iPad App Review: Expedition with Pluralsby Ultimate Autism Guide, ultimateautismguide.com
June 2nd 2012
Learning to distinguish between the singular and plural forms of words can be challenging for children with autism. Expedition with Plurals is a new iPad app that may help children learn to use the plural forms of words. The app is designed to be used by speech pathologists, parents, and teachers to help children learn to use plurals correctly. The iPad app includes 5 different activities that reinforce the concepts taught. Expedition with Plurals emphasizes 72 words to help children distinguish between the singular and plural forms of words. It also includes examples of both regular and irregular plurals. If your child is struggling to learn the concept of singular and plural words then Expedition with Plurals may provide the solution!
Name of iPad App:
Expedition with Plurals by Virtual Speech Center, Inc.
Overview of Expedition with Plurals iPad App:
Expedition with Plurals teaches the concept of plurals using 5 different activities. These activities include:
- Auditory Bombardment: An activity focusing on the auditory and visual senses. A picture representing the singular form of the word and a picture representing the plural form of the word are displayed. The words are then read to reinforce the difference between the singular and the plural word forms. Interaction between the iPad app user and the iPad is minimal as the user only touches a button to advance to the next word pair. This design allows the speech pathologist or teacher to effectively explain the concept of plurals.
- Picture Identification: A pair of pictures similar to those found in Auditory Bombardment is presented on the screen. However, in Picture Identification the user is prompted to “show” either the singular or the plural form of the word by touching the correct picture.
Fill In: Fill In utilizes sentence structure to teach the concept of the singular versus the plural form of a word. The iPad app reads a sentence and then the user must select the correct form of the word (singular or plural) to complete the sentence.
- Make Up Sentences: This activity presents either the singular or plural form of a word and requires the user to make up their own sentence using the picture shown. This activity is enhanced by an audio recording button (although the audio recording is available in all the activities it is most appropriate for this activity). Make Up Sentences is designed more to be used with another person such as a speech pathologist, a teacher, or a parent as the user must select a yes or no button to record if the word was used correctly in a sentence.
Memory Game: A classic memory game requiring the user to match the singular version of a word with the plural word form.
Expedition with Plurals does a good job of teaching the concept of plurals. The 5 different activities included with the app help children learn plurals in different ways and may facilitate the learning process in children with unique learning styles. Each activity tends to utilize different difficulty levels as well. For younger kids Auditory Bombardment helps them become familiar with the singular and plural word forms. With each new activity Expedition with Plurals requires more input from the child. This ensures that the app does not quickly become obsolete once the child has mastered a single activity.
Expedition with Plurals also provides many words examples to help teach regular and irregular plural words. With over 72 different words in the app there are plenty of opportunities to help children learn the different ways to form the plural version of words.
Another great feature of Expedition with Plurals is the reports function. This option allows the iPad user to review the performance of the user in each activity. The reports feature lists the percentage of correct answers by activity. The reports can be sorted by activity or by date. This allows the progress of each user to be accurately tracked. These reports can also be emailed from within the app.
Expedition with Plurals also allows the creation of multiple user accounts. This feature is perfect for speech pathologists that have multiple clients. The reports function utilizes these accounts to provide reports for each unique user.
However, Expedition with Plurals does have some shortcomings. The iPad app design may not be easy for a young child to navigate. For example, the menu offers 4 choices: Start, Settings, Reports, and Info. When the Start button is selected the user must select from a list of previously created users. Once one or more users have been selected another button on that screen must be pressed to advance to another screen of options. This screen allows the user to select which words will be utilized and which activity/activities will be played. Once selected the user must then once again hit the “Next” button to advance to the game. All of these navigation choices required just to start an activity make Expedition with Plurals a poor choice if you are looking for an app that can be played independently by a young child. However, if you are a speech pathologist/teacher/parent looking for an app that you can use to interact with a young child then Expedition with Plurals is a great choice. The app could be improved by simplifying the navigation required to enter each activity (i.e. move the word selection option to the Settings screen).
Another shortcoming of the iPad app is the lack of a unique positive reinforcement when the correct choice is made. There are basically 2 sounds associated with the user’s choice. One corresponds to the correct answer and the other to the incorrect answer. This may be problematic for children with autism as the incorrect answer has an “equal” reinforcement as the correct answer. Although the sounds are different there is nothing else to distinguish between the right and wrong answer. This may make it difficult for the child to learn which answer is the correct answer. For example, if the child prefers the sound associated with the incorrect answer then this may actually reinforce the selection of the incorrect answer. Expedition with Plurals would be a better iPad app if there was not a sound associated with the incorrect answer and if the app did not advance until the correct answer was selected.
Another negative with Expedition with Plurals is the visual highlights used to emphasize the singular and plural forms of each word. The highlights are actually too simple. The audio is reinforced by the words corresponding to the singular or plural word forms being highlighted in a different color. This may make it hard for a young user or a user with autism to distinguish between which picture/word is actually being highlighted. Expedition with Plurals could be improved by enhancing the highlights used to emphasize the audio associated with each word form. This would eliminate the possibility of confusion between which form of the word is actually being emphasized.
The price point of Expedition with Plurals is another negative. At $9.99 the app is definitely one of the more expensive iPad apps in the education category. There are many excellent quality education apps that fall in a price range of $3 or less. However, there are also not a lot of options for iPad apps that focus on plurals. A competing app costs $5.99 and does not have as many activities associated with it.
Despite these negatives, Expedition with Plurals is definitely a good choice to help children learn the concept of plurals. This iPad app is a great tool for speech pathologists, teachers, and parents to help children learn singular and plural forms of words. The reporting feature associated with the app is a valuable tool that enables the progress of individual users to be tracked.
- User Alternate Count: 1-5
- Show Answer: On or Off
- Show Text: On or Off
- Automatic Paging: On or Off (when “On” the app advances to the next screen automatically when an answer is selected)
- Audio: On or Off
Words Included in Expedition with Plurals iPad App:
iPad App Designed to Help Children:
- Learn both regular and irregular plurals
- Develop expressive and receptive language
May Help Children with Autism:
- Develop expressive and receptive language
- Learn both regular and irregular plurals
- Improve generalization skills
- Learn to follow prompts/commands
- Learn sentence structure
*Note: Expedition with Plurals iPad app screenshots are copyrighted and are used with the permission of their owner.
*Disclaimer: The developer of Expedition with Plurals provided Ultimate Autism Guide with a free copy of the app to allow a more detailed review. This in no way biased the iPad app review provided above.
Additional Resources for Expedition with Plurals iPad App:
Original Page: http://pocket.co/sGAS6
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