I have been using speech therapy apps since the beginning of time (seriously, I used the first speech therapy app ever made! ha ha ha). When a new app is released in our field, I am usually the first to buy it! I recently stumbled on the new app What's the Pic Artic by Home Speech Home.
Let me say 2 things to start this review off...
1. It's different
2. It's highly engaging
This is an articulation app that covers every sound (it separates voiced/voiceless th, sblends, and even has a page for zh). It also sorts the sounds by initial, medial, and final positions. It is not a flashcard app (it does have pictures for each word on the side of the screen). It has over 1800 different pictures!
What makes it unique is that it uses voice recognition to motivate the students to say their speech therapy sounds in words (or in SLP lingo...target phonemes). I couldn't wait to try it out.
The students look at a screen with a hidden image (behind fun pictures that change each session). Each time they say their sound, the voice recognition (through the iPad's microphone) lights up a star. Each turn has a different amount of stars to light up (variability in practice!!). When all of the starts are lit up for that turn, a piece of the picture is revealed. The session ends when the image is completely visible and the student gets to guess what it is. My kindergartner student said "it's magic" when she watched her voice light up the stars and reveal the picture.
Check out Home's Speech Home's video of the app below.
When you first download the app, there are some housekeeping things you have to do (not a big deal at all). You have to authorize the app to use your microphone (SAY YES OR THE APP WON'T WORK!). After that you have to load your students (its quick, it only asks for a name and picture/avatar). The last thing you have to do is choose the students' sounds (phonemes) and download the images (there is a big blue button for this) see the image below.
I tested it out with 2 articulation groups.
Kindergarten/1st grade: These students were so excited about this app! It took a few times to get the other two students to stop giggling while their friend took their turn (their giggling sometimes triggered the voice recognition). I had to tell them that the "magic" wouldn't work unless they were quiet!
2nd grade group: These students figured it out immediately and were competing with each other on getting stars and guessing the picture. After each piece was revealed they all took a guess (they asked me to write their guesses down for them). At the end, we had a lot of guesses and they had a lot of practice! The app was perfect for this age group.
What I like:
The price! It is a very affordable app.
Huge variety of sounds in multiple positions of words.
The crisp images and text for each word.
The number of trials varies for each turn. This is really motivating for my students. One turn they may have to say the word 4 times and the next just 2! (I had a student crossing their fingers for 1!)
The motivating scenes (some of my students seriously would say their sounds forever to uncover the pictures).
The language opportunities the hidden pictures created. The students loved trying to guess what the picture was each time a piece was revealed. I also had them describe the picture once the image was finished. This was great for carry over skills.
Group sessions (up to 6 students, but I hope I never have an artic group that big!).
Data tracking (you can email the results to yourself!)
The visuals in the app (the data tracking goes around the students' image, which can provide a good "timer" for when they can finish). The stars lighting up when the student vocalizes is also a great touch (immediate feedback for the student).
What I wish:
The data tracking reports incorrect vs. correct productions (for example: 12/40) but I wish it calculated the percentage automatically (call me lazy!)
The images didn't have to be downloaded initially (call me lazy again!).
The data tracking in most apps are distracting to my students, I wish the red and green circles were smaller and above the students' images.
Overall I think this app is pretty cool! It is definitely unlike anything else on my iPad. Apps like this one are handy to have around on those busy weeks where you don't have a lot of time to prep for articulation therapy.
Click on the image below to see it in iTunes (affiliate)
Luke from Home Speech Home gave me two copies of this app to giveaway to my readers. Enter in the Rafflecopter below! Contest ends 9/22 at midnight!
Also check out Word Vault, another super handy app by Home Speech Home (affiliate link).
Disclaimer: I bought my own copy of this app to use in therapy. Home Speech Home provided copies of the codes to use in the giveaway!