Smarty Ears

iTap by Smarty Ears {App Review & Giveaway}

By | SLP Apps
love using good apps in my speech sessions.  I travel between several schools, so being able to use the iPad helps reduce the amount of stuff I have to carry around.  The newest addition to my collection of apps is iTap by Smarty Ears Apps.  Today I want to share my thoughts on this app, and you can enter to win your own copy!

iTap Test of Articulation and Phonology allows SLPs to assess/screen articulation and phonology, record speech samples during the assessment, and generate reports to share with teachers and parents.

When you first open iTap, you will have the opportunity to watch a video tutorial.  You can also access the tutorial through the settings if you need it again later on. 

When adding students, the app allows for identification of any dialectical influences.  This is a great feature and also a great reminder for the SLP to be aware of possible dialectical differences that may have an impact on the student’s articulation.

As you progress through the assessment, pictures are presented to elicit target words.  Each target word addresses multiple phonemes.  The target phonemes are highlighted in green, which also indicates a correct production.  ***Note: Vowel errors are not addressed in this assessment, though you are able to make additional notes as you evaluate.

When the student produces an error, tap the target phoneme to record their response. A list of common phonological processes will pop up for you to select from.   ***Note: A great feature of the app is that you are able to flip the target image around so you can sit across from the student.  The documentation area will face you and the target word and picture will face the student.

By selecting “substitution,” you are then able to select which phoneme the student produced in place of the target phoneme.

For cluster reduction, you are also able to note which phoneme the student produced correctly.

The app also includes a quick screen of multisyllabic words. These words are scored as correct/incorrect rather than noting specific phoneme errors.

After the assessment is completed, the SLP is then able to provide an overall intelligibility rating at the word and phrase level.  ***Note, the app does not address phrases, but the SLP can include phrase level productions as needed.

One of my favorite features of iTap is the scoring and report information.  iTap does provide a standardized score for your students.  ***Note: You can read more about the standardization sample on the Smarty Ears Website.

The reporting feature provides a general overview of the student’s performance, with more specific information in the areas of position, manner, voicing, words, multisyllabic words, and types of errors.

The word analysis allows you to see each of the target words and the errors noted on each word.

For multisyllabic words, an overall accuracy percentage is provided based on the number of syllables in each target word.

My favorite feature is the pie chart summarizing the error results.  I am a visual person and I love the visual representation of the results.  I can also use my snip it tool to cut and paste this into my IEP program to display in a student’s report.

All of the results are then formatted into a well written report.  This report can be saved to your computer, emailed, or printed.

Overall Impressions
My favorite features of this app include:
-Easy to navigate
-Can be completed in a short period of time
-Great for quick screens or progress monitoring
-Being able to flip the screen for use during assessments
-Clear layout of results
-No bulky flip books or protocols to carry around
-Scoring is done automatically 
My Suggestions for Future Updates
-More words added to the multisyllabic word portion
-Wider standardization sample completed for scoring
Overall, I love this app.  I have already used it a ton in the few months I’ve had it.  I have used to it to screen students, progress monitor, and as a part of a full evaluation.  Even though I did not use it as my only source of data for the evaluation (I also used the Goldman Fristoe, speech samples, and observations), iTap fit well into my assessment routine and generated some excellent information for my evaluation.  
iTap is a great assessment tool for busy SLPs, and especially for those of us who travel and don’t want to carry around bulky test kits.  It is great for collecting data during evaluations, screenings, and for progress monitoring.  
Now for the best part!  Smarty Ears has provided me with TWO FREE COPIES of iTap to give away.  This app sells for $74.99 in the App Store, so this is a great opportunity!  Enter in the Rafflecopter below.  Winners will be selected on Tuesday, June 21. Good luck!

***Disclaimer: This review represents my personal opinions.  Smarty Ears provided me with a copy of the app, but no other compensation was received.

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Go Sequencing App Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

By | SLP Apps

I just LOVE Smarty Ears Apps.  I have several of them and use them ALL.OF.THE.TIME.  One of my favorites is Go Sequencing.  I use this app daily and just absolutely love it.  I love it so much that I decided to write a review so everyone can see how great it is.  I also have 2 FREE copies to give away at the end of this post.  Yay for fun giveaways!

Go Sequencing is a great app for working on sequencing and retelling stories.  I use it with students who have sequencing goals, but I also use it with students who have goals for generating complete sentences, recalling information from stories, and retelling.  I love the visuals and ease of use, and my students love the graphics and being able to see their own progress.

When you first enter the app, you are prompted to enter or select players.  You can use this app with one or multiple players.  When using it in a group, each student works on their own level. The app automatically starts each player at level one, but you are able to modify this before beginning play. Just click the “Modify” button and select which level you would like your student to be on.  Each level targets different skills, from answering “What happened first/last?” to sequencing 6 steps with text+audio (no pictures). You can even build your own custom sequences!

Each turn begins by presenting the sequence to the student.  The cards are shown one at a time as the story is told along with each card.

Then the child has their opportunity to respond.  Responses vary depending on what level the child is on.  On Level 1, children will answer questions about what happened first/last in the sequence (pictures are provided).  In higher levels, the child will put the pictures in the correct order.  Some levels provide pictures for sequencing and some only provide text depending on the level of difficulty.  The app automatically keeps track of the child’s progress, which you can review in the reporting center (see below).

As the child progresses through each level, rewards are earned.  There are rewards for earning stars and completing different levels.  You can track the child’s rewards in the Reward Center.

At the end of each level,  a screen will pop up showing how the child performed on that level.  You can have the child remain on the current level for additional practice, or proceed on to the next level.

In the reporting center, you are able to view each child’s progress, print completion certificates, and access the reward center.  Information from the reporting center can also be shared by email or uploaded to the Therapy Report Center App (free download).

What I love about Go Sequencing is how easy it is to set up and get started.  I also love that it tracks progress automatically so I don’t have to keep data on a separate sheet of paper.  Results are automatically added to the report center after each level is completed.

My students ask to “play” this app all the time (they just think they’re playing, but they’re actually working on goals).  They love it so much!

I highly recommend this app!  It’s definitely one of my favorite purchases!  You can get more info on Go Sequencing on the Smarty Ears website and you can purchase it in the app store.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!  I am giving away 2 FREE copies of Go Sequencing.  This is a $22 app, and you have the chance to win it for FREE!

There are two ways to win: One winner will be selected from those who enter in the Rafflecopter below.  The other winner will be selected from those who enter on Instagram.

To enter on Instagram (one entry per person):
1. Follow me (@TalkinWithTwang)
2. Like my post
3. Tag a friend in the comments

To enter here use the Rafflecopter below.  Winners will be selected on Sunday.  Good luck!

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Prep Positions {App Review & Giveaway}

By | SLP Apps

How much do you love Smarty Ears apps?  They are just absolutely fantastic (and no, I was not paid to say that).  I am thrilled to bring you a review of another one of their great apps: Prep Positions, and I have a FREE copy of the app to give away…
to one lucky reader!

I always have students with prepositions goals and am looking for new ways to get the practice in.  The PrepPositions App is a great practice tool that makes the “work” more fun, which my students love.  This app also has a cute circus theme that is appropriate for older students as well as younger students (if the background is too “busy” for you, it can be changed in the settings).

Adding Students
Adding students is very easy.  You just click on “Add New” and enter the student’s name.  They also get to choose a fun avatar (or you can take their picture).  My students LOVE the avatar choices.

Getting Started
To begin practicing, select the student (or students) and click on “play.” The app will prompt you to select or adjust the level each student is working on. You can modify the students level by clicking on “Modify” under their picture.  This will bring up a menu where you can adjust their level or select which prepositions you would like them to work on at each level (you must choose at least 2 preposition targets on each level).

 You can also bring up a menu where you can select which target items you want to include in the practice session.

When you’re finished, hit the check mark and start practicing.

Practice Time
A picture will be shown with a sentence in which the preposition is missing.  The student is provided with 3 choices of preposition to fill in the sentence.  The student will drag the preposition into the blank in the sentence.  If they are correct, they will hear a musical sound and the next item will appear.  If they are incorrect, the word they chose will move back to bottom and they can choose again.

 A feature I love about this app is that there is an option for the child to record themselves saying the sentence after each trial. This feature can be turned on/off in the settings.  If turned on, after the child selects the correct preposition, they will be prompted to say the sentence themselves.  You can record them saying the sentence so they can play back and hear themselves.   

The app will keep track of how many correct responses the child has.  If the answer was correct on the first try, a star at the top of the screen will fill in.  If you are playing with more than one student, it will automatically switch back and forth between them, keeping track of each student’s progress as they go.

 The settings can also be accessed during play by clicking on the settings icon in the top left corner.  A menu will pop up on the left side of the screen allowing you to adjust settings without having to go all the way back to the home screen. 

When a student has completed a level, a screen will pop up asking if you want them to do additional practice at this level, or move on to the next.

As the students play, they earn balls for correct responses.  After they earn 5 balls, they have the opportunity to play a game.  The game is simple, yet fun.  The students shoot a ball out of a cannon and see how far they can get it to go. It’s very basic, but I found myself engaged in it, trying to beat my high score.  Pretty fun!

Report Cards
A report card can be accessed for each student from the home screen.  The report card can be created to show how the student has progressed on each level, during a particular session, or on each preposition.  The progress can be shared by email, printing, or you can send it to the Smarty Ears Reporting Center, if you have that app.

PrepPositions is a wonderful app for practicing a variety of different prepositions.  The pictures are crisp and the app is fun.  This will be a great app for students who need extra practice using prepositions in sentences.  I can also see this being used as a screener when I need to see if a student struggles with any particular preposition.  Being able to select which prepositions you want each student to work on is a huge plus.  However, I would not use this app with young students working on very basic use of prepositions.  They don’t need to be readers to use the app, but I you’ll want to make sure they can understand what each sentence/picture is trying to show.  I think it would be best for grades 2 and up.  I even think you could use with junior high age students because it doesn’t seem too “childish.” 

Overall, this is a great app.  I know I will use it a lot.  Smarty Ears Apps has done it again!  Great work!  You can find PrepPositions in the App Store for $19.99.  You can also enter below to win a FREE copy of the app (thank you Smarty Ears for the giveaway code).

***Note: I was not paid to write this review.  These are my personal opinions based on my use of the PrepPositions app.  Smarty Ears did provide me with a copy of the app so I could review it, but no other compensation was provided. 

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Smarty Spell {App Review}

By | SLP Apps

I have an app review for you today!  This review is for Smarty Spell, a new app by Smarty Ears.  I haven’t had the opportunity to use any of the Smarty Ears apps, but I hear they are fabulous, so I jumped at the opportunity to try out this new one.  Since I’m not working on spelling with any of my speech students, I am using my past experience as a teacher to help me write this review.

Smarty Spell is designed to help young spellers practice their spelling skills in a fun, interactive way.  It is so much more fun than just paper and pencil practice, and not near as messy as writing spelling words in sand or shaving cream.  All you need is the app loaded on your iPad and you are ready to go!

When you first open the app, you will see a screen where you can access the report cards for students, start practicing, or access the settings. 

One thing I like about this app is that you are able to access the settings at any time, without being required to return the homepage.  That is very helpful. In the settings you can adjust things like how many extra letters may be added to the bank of letters, whether or not the app will read the words, font size, and you can also turn off the picture cue that shows up with the word.

Time to select your players.  Adding players is very simple and only requires the student’s name.  You can also add a picture of each student, or let them select one of the fun avatars.  I think kids will really like the variety of avatars to choose from.

Once you have selected your student, you will then need to select which spelling list they will work on.  There are premade lists for grades kinder through 6th and also themed lists (animals, fruit, clothing, etc.). 

You can also create your own custom list fairly easily, but it is time consuming to do this.  To create a custom list you will need to have pictures of each word to upload from your device.  I found the premade lists much quicker to use, but I wasn’t sure how the words were selected for each list.  They were pretty random, as opposed to being sorted by spelling pattern.  When I taught, most of my spelling lists focused on a particular spelling pattern, and having those types of lists in this app would be so helpful.

After the student and spelling lists are selected, it’s time to start practicing.  A picture is shown, with the letters for the word scrambled underneath. 

A very computerized voice says, “Spell the word ______,” and the student then moves the letters into the correct order to spell the word.  If they spell it correctly, a positive message is (slowly) sketched onto the screen and they proceed to the next word. 

If they misspell the word, the computerized voice repeats the instructions to spell the word and provides them with the first letter.  This process is repeated until the word is spelled correctly. Each session is 10 words long, with stars at the top of the screen showing how many words have been completed and how many are left to go.  

After completing the session, progress is stored in the report card section of the app.  Progress is tracked for each student on a graph showing how many words they spelled correctly and what their percentage was. 

This information can be shared via email, air printing, or uploaded into the Therapy Report Center App (if you have that app).  The Therapy Report Center App allows data from all Smarty Ears Apps to be organized into one place.  That sounds super handy, but I don’t currently have any other Smarty Ears apps.

One thing I noticed in this app is that there are two different voices used.  The voice instructing students to spell the word is much more computerized, while the voice that actually spells the word out is more natural sounding.  I would prefer if the more natural sounding voice could be used throughout the entire app. 

I think students will really like this app.  It would be great to use during centers, especially if you could create a custom list with that week’s spelling words. I also think this would be fun to use as an early finisher activity.  I can see some of the higher level students having fun seeing how many words they can spell correctly at each grade level.  This app could also be used during tutoring or small groups for remediation. 

In summary, here are the features I like about this app:
*Easy to use.  Students will not have any trouble navigating the app by themselves.
*Variety of word lists sorted by grade level and theme.
*Records data on its own as the child progresses through each list.
*Nice graphics.
*Fun avatars for students to select to add a personal touch to their profile.
*Report cards are easy to print/share 
*Good options for increasing/decreasing difficulty level for students

Here are the improvements I would love to see:
*One, natural sounding voice used throughout the app, instead of the computerized voice.
*Premade word lists targeting specific spelling patterns.
*Speed up the positive reinforcement page after each word.  Instead of slowly, drawing it across the screen, maybe it could just flash up or allow the student to select a star or sticker or something.
*No picture requirement for creating a custom word list. It would be nice to to be able to add words without requiring a picture.  

Overall, this is a fantastic app.  I think teachers will find it very helpful to use in the classroom, and students will enjoy being able to practice their spelling on an iPad. Smarty Spell can be used in a variety of ways, from remediation and daily practice to spelling challenges for higher level students.  I appreciate the thought that Smarty Ears has put into the creation of the app, and I look forward to seeing the features that may be added in the future.  I give this app two thumbs up and will definitely recommend it to my teacher friends.

Smarty Spell can be downloaded in the app store for $3.99.

***This review is my personal opinion.  I was not paid to write this review.  I was provided with a free copy of the app so I could write this review.