(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 TourThe 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 IncludedThe 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 ImpressionsI 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 LineI 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 TourThe 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 IncludedThe 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 LineIf 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.