Flashcards: what would we do without them? They’re quick, straightforward tools for therapy, and are extremely useful especially when you are working on articulation, word retrieval, and picture description. These stacks often come in big, sturdy boxes (some variants such as Super Duper’s come in tin boxes) that you pull out and return in your workplace’s storage cabinets over and over again, day in and day out. After you take these out, you spend a few minute flipping through the stacks of pictures and sort out the ones you need to target specific phonemes or words. Now, unless your kid client has good waiting skills or is at least kept busy playing with toys, sorting and picking through card stacks can be pretty challenging.
We love flashcards. Maybe what most of us don’t like about them is the time consumed selecting needed cards and rearranging these in order. And in instances when precision and accuracy is needed, we’d often wish we literally had extra hands to take note which cards our clients named correctly or not.
The good folks at Synapse Apps have designed an articulation flashcards app that sets it FAR apart from the hundreds of flashcards apps out there: an app designed BY speech-language pathologists FOR speech-language pathologists. For all of you who can relate to this description, we’re pretty sure you understand what we mean by this.
Pocket SLP Articulation puts in your hands a huge bunch of flashcards (note: over 2,100 cards!) that were picked to target by phoneme and by position of occurrence. No more rearranging and sorting cards. No more paper. NO MORE LOST or MISSING CARDS!
Download the app and fire it up. The start-up screen offers you a button that you tap to access the phoneme selection screen. Just tick off the phonemes you need to target, then tap Done. The flashcard screen contains the picture in the middle, the label in the bottom of the picture (with the target letters in red), and five buttons on top, namely:
- PLUS button: lets you add phonemes to your current stack
- CHECK button: to mark correctly-produced items
- X button: to mark incorrectly-produced items
- APPROXIMATION button: for items that the client produced an approximation of the target word
- INFO button: for an illustration of the position of the articulators producing the target phoneme
At the bottom of the app are the more technical buttons:
- INITIAL: for cards that show the target phoneme in its initial position
- MEDIAL: cards with phonemes in the medial position
- FINAL: cards with phonemes in the medial position
- MIXED: show all cards in random
- SUMMARY: the most technical screen of them all and perhaps to many the most helpful one–the Phoneme Summary Screen
The Phoneme Summary screen deserves its own paragraph here. It shows the percentages of correct, incorrect and approximation answers the client made by phoneme. Perfect for progress notes, for making goals and IEPs! Want to add a client’s name? Tap the Select Client button on the bottom of the Phoneme Summary screen and it lets you select a name from your iDevice’s phonebook. You can even Save Scores, Email Scores, and view Previous Scores.
Pleasantly scary, huh?
What makes this app truly awesome:
- 2,100+ flashcards… an unbeatable figure
- most features are well within the user’s control: from selecting multiple phonemes to choosing phonemes’ position of occurrence.
- allows tracking of correct versus incorrect productions.
- includes illustrations of how each target phoneme is produced and which points in the palate contact should be made on (including a button to have the app play an audio clip of the target phoneme).
- options to email scores, save scores, or review previous ones.
- the Phoneme Summary screen FTW!.. satisfies the OC in us!
What this app could improve on:
- some pictures could have been made bigger: although the iPad continues to dominate the market days shy of its 1st birthday, there could be more iPhones and iPod touches out there than iPads. Smaller screens could benefit from having some pictures that are bigger.
- improved responsivity to swipes (to turn page) and/or enhancing the app’s processing: the app IS sensitive to swiping, that’s for sure. When we took the app for a ride on our iPhone 3Gs, significant lag was noted when we tried to flip from one page to another. Admittedly, we wouldn’t know how fast the app responds on the iPhone 4, or even on the iPad (and this reiterates my fondest wish that I be granted an iPad 2 so I can blog more efficiently!).
It’s hard not to love such a sensible app as Pocket SLP Articulation. Considering how many cards are included in the app, its amazing functionality, and the fact that an SLP will be able to use this again and again among his/her clientele, I’d say this is one app on which $29.99 would have been money well spent (at less than $0.014/card). Saves a lot of trees too. Truly a worthwhile investment.
- articulation on word level, including blends, on all positions
- word retrieval (manually cover the written labels)