App Review: Puzzingo

Puzzingo

Name Puzzingo
Creator 77SPARX Studio, Inc.
Marketplace Google Play & Amazon Appstore
Categories Preschool, Elementary, Vocabulary
Price Free w/ in-app purchases (for Google Play)
MB 33.5 (bigger w/ in-app purchasing
Operating System 2.2
SD Card Yes
My Rating 5/5

Puzzingo or “Kids Puzzle Game PUZZINGO for Toddler and Preschooler with Animals, Numbers, Letters, and More” is a puzzle based vocabulary game.  Puzzle pieces are inside boxes which can be shaken to open.   Each piece is a noun with a written label and is named when selected.  The pieces can be placed into shaded areas to complete a puzzle.

There are currently two versions of this app available for Android Devices.  The version on Google Play (3.81) has the option of in-app purchases of additional puzzles.  The current version in the Amazon Appstore (3.36) does not have in app purchases.  Both apps are free and ad-free.  Many people are reluctant to purchase apps where in-app purchases are available.  The in-app purchases in Puzzingo (Google Play version) require parent verification.  As I talked about in my Security and In-App Purchasing post, I recommend all SLPs set up a pin code for on device purchases.  This will prevent clients or thieves from purchasing unwanted apps as well as in-app purchases.  For more information on how to set up the pin code, click the link to the post above.  With a pin code you can be assured there will be no accidental purchases on this app.

I was given an “all access pass” to the Google Play version by the developer to review this app and I am very impressed.  I can see why this app is one of the most popular apps on the market.  This is the best play-based vocabulary game I have used.  The Amazon Appstore version currently has (free) puzzles for toys, numbers, jungle animals, ocean animals, farm, picnic, and alphabet.  In the Google Play version, you have free access to juggle animals, picnic, dune bug, steam train, farm, sand castle, and costume shop for free.  With in-app purchasing you can get puzzles in each of the categories and sub categories below:

Trains: commuter train, train yard, city train, country train, space train, clown train, train station

Princess & Fairies: fairy house, fairy tailor, fairy rock band, fairy flight school,  frog race, pirate princess, princess

Holidays: Lunar New Year, Santa’s stable, snowball fight, Santa’s workshop, Christmas tree, harvest, New Year,

Cars: mini van, chopper, indie car, stock car, 4×4 truck, clown car, bulldozer, super bike, sports car

Animals: Jungle Animals (another), forest animals, fresh water animals, safari animals, polar animals, grassland animals, Australian animals

Space: observatory, alien hair salon, space station, consolations, solar system, astronaut, space shuttle

Core Concepts: numbers, colors, counting, ocean animals, shapes, toys, alphabet.

There are 12 – 32 pieces (vocabulary words) in each puzzle.  Some of the puzzles have short games to play after they are completed (e.g., racing game with the cars).  The developer occasionally adds more puzzles, so this list may be incomplete in a few months.  I recommend this app to be used as a play-based game during speech language therapy as well as for home use with all preschool and elementary kids.  This app is great for a preschooler, yet still engaging and educational for older children.  My 7, 9, and 10 year old children all like this game.  I have even learned a few words from this game.  I will be giving away a free “all access pass” to the Google Play version of this app this summer, so check back here for more details later. You can view the developers video below.

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Amazon App of The Day: Timers4Me & Stopwatch Pro

Timers4Me & Stopwatch ProIf you have an Android device and you don’t have a timer/stopwatch, you should download Amazon Appstore’s  app of the day.  It is a highly customizable timer, stopwatch, and alarm.  The timer and alarm clock has a log which can be emailed. Multiple timers can be created and saved.  The stopwatch works well as a counter if you want to track something during therapy, but as far as I can figure out the data cannot be saved. This app can be downloaded or saved to “your apps” for free today (4/21/2013).  Click the app picture above or here to view the app. This timer appears to be much better than the one Amazon had for free in March and it has an alarm.

The Amazon Appstore can be downloaded on almost any Android Device.  Find out how to install it here.

Website Wednesday: The Communication Matrix (Evaluation for Those in Early Stages of Communication)

CommunicationMatrix

Last week, I ran across this website while reviewing an evaluation conducted at a university in my state.  If you are like me, you have treated some children with very severe language delays.  One of the hardest things with these students is figuring out what to use when testing them.  The Communication Matrix looks like a great solution to this problem if the client is in the early stages of communication, and best of all it is free.  You register and fill out a survey on the website and a free results page is created.  For the cost of a testing protocol ($6.00) a custom report can be created.

Check out their video here:

Their introduction YouTube video cuts out 17 seconds before their video on their website.  The rest of the video talks about how you can go back and repeat the survey multiple times to show progress, and that all the information is completely secure and can’t be identified.  They have a YouTube channel with 3 other short videos here.

I have only looked at a summary report  from this website, but this will definitely be my go-to place for testing kids in the early stages of communication.  The website again is: http://www.communicationmatrix.org/.  Please comment below if you have used this evaluation.

Website Wednesday: Quizlet

Quizlet

Quizlet is a flashcard website, that allows users to create and share sets of flashcards.  Unlike some of the other flashcard websites Quizlet allows use of images in their sets.  Users can form classes (groups) to share their sets.  I have created two classes, one for speech and another for language.  Both of these classes have over 40 cards; check them out by clicking the links in the previous sentence.

The flashcards in Quizlet can be accessed without signing in.  Registering and logging in allows you to create cards, favorites, and join classes.  If you log in information in some sections are saved, but can be easily cleared for the next client by clicking “Start Over”. After you are logged in you can join my “Speech Therapy For Use With Clients” class by clicking here and my “Language Therapy For Use With Clients” by clicking here.  If you create your own flashcards don’t forget to share.

There are currently 7 ways to study flashcards directly from the website. The flashcard mode just allows you to navigate through the cards just as you would real flashcards.  There is a new flashcard mode (below the flashcards), which is showing up on my Chrome browser but not on Internet Explorer.  This works very well during therapy because it allows you to mark (wrong) cards for further study by clicking the star on the top right corner of the card, making it easy to track data.  The new mode allows the card to be spoken if desired.  Both modes allow you to choose which side of the card you want to show first. I will contact Quizlet about its new mode and when they are planning on making it the default.

The “Speller” mode shows a picture if available, says the target word, then prompts you to type it.  If typed incorrectly it repeats.  The “Learn” mode shows or speaks one side of the flashcard and prompts you to type the other side.  Data is tracked and you can complete another round until all incorrect cards are correct.  This works great with language cards.  The “Test” mode provides a quiz with part fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, matching, and true/false.

There are two games also. Scatter is a timed game to match flashcard sides.  Space Race  prompts you to type one side of the card before the other side moves across the screen.

Much of this content can be accessed through the internet with a mobile device, but there are a lot of apps which allow offline use.  The best one I tried is Quizard which is available on Android, Amazon, Nook,  as well as iOS.  There is a free lite verison of Quizard on Google Play and Amazon.  Apple also has an official Quizlet app.  Windows phones and tablets can find apps here.

Quizard

Multiple flashcard websites can be accessed from Quizard.  To download Quizlet cards click Download Sets and Download From Quizlet. From here you can search for “subject”, “creator”, “my cards”, or “my groups”.  If you become a member of one of my classes, click my groups, log in and allow access. Then you can view your groups (classes) and select (download) the desired set.  Similarly you can view your favorites, or you can search for rwslp to find my stuff.

Explaining the details on how to use Quizard further would be quite lengthy.  If there is enough interest (comments)  in a tutorial, I can create a video.

With Quizlet you can now create and access hundreds of flashcards on your computer, smart phone, and tablet.

Security and In-App Purchasing

I work on a Native American reservation.  Last week one of the special education teachers I work with had her iPad stolen by a student.  Fortunately, she was able to find out which student took it.  She took the student home announcing “I am here for my iPad”.  She then got it back, but all her photos etc., had been removed.  I think she was fortunate that they didn’t purchase any apps using her account.   It probably helped that a lot of Navajo don’t have access to internet at home.

After seeing this story unfold first hand, I realized I need to beef up the security on my devices.  I added pin codes to all my devices to prevent a thief from purchasing apps on the device with my money.  Here is a link of how to add pin codes on Android, iOS, and Windows phones/tablets.   The pin code will be required for all app purchases after it is added.  If you have the Amazon Appstore on your device don’t forget to set up pin codes for it also.

Not only does using pin codes provide an extra layer of security if someone steals your device, it prevents accidental in-app purchases as well.  There are some great (freemium) apps that use in-app purchasing like  Puzzingo.  With pin codes, it is much safer to use these apps with children.

Lock screens also can add a layer of protection.  The Android lock screen even stumped the FBI, so it should make it hard for a thief also.

Lookout

There are some great security apps that can help find a lost device and lock it from use if stolen. I personally use Lookout Mobile Security.  It can help you locate a device by making the device scream, send you a picture of the person using the device,  and showing you where it is located on a map.   It can also lock your device remotely. I have heard  avast! Mobile Security is  another good security app.  Both of these apps are free.

Little improvements in My Evaluation Performance Graph (DxGraph) files and Caseload Data Tools

I recently noticed that there was a few formatting issues (e.g., bold cells) from my personal use in my some of my files.  A user also brought to my attention a problem with the Highlighted Evaluation Performance Graph file. The age calculation didn’t work in a previous version and the highlighted region wasn’t adjustable.  All of these problems have been fixed in my new version you can download below  (My Microsoft Office Files post, ge.tt and Google Drive have the updated files also).

Evaluation Performance Graph

Click here to download my evaluation performance graph (dxgraph)

Highlighted Evaluation Performance Graph

Click here to download my Highlighted Evaluation Performance Graph

Caseload Data Tools (with macros): find and download CaseloadDataTools.xlsm from ge.tt when you click the picture

Click here to download Caseload Data Tools from ge.tt

Amazon App of the Day: Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar

Catterpillar

Amazon’s free app of the day is Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar. This app works on counting, vocabulary, quantity, and addition within five levels.  Kids are asked to select the food items  that the very hungry caterpillar eats within the story, quantities are of the food items are also targeted (e.g., “Please eat two apples”).  I tested this app and  would recommend it to speech language pathologists and parents with preschool and early elementary kids working on labeling food and quantities.

The Amazon Appstore can be downloaded on almost any Android Device.  Find out how to install it here.

Amazon Appstore: Free Timer/Stopwatch Today and Discounts on Dr. Suess Books until March 11th

Click here to see StopWatch & Timer  ProClick here to look at The Foot Book.


The app of the day in the Amazon Appstore is StopWatch & Timer Pro.  Amazon is also running a even bigger sale on Dr. Suess books, including one of my personal favorites The FOOT Book.  I frequently use this book to work on /f/ and opposites in therapy.  The Dr. Suess sale will end March 11th.  They are also discounting lots of children’s apps today.  Check out all these deals here.

The Amazon Appstore can be downloaded on almost any Android Device.  Find out how to install it here.

Android Battery Saver Apps

     GreenPower Premium  JuiceDefender - Battery Saver
Name Easy Battery Saver GreenPower Juice Defender – Battery Saver
Marketplace Google Play Google Play; Amazon Appstore Google Play; Amazon Appstore (not with Fire)
Price Free Free/$2.90 Free (Paid Version not Tested)
MB 1.7 2.4 1.8
Operating System 2.0 or higher 2.1 or higher 2.1 or higher
SD Card Yes Yes Yes
My Rating 3/5 4/5 3/5

Is your android phone or tablet dying in the middle of a therapy session or do you have to keep it plugged in all the time?  I would recommend trying a battery saver app. With a good app and the right setting, I have nearly doubled my the battery life of my phone and tablet from a little over 1 day to 2 days.  There are a lot to choose from but a lot of apps that just display battery information show up while searching.  Some don’t work well; one  says it is a battery saver but appears to just collects your search data.  Battery Saver [2x Battery] says it’s a placebo and doesn’t boost battery life in it’s description, but has almost 5 stars with over 12,000 reviews.  Many of the reviews say it improves battery life!

There are some that actually do improve battery life by helping you control your data, wifi, display etc.  I used Easy Battery Saver for about a year. It worked well but the ads got very annoying. They got so bothersome I had to uninstall it. I tried a few others.  A major feature, I wanted was quick access to turn on/off my data of my 2.3 Android phone.  Easy Battery Saver data toggle worked well on my phone.  Juice Defender’s data toggle did not work on my phone.  Juice Defender worked ok on my Tablet, but I wasn’t impressed enough to try a paid version of it.  My battery life was a little better than without it, but not as much as I hoped.

Last month I switched to GreenPower Premium after trying the free version.  It has worked well on both my tablet and phone, but has taken some time to tweak to my desired settings.  The data/wifi toggle works well. After getting the setting adjusted, both my tablet and phone now can last about 2 days.  GreenPower also works on the Kindle Fire.  I have noticed a significant increase in data usage with GreenPower (in comparison to Easy Battery Saver).  I am guessing that this is because GreenPower is allowing my phone to check my emails with much greater frequency.    If you don’t mind paying for an app,  I recommend GreenPower Premium. If you want a free app try Easy Battery Saver, but you have been warned of the ads!

77+ SLP Blogs

Update:  Google Reader is closing down.  I will be looking for a new place to share these blogs.
I have found 77+ SLP blogs and put all of them into Google Reader.  Using Google Reader, you can keep updated with all of these blogs at once here. You may need to update this feed as I add more, so check back.
SLP Blogs
2 Gals Talk …about speech therapy-http://2galsspeechproducts.blogspot.com/Activity Tailor-http://www.activitytailor.com/blog/

all4mychild-http://all4mychild.com/

ASHAsphere-http://blog.asha.org/

SLC Therapy, P.C.-http://slctherapy.com/blog/

Blog | Erik X. Raj: Speech-Language Pathologist-http://www.erikxraj.com/

Carrie’s Speech Corner-http://carriesspeechcorner.blogspot.com/

Chapel Hill Snippets-http://chapelhillsnippets.blogspot.com/

Child Talk-http://www.talkingkids.org/

Cindy L. Meester’s Blog- Speech Therapy with a Twist-http://meesterc.wordpress.com/

Cochlear Implant Online-http://cochlearimplantonline.com/site/

Consonantly Speaking-http://consonantlyspeaking.com/

Cooking Up Good Speech!-http://speechsnacks.com/

Crazy Speech World-http://crazyspeechworld.blogspot.com/

Deaf Village-http://deafvillage.com/news/

Dysphagia Ramblings-http://apujo5.blogspot.com/

Early Intervention Speech Therapy-http://community.advanceweb.com/bloggroups/3/Home.aspx

Easy Speech and Language Ideas-http://easyspeakideas.blogspot.com/

Eric’s RSS Feed-http://feeds.feedburner.com/

Expressions Speech-http://www.expressionsspeech.com/apps/blog/

Frances Evesham SpeechContacts Human Communication Blog-http://speechcontacts.blogspot.com/

GeekSLP: Your source of educational apps and technology-http://www.geekslp.com/

Hanna B. gradstudentSLP-http://hbslp.wordpress.com/

HearMyHands ASL-http://hearmyhandsasl.blogspot.com/

Heather’s Speech Therapy-http://heatherspeechtherapy.com/

If Only I Had Super Powers….-http://ifonlyihadsuperpowers.blogspot.com/

In Spontaneous Speech-http://cjmonty.wordpress.com/

iSPeak App-http://ispeakapp.com/

Iteach2talk’s Blog-http://iteach2talk.wordpress.com/

Jill Kuzma’s SLP Social & Emotional Skill Sharing Site-http://jillkuzma.wordpress.com/

Language Fix-http://languagefix.wordpress.com/

Let’s Talk Speech and Language-http://www.letstalkspeechlanguage.com/

Let’s Talk Speech-Language Pathology-http://letstalkslp.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Lexical Linguist-http://lexicallinguist.wordpress.com/

listentalkdraw.com-http://listentalkdraw.com/

Little Stories | Early Speech & Language Development-http://thelittlestories.com/

Live Speak Love, LLC-http://livespeaklove.com/

MedSLP-http://medslp.podbean.com/

Mommy Speech Therapy-http://mommyspeechtherapy.com/

Ndnspeechmom-http://ndnspeechmom.com/

OliviaSLP-http://oliviaslp.com/

Pathologically Speaking-http://pathologicallyspeaking.blogspot.com/

Pearson Speech and Language-http://www.speechandlanguage.com/

PediaStaff Pediatric SLP, OT and PT Blog-http://www.pediastaff.com/blog/

Play On Words-http://playonwords.com/

Playing With Words 365-http://www.playingwithwords365.com/

PrAACtical AAC-http://praacticalaac.org/

Say What, Y’all?-http://saywhatyall.wordpress.com/

Smart Speech Therapy LLC-http://www.smartspeechtherapy.com/

Smart Talkers:Talking about childen’s communication from Small Talk SLT-http://www.smarttalkersblog.com/

Speech Gadget-http://www.speechgadget.com/

Speech in the Schools-http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/

Speech Lady Liz-http://speechladyliz.blogspot.com/

Speech Room News-http://speechroomnews.blogspot.com/

Speech Therapist – Talking Talk-http://talkingtalk.co.za/

Speech Therapists Don’t Get Apples!-http://rwslp.blogspot.com/

Speech Therapy Ideas & Speech Therapy Activities-http://www.speechtherapyideas.com/

Speech Time Fun-http://speechtimefun.blogspot.com/

speechie apps-http://speechieapps.com/

Speechie Freebies-http://speechiefreebies.blogspot.com/

SpeechTechie- Technology, Apps and Lessons for SLPs and Teachers who like Words-http://www.speechtechie.com/

Speechy Keen SLP-http://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog/

Sublime Speech-http://sublimespeech.blogspot.com/

Talk It Up-http://talkituptherapy.blogspot.com/

teachmetotalk.com-http://teachmetotalk.com/

Technology and Speech Therapy Corner-http://technologyandspeechtx.blogspot.com/

Testy yet trying-http://testyyettrying.blogspot.com/

The Learning Curve-http://slplearningcurve.blogspot.com/

The Spectronics Blog-http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/blog/

The Speech Guy-http://the-speechguy.com/

The Speech House-http://sherm04.blogspot.com/

The Speech Ladies-http://thespeechladies.blogspot.com/

Therapy and Learning Services, Incorporated – Blog: SpeechladyJen-http://www.therapyandlearningservices.com/

Therapy App 411: App reviews by SLPs, OTs, and other special education professionals-http://www.therapyapp411.com/

Therapy Ideas Blog by Rhiannan Walton-http://blog.therapyideas.org/

TheSpeechPathWay.com-http://www.thespeechpathway.com/

Thinking of a better blog name-http://myramblingsonstuff.wordpress.com/

TiPS: Technology in Practice for S-LPs-http://technologyinpracticeslp.wordpress.com/

Topics in Speech and Language-http://topicsinspeechandlanguage.blogspot.com/

Speechy Musings-http://speechymusings.wordpress.com/


Comment below if you want to get added to the list.