App Review: Seasonal Directions by Virtual Speech Center

Hey everyone! I am featuring an app that I have used over the course of the month of January with my students. I wanted to give it a try and write about my experience using it.

Virtual Speech Center reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new app. Whenever I agree to review an app I explain that I take some time to try the app out with my students, and I only write a review showcasing my honest opinion. 

A beautiful seasonal picture is depicted on the main page along with a variety of areas - more apps, reports, settings, info, and START.

The settings area is where you can customize the app (to a degree) to fit the needs of your students. Here is where you can change the sound played to depict correct or incorrect choices, the length of the game, whether to enable the reward (a winter-themed game), and whether or not the app produces background noise while supplying the directions.

The reports area showcases student performance. You can select the student and sort the reports by activity or by date of session. You also have the option to print or email individual reports. Note: This is also the area where you can delete or rename students. It took me forever to learn how to delete a student.

I really like that the therapist can add students to create individual profiles and can instruct each student work on specific directions. Maybe one student is working on one-step directions containing pronouns while another student is working on following two-step directions. You can customize your sessions according to their abilities and current needs.

Example 1 from fall directions: "Show me, she is riding."

1. The app offers one-step, two-step, and three-step directions
2. The app offers a choice of which seasons to feature during a session
3. The therapist can select as many students as desired to play
4. The app rewards students with a timed game
5. The therapist can view reports of individual student to determine progress. The reports section also houses older reports which is nice when comparing data.
6. The app offers an option to record student sentences. This is nice if working on producing appropriate grammar/using appropriate syntax while communicating.

Example 2 from spring directions: "Fertilize the flower and put the pear in the basket."

1. I do not like that the app does not offer a choice of showing the directions on the screen at the top. I understand why the directions are not automatically shown (in the case that students can read), but it would be a nice feature to be able to turn on or off the directions depending on the student/session. Sometimes, as a therapist, I want to be able to read the direction the student, and it would also be nice to see if the student is selecting the correct choice without having to listen to the entire direction myself (which can be a hassle when working with groups of students).
2. There is only one reward game, and it is automatically a winter-themed game. All the student needs to do is throw snowballs at the snowman. This gets really boring after one or two plays. My students definitely wanted more variety.
3. My students and I did not like how, during the two-step and three-step directions portion, the student would have to hold an item in the correct place for 3-5 seconds before it counts as "correct". The students got really impatient and frustrated because as soon as they let go of the item, they had to re-do the task if they let go too soon.

Example 3 from winter directions: "Put the magnifying glass over the skis, color the winter hat, and turn the heater on."

Note: I would advise the therapist to discuss all seasonal vocabulary depicted on the screen prior to having the student follow the directions as some of them feature some bigger words (e.g. fertilizer, magnifying glass, where is the heater? etc.).

Overall, I think this is a great app to work on labeling seasonal vocabulary (especially during the one-step directions portion). I wouldn't advise using this app as the only means of activity during the session as students will get annoyed by the repeated winter-themed game. For younger students expect some frustration with the delay in identifying correct vs. incorrect actions during the two-step and three-step directions sections.

Have any of you used this app in therapy with any of your students? What are your thoughts?

This app can be found at the iTunes store and is compatible with the iPad. It requires iOS 7.0 or later. This is currently priced at $24.99. Read more about its features and view more pictures at the iTunes store.

Thanks for stopping by!

<3 Breanna

Breanna AllorComment