Pictures and photographs have been speech pathologists standard therapy materials for years. Then along came animated programs on computers. Now we have a new generation of options thanks to the tablet market. But what makes the tablet different from the above options? Interactivity. Interactivity is what allows tablets to offer unique learning opportunities. I have found three excellent apps that are interactive and offer opportunities to engage the student in conversation.
Pettson’s Inventions Lite and Pettson’s Inventions 2 Lite: These apps were developed in Sweden by Filimundus. These are two of my favorite apps. These clever apps require that the user put together inventions made by Mr. Pettson. The parts, on the left, need to be placed in the correct positions on the unfinished invention to the right. If the part is placed correctly, it sticks. If not, it moves back to the parts on the left. After the invention is correctly completed, the user moves the lever and watches it work in Rube Goldberg-like fashion. Each invention is different and more complex than the previous one. The apps are excellent vehicles for working on reasoning and visual spatial skills. These apps can be used to work on vocabulary, answering “wh” questions, explanations, descriptions, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, and conversation.
Developer website: www.filimundus.com
Cost: The lite versions are free. The full versions cost $1.99. The apps are available for iPad/Phone and android.
Poke Me!: This was one of the first apps I downloaded and it is still a favorite, beating out many of the newer and more expensive apps. The main character is a friendly monster that walks, eats, visits a planet and travels underwater. The monster starts walking when the screen is swiped either right or left. He stops when the screen is tapped. Wherever he may be, he likes to eat. He will eat whatever object is placed in his mouth be it a ball, apple, sea creature or space object. He travels to the planet when the rocket, waiting in the background, is tapped. He travels underwater when the submarine is tapped. The monster reacts amusingly to being tickled or tapped on different parts of his body. This app can be used to talk about what the monster is doing and where he is going.
Developer website: www.pencilbot.com
iTikes I Discover Microscope: This is my third favorite app. What I like the most about the app are the 3D images of insects. They are outstanding! These images alone would be enough to engage a student in conversation. One views the images from different angles by moving ones finger around the screen. The app offers interesting information about the insects in animated cartoon images as well. The app does the same for sheep, rice and tea but without the 3D imagery. This app can be used when working on information recall, vocabulary, answering “wh” questions, descriptions, adjectives and just talking about the images. The drawbacks to the app (causing me to rate this app lower than I might have otherwise) are that one cannot select the images one wishes to see and my app offered only three 3D insect images. The developer sells a microscope one can purchase to use with the app. Perhaps buying the microscope allows one to access more images.
Developer website: www.itikes.com
Cost: Free. Available for iPad/Phone and andoid
Logo-Art Oops: This app is not interactive or animated but I am reviewing it here because it is the last of the conversational apps I will be reviewing for now. This app by Logo-Art offers black and white line drawings that can be used when working on explanations and a “what happened” theme. The pictures are presented in pairs. The first picture presents a situation. The situation is different in the second picture. The student needs to tell what happened.
Developer website: www.logo-art.eu
Cost: Free for three picture pairs and 3 student database; $3.99 for 108 images but no database; $5.99 for 108 images and database for any number of students.