Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Learning Fundamentals Articulation Apps

Learning Fundamentals LocuTour has been making speech and language software since 1994. They recently began to convert some of their software into iPhone / iPad apps and provided me with copies of some of their new apps to evaluate. They generously offered to sponsor a giveaway of one of their apps (up to a $59.99 value) to a reader. More on how to enter the giveaway at the end of this review.

(Yes, this is a really long review, but if you're actually interested in the app I hope you'll find the comprehensiveness of the review useful and besides, there's a giveaway at the end to reward you for your persistence.)

Artic Practice: An iPhone/iPad app from Learning Fundamentals

Artic Practice: App Tour

The Artic Practice app is a simple to use, yet full-featured app that puts a large set of words with word, phrase, and sentence level audio prompts at your fingertips. Let's take a look at what the screen looks like when you're actually doing therapy.



Each target word is presented as part of a scene. You can choose to have the word displayed in text below the picture or you may turn that off. Below the picture are several types of prompts. From left to right, you can click on "W" to hear a high quality audio sample prompt of the word. Click on "Snd" to hear the word broken into its individual phonemes. Click on "P" to hear the word in a phrase. Click on "S" to hear the word in a sentence. Click on "SQ" to hear the word in a question. Click on "SA" to hear the word in an answer to the question. These six audio prompts are available for every word included in the program.

Above the picture you see a microphone symbol and a speaker symbol. Click on the microphone and wait a moment for it to turn red. Then have the child say the word (or phrase, sentence, or question). Click on the microphone again to turn off the recording. The speaker icon will turn green and you can play back their production for them. You can redo the recording as many times as you like. This feature is simple, useful, and very motivating for the children.

Once the child has made the production you click on the icons at the very bottom to tally scoring data. You can do this multiple times so if you're having a child do sets of three, for example, you can tally their accuracy all three times before moving on to the next word.

In the options you can choose from two different data collection schemes. The first is spontaneous correct/incorrect and imitated correct/incorrect. The second is correct/distortion/incorrect. You simply touch the symbol to record the type of response the student produced.



The settings menu is simple. There is a great set of instructions. The phoneme tab allows you to go in and choose the specific phonemes you want to work on in the session. You can view the word lists. The options screen allows you to enter the child's name so that a name will be attaches to your results data. You can also choose whether to have the word appear in text below the picture. The options screens allows you to reset the scoring data so that you can switch to another student or to a new set of phonemes. This is also where you choose which scoring scheme you want to use.

The results page is pretty simple. It is a simple record of the number of response types you tallied and the phonemes you were working on. It does not calculate percentages for you. If you were working on multiple phonemes, it does not separate out the data for your different targets. I would love to see a more full featured results screen in a future update.

Artic Practice: Phonemes Included

The app includes the following target sounds in initial, medial, and final position unless otherwise indicated: /p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, th-, th+ (I,M), s, z, sh, zh(M), ch, J, l, r, m, n, ng(M, F), hw (I, M), H (I), y (I, M), l clusters, r clusters, z clusters, s clusters, and vocalic r/. You can choose to target any of the phonemes individually or in combination. This is an extremely comprehensive set of phonemes and a huge word list. Each word in each category is provided with audio samples for word level, phoneme level, phrase level, two sentences, and a question.

Artic Practice: General Impressions

I liked this app a lot. The pictures are well done and I like the fact that the picture is presented in a scene. It allows flexibility to use the word in a phrase or sentence. It also allows you to use this app creatively for language practice as well. I love the functionality of being able to make a recording of the child's production for playback and how quickly and seamlessly that works. Ava and Michael also enjoyed working with the app. As I first opened it and began exploring it, Ava wandered over and crawled into my lap to "play". She was more than happy to do the speech practice as long as she got to make a recording each time and listen to herself and I let her be the one to swipe her finger across the screen to move to the next picture.

I do have the same concerns about this set of stimuli that I do with other card sets and artic apps though. If you have a severely delayed child, this app will not work for you. Although it does target initial /p/, for example, the target words are often multisyllabic or include blends. If you work with children who need practice at the CV, VC, CVC level, this will not be the app for you. If you are working with more typical articulation clients though, this app is a wonderful resource. Perhaps in a future update they will allow you to filter by syllable length and filter out consonant blends and clusters. That would open this app up a lot for use with more severe speech delays.

Another drawback, is that the app is not set up to handle groups. You will pretty much need to work with a student individually or taking turns. Whenever you switch students you'll need to save and then reset your scoring data before starting with then next student. Perhaps in a future update, they'll figure out a way for you to enter multiple students and have the app take turns keeping separate scoring data sets.

One final area that I think could use improvement is their results and scoring. I would like to see the results screen calculate percentages. I would also love to have it sort out the scores for the different phonemes. For example, I might mix initial /p/ words(easy) with initial /s/ words(hard), and initial /f/ words(also hard) for Ava in order to improve generalization. I would be expecting her to get 100% of the initial /p/ words, and would really only be interested in the percentages for the other two phonemes - separately. This app only gives the tallies for all three phonemes grouped together which is not actually a useful number for me at all. I'd need to keep data using pen and paper. I also do not find "incorrect" to be a useful scoring category. I'd rather have correct, distortion, substitution, and omission as scoring options. The results screen would give me a percentage correct/incorrect with incorrect being the distortion, substitution, and omission categories all combined. Then, I'd like the percent breakdown of the types of errors within the incorrect category. Perhaps that could also be an improvement in a future update.

Artic Practice: Bottom Line

I think this app would be an amazing value if you are not working with severely speech delayed students, you're not too picky about scoring, and you don't need it to be a great tool in groups. The breadth of the target phonemes included, the audio prompts, the beautiful pictures, and the recording and playback make this a great value for anyone doing a lot articulation therapy with students with mild-moderate articulation errors. The portability of the iPhone/iPad format is an added bonus.

Articulation IV: An iPhone/iPad app from Learning Fundamentals

Articulation IV: Abbreviated App Tour

The Articulation IV app is very similar in format to the Artic Practice app so I'll just focus on the differences. Let's take a look at what the screen looks like when you're actually doing therapy.



The Articulation IV app is more advanced than the Artic Practice app and consequently has slightly different prompting levels. It has the word in isolation, broken into individual phonemes and in a phrase. It also has the word in a simple sentence, longer sentence, and complex sentence. See the above set of screenshots for one example.

Articulation IV: Phonemes Included

The app includes the following target sounds in initial, medial, and final position unless otherwise indicated: /l, l-clusters, pre-vocalic l, post-vocalic l, r (I, M), r-clusters (I, M), s, s-clusters, vocalic r (sorted by vowel), th+ (I, M), th-, th- clusters (I, F), z, and z-clusters (F)/. You can choose to target any of the phonemes individually or in combination. This is an extremely comprehensive set of more advanced phonemes and a huge word list. Each word in each category is provided with audio samples for word level, phoneme level, phrase level, and multiple sentences.

Articulation IV: Bottom Line

If you work with students who make errors with the phonemes targeted in this app, this is a great resource and perfectly set up to work very well on carryover and generalization skills. Just remember that it has the same basic scoring and results features as the Artic Practice app and the limitation of working with one student at a time.

Learning Fundamentals app Giveaway!!!

One week from today I will use a random number generator to choose a valid entry from the comments on this post. Learning Fundamentals will provide me with a promo code to redeem the app of that reader's choice at the Apple store. To enter, check out the apps available at the Learning Fundamentals website and choose your favorite. Come back to this post and leave the name of the Learning Fundamentals app you'd like to have and the setting in which you will be using it (at home with your own child, in private practice, in the schools, etc.) in a comment. That's it. I extend my thanks to Learning Fundamentals for sponsoring my very first giveaway here at Testy Yet Trying. I'll accept entries through midnight on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 and announce the winner on Thursday, June 21st.

Next week I'll be reviewing two of Learning Fundamentals Phonology apps and hosting a second giveaway.

23 comments:

  1. Cheryl KrivarchkaJune 13, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    I would love the Artic Practice app. I work as a SLP in the school setting.

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  2. I would love the Artic Practice app. I would use it with my daughter who has CAS. Thanks for the opportunity!!

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  3. I'd like the phonology app. I work in the schools. Thank you!

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  4. I would like the phonology app. I would use it with my son at home!

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  5. Hi I would love to have the artic practice app to use in the schools.

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  6. I would love the Artic Practice app. I work in the schools.

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  7. I would love to try the Phonology app with my son at home. Thanks so much for the great ideas!!!

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  8. I would love the artic practice app to work with my preschool kids at home.

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  9. I would love the Phonology app to use with my home health patients!

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  10. I'm looking for new APPs to use with my students next shool year, and the Articulation Practice App fits the bill. I love the contextual presentation!

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  11. I would like the phonology app to use with my students next year.

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  12. I would love the artic app to work with my son, who has CAS.

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  13. I would like the Artic Practice App to use at home with my daughter.

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  14. Wow it looks like many of us love the same app :) I liked the phonology app but the Artic practice app seems to be really amazing. I have an iPad and have used some sticker games in therapy as a great reinforcer. I have the /l/ application of Speech Bee and really like it but Arctic Practice App looks so complete with it's many features. I think it would be very helpful in my PreK-4 practice.

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  15. I would use the Artic Practice with my son at home.

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  16. I am working on minimal pairs right now with my son, so i would like to try that game. Any of the others would be great too, but the minimal pairs would be very timely!

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  17. I would love the arctic practice app to use at home with my 3 year old daughter who has apraxia.

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  18. Leslie DeDominicJune 19, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I would enjoy using the Artic Practice App in my elementary school therapy practice here in Montana where I use my IPad for therapy daily.

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  19. I would absolutely love to have the Artic Practice app to use with my students in therapy at school! Any new things I can find for therapy would be great! These apps look wonderful!

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  20. I would love to have all of the apps... Of course to use for my students within a school based setting! I am intrigued by the word practice app because it targets transition to phrases and sentences. I hope to win!!!

    -Kim
    Kimbenrush@yahoo.com

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  21. Hi! It is hard to pick, but if I won I would love to have the Phonology app for iPad. I am a school SLP. I have all of the original computer cd's for these but the computers are outdated and I need updated apps. I have loved these programs for years! I miss using them and am happy to see that they are updating for iPad now! Way to go! Thank you for the opportunity!

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  22. I really liked the Phonolgy and Show Me apps. I liked how show me integrates following directions. Phonology has the auditory discrimination aspect of the apps that I use all the time. I would use all of these apps throughout my practice. Thanks!

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