word, and more. As students get older, you can make the app more age-appropriate by just showing the printed word. However, if you do this, make sure their reading skills are appropriate! You wouldn't want a reading miscue to taint your articulation scores.


You also can create student profiles and save data for later reference, more on that below. Just be sure you're abiding by HIPAA and FERPA rules.

Usability rating 3/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app can be launched and used easily for the intended purpose.

This app is quite user friendly. In both the screener and the full test, you can record (and stop) the student's production with a quick tap of the record button. You can mark a sound as incorrect  (red), an approximation (yellow), or simply leave it as correct (green).


Or you can use the menu to put in the substitution. If the student omitted a sound, you just swipe it up and away! The menus allow you to enter the sound substitutions, and also name the phonological process if one is appropriate.

For non-SLPs who may be using this, the sounds are marked using typical orthography. "Ch" like in "cheese" is notated as "ch." Non-SLPs will no doubt appreciate the examples of phonological processes when in that menu; however, should not be expected to fully understand nor make judgments regarding a student's use of them. For SLPs, the IPA character is written underneath the orthographic representation, very tiny, and the font color is teal on teal. I downgraded my rating slightly in this area for the reason that I wish the IPA was more readable, especially on the vowels. If I had my way, the IPA symbols would be more prominent, and the orthographic representations would be underneath instead. But that's from my SLP perspective.


The app also has a button to reverse the stimulus picture so it is facing the student across from you. The rest of the app functions normally, orientated toward you. This makes it easier to arrange who can sit in what chairs for the comfort and ease of both the student and the SLP.


One other thing I wasn't entirely fond of is the fact that some sounds in the words are greyed out. The usability is hindered by this. For example, I was going though the full test as if I was testing a student who uses multiple phonological processes, one of which was final consonant deletion. I can't swipe away the /t/ in elephant easily and mark it with the process. I could tap over in the lower corner and make a note; however it's not an easy, at-a-glance read when you review the results. You need to tap the note icon to see it. Similarly, if a student has syllable deletion or backing, I can't mark that either, depending on the word (e.g., the /t/ in "tire" is greyed out, I wouldn't be able to mark a /k/ for a student who backs alveloars. When I've used my traditional, standardized articulation test, I have made notes for myself on the response sheet with data such as that. Even though that sound isn't being counted for points, it is information I can gather about the student's skills.


From a student's perspective, it may begin to feel awkward when the SLP is tapping away marking all of these things. The ease of hiding your marks behind the stimulus easel is gone, and the student will be able to see green squares turning red or yellow, or to red slash marks. If you have a student who may be sensitive to that, you may just want to use the record button while the student is present, fly through the pictures, and mark the errors after the student has left.

The speech sample includes a lot of things within the scene, and several scenes are available. I recommend turning off the background sounds, because if your student is quiet, or has some subtle errors, it may be difficult to hear him or her.

Feedback rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app provides specific feedback to the user.

The feedback this app gives you is up to you. If you marked it, it will be visible in a scrolling list of words tested. The app also lets you view errors you marked by sounds, substitutions, and phonological processes. It gives a report that you can use as part of a more comprehensive report, or as a standalone report. It also provides recommendations. But don't forget to use your clinical judgment! The app can only take you so far. You need to ensure that the information which is generated is an accurate description of the student being assessed.


I think the ease of obtaining an intelligibility rating is awesome! You can playback the spontaneous sample and use the + and - buttons to indicate if the student was intelligible or not. When the sample is over, you have a percentage!


Sharing rating 4/4
For this rating, I considered whether the app can collect and save data, and if it can be exported.

The Articulation Test Center app allows you to print or email, provided you have those abilities from your tablet. I do not have a printer I can use from my iPad mini, but emailing would work. It also saves in the app, so you can review it again later, or edit it if there are any errors or things you forgot. The scores are always available from the home screen in the bottom corner.

Overview:
Relevance rating 4/4
Customization rating 4/4
Usability rating 3/4
Feedback rating 4/4
Sharing rating 4/4
Overall: 19/20 (95%)

If you think this app is just what you need, (which it just might be) it can be yours for $49.99. BUT WAIT! Little Bee Speech is throwing a back to school sale! From August 12-14, 2014, it will be 30% off. This will be the biggest sale of the year, so check it out now!


What do you think? Have you used technology when assessing articulation? If not, did this review help you get a feel for what it would be like? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to stay in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hi, dear readers! I have been absent from my blog for far too long. Last year was just a "go-go-go" kind of year, and to top it off, my husband's job relocated him this summer. SO... I've been a little preoccupied with moving, too.

I'm back for my first post of the school year (my district starts up again later this week) with something that I hope will be a great resource for you. I have seen many lists of life hacks to make everyday life simpler. I have brainstormed some that will be particularly useful for those of us who are SLPs! So, I'm throwing my very first linky party! This also serves as my belated bloggy birthday. I'm celebrating 2 years!












1. Test Scores at the Click of a Button
I think this one is the most useful, and therefore it should be first! We've all been there. You administer a test and take it home to score it and you've forgotten the manual! I have seen pleas on a variety of forums with one SLP asking for scores for a particular student's test. Well, worry no more! Scan the test manual's pages that detail the scoring info you need, and save it to your email. Later, when you need the score, just log in, and there it is! My school's copier has an option to scan and email the file to me, maybe yours does, too! (Image from this link.)


2. Finding the End of the Duct Tape

Duct tape is so fashionable these days. It's good for all sorts of crafty projects. But peeling the end to be able to get that first (or next) piece can be a bit irritating. Simply put a paperclip on the sticky side when you're done, and the next time, you can get started sooner! This would also work for the thinner washi tape, too. (Image/concept from this link.)






3. DIY bookmarks

I find myself using sticky notes or sticky flags for bookmarks in various places, only to have them lose their stickiness. I came across this idea and it is great! Make a duct-tape flag at the end of a paperclip and you've got yourself a bookmark. I often write student first names on bookmarks to mark where we left off on a book (such as a reading basal or other larger book). Even works well for materials books like the EET manual or to mark the page I'll need in that big ol' articulation book that I'm sure we all have. (Image/concept from this link.)

4. Phone Stand

I often use my phone to tape or record parts of evaluation sessions. I have a kickstand case on my phone, but in case you don't, you could use an old cassette case as a stand. Find one in your old stash of tapes, or from someone "old" (from the 80s, haha) who may have some old tape cases and would be willing to give you one. (Image/concept from this link.)

So what are your SLP life hacks? Link up here! Be sure to link to this blog and include the image from the top of this blog.

Thanks for checking out my blog! Be sure to follow this blog to stay in touch. Comment below with your favorite SLP life hack, and link up your own if you have a blog.

Keep it AFV!
Karen


Monday, August 11, 2014 Karen
Hi, dear readers! I have been absent from my blog for far too long. Last year was just a "go-go-go" kind of year, and to top it off, my husband's job relocated him this summer. SO... I've been a little preoccupied with moving, too.

I'm back for my first post of the school year (my district starts up again later this week) with something that I hope will be a great resource for you. I have seen many lists of life hacks to make everyday life simpler. I have brainstormed some that will be particularly useful for those of us who are SLPs! So, I'm throwing my very first linky party! This also serves as my belated bloggy birthday. I'm celebrating 2 years!












1. Test Scores at the Click of a Button
I think this one is the most useful, and therefore it should be first! We've all been there. You administer a test and take it home to score it and you've forgotten the manual! I have seen pleas on a variety of forums with one SLP asking for scores for a particular student's test. Well, worry no more! Scan the test manual's pages that detail the scoring info you need, and save it to your email. Later, when you need the score, just log in, and there it is! My school's copier has an option to scan and email the file to me, maybe yours does, too! (Image from this link.)


2. Finding the End of the Duct Tape

Duct tape is so fashionable these days. It's good for all sorts of crafty projects. But peeling the end to be able to get that first (or next) piece can be a bit irritating. Simply put a paperclip on the sticky side when you're done, and the next time, you can get started sooner! This would also work for the thinner washi tape, too. (Image/concept from this link.)






3. DIY bookmarks

I find myself using sticky notes or sticky flags for bookmarks in various places, only to have them lose their stickiness. I came across this idea and it is great! Make a duct-tape flag at the end of a paperclip and you've got yourself a bookmark. I often write student first names on bookmarks to mark where we left off on a book (such as a reading basal or other larger book). Even works well for materials books like the EET manual or to mark the page I'll need in that big ol' articulation book that I'm sure we all have. (Image/concept from this link.)

4. Phone Stand

I often use my phone to tape or record parts of evaluation sessions. I have a kickstand case on my phone, but in case you don't, you could use an old cassette case as a stand. Find one in your old stash of tapes, or from someone "old" (from the 80s, haha) who may have some old tape cases and would be willing to give you one. (Image/concept from this link.)

So what are your SLP life hacks? Link up here! Be sure to link to this blog and include the image from the top of this blog.

Thanks for checking out my blog! Be sure to follow this blog to stay in touch. Comment below with your favorite SLP life hack, and link up your own if you have a blog.

Keep it AFV!
Karen