Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Auditory Memory Ride App Review

I don't know how many other SLPs have a large number of students on their caseloads with auditory memory goals, but I have a fairly high number myself.  Thankfully, the folks at Virtual Speech Center have created an app to help meet these goals using the motivating iPad!  A copy of the app was provided for free, but the views are entirely my own.  Come along on this "ride" as I share what this app can do!
The app starts with the following screen:
It is easy to get started-  simply click start and add in a student.

Click next to select the goal/skill to work on:
Skills to work on include recall of numbers, recognizing words and sentences, recalling words and sentences, recognizing details, recalling details, and answering questions (yes/no, multiple choice, and open-ended) about paragraphs.  Each skill has several levels so students can start with a simple, easier practice and build in complexity.  In addition, the SLP has the ability to make tasks simpler or more difficult by adjusting the settings.  Stimulus can be presented with background noise or without, as well as with no delay between stimulus presentation or up to a 15 second delay (love this feature).  In addition, you can select whether or not there is a sound when questions are answered correctly or incorrectly, as well as when a game is earned and how long the game lasts (love this feature, too!)

I had a student work on recognizing 3-4 word sentences.  The sentence to recognize was
"The cat is sleeping".  Here is a screen shot of her attempt:

A correct answer earns a plane which in turn leads to game play opportunities.  After twenty attempts, a report can be generated and you can email it to yourself with the date, skill worked on, and any notes you took during the activity:
After using this app with several students, and playing with it myself, here is what I really like about the app:
  • It is easy to use and takes just a few minutes playing around with its features to start using it in therapy.
  • The memory skills include recall and recognition.  In addition, there are levels and various types of activities within each goal/skill to be learned so that you can start simpler and increase complexity.  This helps the app also be more than a play once and be done app.  Because so many skills are important to auditory memory, this app is great to use multiple times with the same child.
  • Obviously this app is great for working with students with CAPD, memory difficulties, and receptive language disorders, but it is also great for my grammar students.  I show them how noun-verb agreement and plurality is important because they can see a visual of how "the mittens are red"  is different then a foil picture of one red mitten that is seen in the possible choices.  It also helped one of my hearing impaired children really focus on that /s/ plurality marker because if she is not 100% attending, she would click on the one mitten instead of the picture of mittens.
  • The game that is a reinforcer is fun.  Students get to drive a plane and collect coins without crashing in to rocks, or witches, or other objects in their path.  I really appreciate being able to set the length of time of the reinforce, as well as when they get it (after a pre-determined number of attempts from me first).
  • I love the feature of presenting the stimulus with and without background noise, as well as the length of time between the stimulus being presented and when they answer (makes this much more standardized than me counting out loud or in my head before asking them to respond) .  I am able to teach them the skills needed for improved auditory memory and recall in optimal conditions (no background noise and no time delay), as well as provide practice in more real time conditions such as the time delay between when you raise your hand to respond to a question in a classroom and when the teacher actually calls on you and listening with background noise (different types available) like you would find in a classroom.
  • Multiplayers can be entered and the skill they need can be easily selected.  It also alternates after one turn so the other person(s) do not have to wait long for a turn.
Here  were a few things I think would help to improve this app:
  • A task for auditory reasoning would be a nice addition.  Having the students take the information they hear and make inferences or use multiple auditory details to complete a reasoning task would help some of my higher-level students.
  • The same game could get redundant after several times playing it for my older students, so different tasks using the plane would increase motivation to get to the game.
Overall, Auditory Memory Ride is a great tool I will use on a regular basis because it is flexible (I can easily control what it does for each specific child), entertaining, and hierarchical in its skill building.  It is a fun "ride" for students to take as they work to improve receptive language and auditory memory.   Read more about it from the developer here (includes a video of the app), and it is available in iTunes for 19.99.

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