Monday, July 8, 2013

#AppMondayTAS - SpellBoard

Each week I will be featuring an app from These apps are features in the Bridging Apps newsletter each week and are reviewed by Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Special Education Teachers. Come back each week for a new review. If you’d like more information on how to use the website, or to find more app reviews, please click here.

SpellBoard - $4.99 (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)

Reviewer Comments
This is an extremely helpful app for helping users learn, manage and have fun with spelling word lists. You can input word lists into the app by creating a new quiz. First you can name the quiz and as you type in the word, you have the ability to categorize it according to grade level 1-12, record audio pronunciation of the word, and record a sentence with the spelling word.
Once you have created the list, the user can begin to work on learning the words by doing different activities. Included in the app is Word Scramble, Word Search, and Missing Letter game. Each of these games has "hints" built in, so for those who can get frustrated easily, there are built in prompts that help support/scaffold the student as they are learning.
Word Scramble takes the spelling word and mixes the letters up, so that the user must put the letters in the correct order to spell the word. In Word Search, the words are put into a Word Search format with the spelling words listed on the right hand side. This game can be challenging if the list is long, so for those with visual perceptual deficits, this game might prove frustrating. In the Missing Letter game, the letters of the word have one missing letter with a choice of 3 letters. The user must drag one of the 3 letters to the word with the missing letter. It is a fun drag and release type game. For each activity there is a timer that records the length of time it takes the user to complete the activity, along with data demonstrating percentages right, etc.
"Study the Quiz allows users to practice spelling the words when given the word auditorily and visually. "Take the Quiz" allows users to take a practice quiz, complete with using the word in a sentence, but the prompt is given auditorily, just like a spelling test is generally given in a classroom setting. The word is spoken and the user must spell it using their finger, a stylus or can use the onscreen or external keyboard to spell it.
You can create multiple users on this app and track data for them. Another nice feature is that the app can be used for virtually any language because you can record the audio for whichever language you need, making it especially nice for ESL classrooms. Version 1.8.1 added an upgraded sharing feature allowing users to share quizzes via email, iCloud, DropBox, Bluetooth or other iTunes file sharing. This version also added Landscape mode support for the iPad.
We have trialed this app with typically developing children in all grades, students with Down syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delay K-12. Many children demonstrated much more interest in working on spelling words because they had control in helping to make the lists and recording voices or had a peer record their voice. For those with fine motor impairments, it is recommended to use a stylus or have caregiver assistance because some of the option buttons are quite small and could be frustrating for those who cannot access the screen with accurate isolation.
All in all a must have for teachers and a fantastic tool for students of all levels.

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