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.

Website Wednesday: Minimal Pairs from John Higgins

This week’s website is not online activities for therapy but a resource I discovered several years ago.  John Higgins organized complete lists of minimal pair for English consonants and vowels. This is a very handy resource for speech therapy.   Two warnings before the link; the lists includes swear words, and it may be blocked by schools’ web filters.   Check out this amazing resource here (http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/wordscape/wordlist/).  This website also has lists of homophones and homographs.

Website Wednesday: Cando’s Helper Page!

Cando

Cando’s Helper Page (http://www.candohelperpage.com/index.html) is a website created by Ray Beaudoin.  It has been around since 2001.  It has a lot of games and worksheets that can be used for language and articulation therapy.  The games are what I would call “old school”.  They are not as fancy as stuff from Funbrain, but my students still seem to enjoy them.  I have frequently used the Practice Activity #3  in Final Consonant Blends and both of the Mixed Bossy R Practice #5 and #6 in R-Controlled Vowels to provide a break from normal articulation therapy.

All of the games use Flash Player, so they will work on Android tablets that have it installed.  Flash Player can be found in Google Play here and enabled on Kindle Fires by following the directions here.

Check out the two new pages I created at the top of my blog: SLP Android Apps and My Free Microsoft Office Files.

SLP Android Apps

Google Play

I am in the process of improving my list of Android SLP apps to include apps from Google Play, Amazon, and Nook.  I recommend using the Amazon Appstore when possible, because these apps can be shared with more devices than a Google Play account and it allows all the apps to work on Amazon devices if one is purchased.  While I work on putting together the detailed list like the one I made for SLP Android Apps in the Amazon Appstore, I have posted the names of 225+ speech therapy apps I have found in Google Play on my new page SLP Android Apps.

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.

App Review: Shake-a-Phrase

Shake-a-Phrase

Name Shake-a-Phrase
Creator Artgig Studio
Marketplace Google Play & Amazon Appstore
Category Story Starters, Parts of Speech, Vocabulary
Price $1.99
MB 7.1
Operating System 2.1
SD Card No
My Rating 4/5

Shake-a-Phrase is a fun app for students to get story starters, identify parts of speech, and learn new vocabulary.  There are three parts to the app Shake It!, Story Starter, and Quiz Me!.   Shake It! is a random sentence generator with definitions provided.  There are five themes: animals, fairytale, monsters, sports, and shake starter.  The shake starter (story starter) provides ideas of how to begin a narrative.  Favorites can be saved to a list.  Options in the quiz area let you select from 1 to 5 parts of speech you want to practice: nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions.  Students are asked to find these parts in sentences.  Correct answers are rewarded, but incorrect answers are not tracked.

I recommend this app for classroom and home use for students functioning in the upper elementary to middle school range.  This app would also be good to fill in the last few minutes of the therapy.  I was given this app to review it, but I am receiving nothing for my review.

Website Wednesday: Quia

Quia There are a ton of speech therapy materials at www.quia.com/web.  The trick with this website is finding what you want when you want it. The resource I found for SLPs is Pamela Bordas’ Homepage (http://www.quia.com/pages/pbordashome.html).  There are a lot of language and articulation activities available. I particularly like to use the challenge board games for therapy with two students. You can also search for shared activities here (http://www.quia.com/shared/).  With flash player many of these activities work on Android devices.

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.