Smarty Ears’ Assessment & Screening Apps are on SALE until August 19, 2013!

screening-sale1-970x440When apps go on sale, we want to announce it ASAP.  So, despite the time difference, we (groggily) got up to type out a quick post because this is your chance to snap up Smarty Ears’ assessment and screening apps that have gone on SALE!  Time to clean up your iPad’s memory, shut down all bandwidth hoggers in your network, and read up because we’ve got great deals for you:

  • ATEval2Go from $39.99 to $19.99
    • This app is designed to help you document all observations and considerations essential to an assistive technology evaluation. ATEval2Go transfers the recording functions accomplished by paper, heavy computer equipment and other devices to the portable and easy-to-use iPad interface.
  • Basic Concepts Skills Screener (fresh release) from $19.99 to $9.99
    • Basic Concepts Skill Screener (BCSS) is a quick, motivational screening tool created to help assess the basic concept skills in children. Designed by certified speech-language pathologists, BCSS uses technology to engage clients while assessing their school readiness skills. Perfect for all levels from preschool to early elementary, BCSS assesses the concept skills needed for pre-reading and math skills. The Basic Concepts Skills Screener is sure to be a great app for the busy speech-language pathologist, teacher, parent, or caregiver.
  • Bilingual Articulation Phonology Assessment from $49.99 to $29.99
    • The Bilingual Articulation and Phonology Assessment (BAPA) was developed for the purpose of assess-ing the articulatory and phonological abilities of Spanish-speaking and bilingual (English-Spanish) children. Best practices for assessment of speech sound disorders for bilingual children recommends an as-sessment of all languages spoken by the child. Through assessing both languages, one can more easily rule out or explain second-language influences and can describe errors observed in both languages as well as those errors specific to each language.
  • Common Core Early Language Screener from $24.99 to $15.99 (read our review!)
    • The Common Core Early Language Screener (CCELS) is a screening tool used to identify weaknesses in early language skills. The CCELS was designed to be used with Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten aged children; however, the screener can be used for other groups if needed. The skills assessed on the CCELS vary depending on the grade level choice selected by the evaluator.
  • Disfluency Index Counter from $8.99 to $4.99
    • The easiest, cheapest and most advanced way to track your %SS (Percentage of stuttered syllables).The Disfluency Index Counter app allows Speech and Language Therapists to perform a live count of the number of fluent or disfluent syllables. This application comes with two styles of counters: A simple and an advanced counter.
  • Dysphagia2Go from $39.99 to $19.99
    • Dysphagia2Go guides you through the evaluation process with reminders to assess medications, cranial nerves and all the areas on which any good dysphagia evaluation should focus. This app provides a thorough evaluation report template developed by speech pathologists who have drawn upon their experience in varied settings to provide extensive opportunities to record chart reviews, assessment data, and recommendations in a single document, which can then be printed or e-mailed directly from the user’s iPad.
  • Profile of Phonological Awareness from $14.99 to $9.99
    • The Profile of Phonological Awareness (Pro-PA) was developed for the purpose of evaluating and describing the phonological awareness skills of children. This evaluation can be considered as part of a full speech, language, and/or literacy evaluation or can be stand alone
  • Sunny Articulation Phonology Test from $49.99 to $24.99
    • The Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test can be used to identify articulation errors patterns in children as well as adults. The Sunny Articulation Phonology Test (SAPT) is an individually administered clinical tool for screening, identification, diagnosis and follow-up evaluation of articulation skills in English speaking individuals.
  • Therapy Report Center (FREE!)
    • In the past, when you downloaded a new Smarty Ears app you would have to add each student to the app, one by one. Now with the TRC, you enter your students on TRC only once and export all of the students at the same time to each newly downloaded or existing Smarty Ears app. This makes the process of adding students one by one to many apps a simple two-step process. In the past, if you owned 10 Smarty Ears apps, and had 40 students on your caseload, you would have to repeat the process of adding students 400 times. The TRC saves time and makes the use of the iPad even more efficient.

Smarty Ears Summer Sale 2013! TEN apps each down to $4.99

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Smarty Ears had just put up TEN of their beautiful apps on SALE effective until July 21, 2013 only!  Each of these apps are now at $4.99, and given the praises we have been getting from our fellow clinicians, several of these are very worth the space you will allot for it in your device.  Click on the links below and grab the following apps now because we most likely will not see these hit this low until next summer:

Articulate It! receives a major update! Join the giveaway to experience it for FREE

Articulate ItSmarty Ears Apps had recently given one of their highly successful apps, Articulate It! a major makeover.  Articulate It! was designed to help speech-language pathologists, teachers, even parents work on children’s articulation and phonological skills.  Packing a hefty weight of 1000 images, one can use the app to target the production of English consonant sounds.

We updated our copy of Articulate It! and after starting it up, we were greeted with a brand new startup screen.  Love the new dinosaur mascot.  Love the new colours!  We could almost imagine how this new look would pop out in Retina screens (we used our trusty iPad 2).Articulate It 1

Here are the update’s highlights:

  • the Reports screen received a new look, and our kid clients’ profiles were retained including data on past activities, dates of practice, and accuracy ratings.
  • the Select Player screen likewise has a cleaner, fresher look.  We tried to import players from Smarty Ears’ Therapy Report Center, and since we haven’t gotten the app yet, we were prompted to download it right away.
  • after tapping on Quick Play, we were treated to four NEW choices
    • Phonemes:  select which phonemes we would like to work on (including /r, l, s/ clusters)
    • Phonological Processes:  one can opt to start the activity by being more specific and target specific phonological processes
    • Manner of Articulation:  choose your mix:  plosives?  liquids? fricatives?
    • Number of Syllables:  filter the words you want included in the activity by syllable.  You can choose between 1 to 4 syllablesArticulate It 2
  • when the activity started, we were chuffed to know that the app now has THREE levels of practice:
    • Words
    • Phrases
    • Sentences
  • images appear to have been refreshed
  • interface received a facelift:  the main part of the screen is flipbook in style, with other options set in a taskbar at the left of the screen.  One can opt to take notes, or rotate the picture in four ways (that way, you can opt to have your taskbar oriented to where you are positioned in relation to the iPad).
  • report format was redesigned:  nice big letters, with buttons to allow the user to view notes made, what words were used for that specific activity, and to play back any recordings that were taken.Articulate It 3

Just so they can let everyone know Articulate It’s new features, Smarty Ears is giving away a FREE copy.  If you think you’re curious enough to win one, join the contest via Rafflecopter (see below) and follow the instructions on how you can have a chance at snapping up a promo code for Articulate It!

Price:  $ 38.99
Weight: 343 MB
Updated:  11 April 2013
Version: 3.2
Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad.  Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Target Population: children
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • apraxia
  • articulation
  • phonology
  • naming

Customer Ratings (iTunes): 4 out of 5 stars                                                              iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find your way through Syntax City

Syntax City

If there is one thing that many speech-language pathologists may agree almost unanimously, it is how difficult it is to teach syntax to our kid clients.  Smarty Ears makes the learning of grammar rules more fun and infinitely more colorful with their latest release:  Syntax City.

The developers of Syntax City has this to say about the City our students are about to explore:

…We wanted to create a utopia where all verbs would agree with their subjects, all actions would be spoken with the right tense, and all people lived peacefully with the proper pronouns.

(don’t we all?)

Syntax1

The app greets you with an attractive main screen with two choices as to how you want to access the app:  Visit the City, or do a Quick Play. We wanted to visit the City of course.  And before one does that, you create your own Visitor ID.  Enter a name, add your student’s photo (or an avatar, if you don’t want using real photos, or not at all), and click either Settings or Next.  Settings is pretty straightforward:

  • audio on/off
  • emit a buzz if a mistake was made or simply remove the item, and
  • toggle voice recording prompts on/off.

Tap on Next and we finally enter the City.

Explore Syntax City’s environs by dragging the map around.  One can see different streets, buildings, parking lots, foliage, even a ski resort within the City.  The options are:

  • Third-Person Singular Beach
  • Plurals Zoo
  • Was-Were Bakery
  • Is-Are Park
  • Have-Has Grocery
  • He-She Ski Resort
  • Irregular Past Tense Farm
  • Do-Does Gym

Below the draggable map is a bar containing the avatars of the selected students who are to start exploring the city.  Drag the avatars onto a place in the map (we chose He-She Ski Resort simply because it’s 34 degrees Celsius outside) and the app offers Level 1 and Level 2 as the beginning activity.  We chose Level 2.  The app brought us to a picture screen with an introductory text on the bottom about ski resorts.  And of course, the task screen looks as chilly as one would expect a ski resort to be! You have:

Syntax3

  • the stimulus picture in the middle
  • the sentence to be completed below the stimulus picture
  • the choices (two to four, depending on level of difficulty), located below the incomplete sentence
  • the buttons Done, Back, and Next as well as the child’s avatar take up the screen’s corners

Depending on the Settings you made, tap on an incorrect choice and the word either buzzes or disappears.  Select the correct answer however, and the user is rewarded with a quick animation.  In our case, our cartoon skier skied past the picture.  

After answering correctly, the user is asked if he/she would like to record his/her phrase.  If you do not want to make any recording, just tap Next to go to the next item.  

Syntax4One may end the activity anytime by tapping Done.  Naturally, one would like to view a quick assessment of the child’s performance, or a ‘Report Card.’  The app asks you what would you like to access:

  • treasures found in town, or
  • the players performance

Syntax5

The former shows ‘treasures’ that the child has earned from different locations.  Those that the child has yet to earn are grayed out.  Choose the latter and you are led to a very comprehensive report of the child’s performance:

  • child’s name and date of the first session
  • a bar graph showing 
    • the different syntax activities (do-does, was-were, have-has, etc.)
    • which activities were already accomplished (grey for tasks the child has not practiced yet, green or yellow for accomplished tasks)
  • a report window that shows
    • date of the activity
    • number of participants
    • number of foils
    • how long it took to finish the task
    • accuracy, in percent
    • results: what tasks were accomplished for that day, and accuracy in percent
  • a Share button

What we love about this app:

  • engaging artwork and concept: a lot of cartoon work went into this app, the kind that can be hard to ignore and harder to not use the app with!  The concept positively invites any user to explore and see what each location offers.
  • profiles can be created via the Visitor Information screen: this one’s cute… it makes it look like you are really accomplishing a new registration form.  Save the form by tapping on the signature.
  • 50 targets per location, totalling to 400 total targets across 8 locations: and 8 different goals!!
  • allows multiple players AND individual difficulty settings: this feature is a HUGE plus!  You want three (five, tops) of your kid clients to go to Was-Were Bakery, but you want one child to work on Level 3 Was-Were, another child to use Level 1, and your third client to use Level 2.  BOOM.  You got it.
  • beautifully sharp stimulus pictures: we DID say engaging…
  • a quick animation rewards a correct answer: serves well as visual feedback
  • option to record one’s voice
  • lets child keep track of collectible treasures:  most children remain hooked on collecting stickers and badges.  In the case of Syntax City, the app makes it easy for them to check which ones they’ve already earned, and which ones are waiting to be discovered by them.
  • a very informative Report Card: the bar graph gives the teacher/clinician an idea how each child fared in any Syntax City activity AND keeps track of each (registered) child’s performance in past activities.  This matters big time.

What we hope to see in future updates:

  • an option in Settings to skip the voice recording option: a few of our kid clients get sidetracked by this option that pops out after every item.  
  • tweaked font colors in each location’s starting screen: the text in some of the locations’ starting screens were difficult to read especially if the background was similar to the fonts’ color.  Contain the text in a separate box within the picture, perhaps?

Syntax7

Syntax City can deload the clinician of the challenges behind teaching children the intricacies of learning how and when to use specific words by understanding both the picture and what is being said about it.  As with most teaching apps, the key is to carefully guide the young user in choosing the correct word and understanding what makes a sentence correct or otherwise.  This app helps one meet learning goals, many many many times over.

Price:  $24.99
Weight: 368 MB
Updated:  13 February 2013
Version: 1.2
Compatible with: iPad, iOS 5.0 or later
Target Population: children
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • syntax
  • descriptions
  • naming
  • answering Wh- questions, etc.
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 stars
iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys

Screening early language skills using the iPad is now possible via the Common Core Early Language Screener (CCELS)

A quick search through the web and the App Store can give any clinician the impression that majority of the SLP apps out there are either for therapy or for record keeping.  The iPad has addressed the problem of carrying paper-based–and oftentimes heavy–materials from one client to another, that is, until one is called to do screening and assessment.  We have not seen a good language screening app online, until we saw the CCELS:  Common Core Early Language Screener by Smarty Ears.

Based from the common core standards that were set in the U.S., the CCELS was designed to screen the language skills of children between pre-kindergarten to kindergarten levels.  After the evaluator has entered basic student information for a New Screening, he/she can set what skills level need to be assessed by choosing the grade level.

Skills assessed by the CCELS. (Source: www.smartyearsapps.com)

We took the CCELS for a test drive and entered the necessary information in order to start the screening.  As we went through the CCELS using Pre-Kindergarten, Beginning Kindergarten, and Ending Kindergarten, it was apparent that the skills assessed were different at each level.  We had to familiarize ourselves with the screener prior to administering the app as each step had its own set of instructions on how to administer and score.  There are, for the most part, three screens:

  • the Instructions screen
  • the Stimuli screen
  • the Scoring screen

The Instructions Screen contains:

  • the header: the area being screened (for example:  Actions).  Also contains the Home button.
  • the body, which contains:
    • the task:  (Now you will have the student label the pictures:)
    • the prompt/s:  (Can you name these pictures? What is this?)
    • the instructions:  (Click next to display pictures & present them to the child.)
  • the footer:  holds the following buttons:
    • Back button: brings the user to the previous task
    • Skip button: brings the user to the next task
    • Next button: allows one to proceed to the picture/figure/word stimuli

Click Next and one enters the Stimuli screen.  Click Next again and number buttons appear, allowing one to tap and assign a score for the task.

It was apparent that a good amount of foresight went into the designing of the CCELS.  We appreciated the following features:

  • one-time entry of institution and evaluator name:  this option is under Settings.  Entering information via Settings ensures that these names will appear in all reports generated via the CCELS.
  • text or PDF:  choose whether the report to be generated will be text-version or inPDF format
  • print forms:  hook up the iPad to an AirPrint printer and print an Evaluator Form or a Child Sheet
  • option to resume and complete screening at another time:  access this option via Past Screenings, and it will show you which screenings have been finished and which ones are still pending.
  • option to conclude the screening and skip subsequent items:  If you click on the Home button in the middle of the screening, the app asks you if you want to:
    • complete the assessment and generate a report
    • save progress and continue later
  • generate a report:  the report contains:the client’s basic information as entered in the New Screening screen
    • when the client’s early language skills was screened, the tool’s name and purpose, etc.
    • grade level selected for the client
    • (in table format) language skills, percent accuracy, and ratio of correct answers to total questions asked.

The CCELS is easy to use, the fonts were big and readable, the pictures colorful and easy to process visually, the instructions clear and concise.  The Generate Report feature never failed to elicit smiles from our fellow speech-language pathologists each time we showed the app off to them.  Except for a bit of a lag in a couple of tasks (we used an iPad 2), the CCELS is an awesome gift to us who are often called to do a quick screening and we just so happened to have an iPad on hand.  We all know the iPad is a great investment, but having a screening tool such as the CCELS in it boosts its usefulness and value in our work.

Price: $ 34.99 
Weight: 65.9 MB
Updated: 9 August 2012
Version: 1.0
Compatible with: iPad
Seller: Smarty Ears, LLC
Target Population: children
Awesome if you want to:
  • screen early language skills
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 4+ out of 5 stars
iSPeak App says: 4+ out of 5 smileys

 

It’s raining adjectives at Adjective Remix

It may be summer in the US but in our part of the globe, it’s been raining oceans.  iSPeak App is back, and this time, we’ve just finished taking Smarty EarsAdjective Remix for a long, thorough circuit among our kids at the clinic.  Released last June 2012, Adjective Remix comes packed with 200 adjectives and around 400 pictures.  Smarty Ears has certainly put together an app that makes any therapy session a fun and interactive one while learning adjectives.

The main screen shows the user:

  • Quick Start at the bottom left of the screen, enabling any user to start the lesson right away sans tweaking
  • Report Cards and Select Students grace the bottom right of the screen:
    • Select Students allows the user to add a student, take the child’s picture and tag it with a name.  Select one or more players–again, one or MORE players (!)–and click the Start button to begin the game.
    • Report Cardsleads the user to the student selection screen where, after choosing a student, shows a second screen with:
      • date of app usage
      • accuracy of answers in percent
      • adjectives played and how many percent of these the has child mastered
      • adjectives that have not been played
  • the Settings button is located on the top right, where one can choose
    • Display Text at the top of the screen
    • what happens when the answer is incorrect (When Wrong):  game moves on, the child is alerted with an audio signal, or app won’t respond at all)
    • the Presentation of Items, if these will be presented on random or in order
  • the Concepts Targeted, and the adjectives are grouped into:the Support button, where one can post to Facebook, access the video tutorial, contact the app developers, or share news about the app to a friend
    • Appearance (soft, new, long)
    • Colors
    • Feelings
    • Quantity (few, empty)
    • Shape (thick, curved)
    • Size
    • Time (old, modern)
    • Touch and Taste (nutritious, hot, dry)

After customizing our preferred targets and selecting our student/s, we started the lesson proper and we were pleased with:

  • the quality of the pictures:  these are pictures, not drawings.  Sharp, clear pictures!
  • the target word is in boldface:  one can see this as long as the Display Text is toggled on
  • the picture of the child on the top left of the screen: useful especially if one uses the 2+ players option
  • comes with pre-installed avatars for those who do not want to use their clients’ pictures.  One can also skip using a picture / avatar altogether.
  • the brief yet rewarding visuals in the form of a “Well Done!” stamp that comes out following each correct answer
  • the fact that how the app responds to wrong answers can be customized (the app does not respond and moves on to the next picture, the current screen stays until the correct answer is tapped, and gives a beep for every wrong answer)
  • the Next and Stop buttons, which basically allows the user to move on the next picture without necessarily answering the present question, and Stop to conclude the session altogether
  • the customizability of the app:  one can choose which adjectives to include in the lesson, opt to create student lists, and view their “report cards.”
  • the Report Card:  not only does it give the percentage of correct answers PER adjective, it also gives one an idea which specific adjectives the child needs to work on vs. those he has already mastered.

What we would like to suggest as adjustments are:

  • a volume boost:  we’ve put our iPad at the highest volume settings (both via the rocker button and via Settings), and we still couldn’t hear the app’s voice well enough.  This is crucial because not everyone will opt to have the app display text above the picture
  • a Clear Results button on the Report Card:  our experimentations led us to a Report Card with a lot of Not Played tags, which made us realize that it would be nice if a user can opt to delete certain therapy session dates.  Until that happens, it looks like one needs to create a new Student (and Report Card) in order to reset accuracy ratings

It is also worth noting that this app is literally no lightweight.  Packing 216mb worth of data, you may want to double check how much space you have left in your device (and if have a  reliable and fast Internet connection) before purchasing this.

Since Adjective Remix was a hit among our kids, we can definitely say that Smarty Ears has apparently done a lot in order to deliver a tight app package that features a level of customizability rarely found in therapy apps.  At $9.99, this one’s a solid investment into the techie SLP’s app arsenal.

Price: $9.99 
Weight: 216 MB
Updated: 22 June 2012
Version: 1.0
Compatible with: iPad
Seller: Smarty Ears, LLC
Target Population: children with special needs
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • comprehension of adjectives
  • visual processing
  • comparing and contrasting
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 4 out of 5 stars
iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys

 

Inside, closest to, and on top of Preposition Remix

Smarty Ears is one of the SLP-centric app companies out there.  Founded by Barbara Fernandes a.k.a. GeekSLP (whom we’ve met in ASHA 2011), Smarty Ears has to date almost 30 apps available in the App Store, apps that may be used for individuals with autism, stuttering, dysphagia, and apps for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) as well as for caseload management.  One of their very useful apps is Preposition Remix, and at this point we would like to challenge you to try and search the App Store for apps that concentrate on teaching prepositions.  We did, and we found that there were only a few handful that do.

Preposition Remix includes 20 of the most commonly used English prepositions such as:

  • above, behind, below, beside, between
  • closest to, furthest, in, in front of, in the middle
  • inside, near, next to, on, on top of
  • out, outside, to the left, to the right, under

The app comes with a Settings page where you can customize your lesson according to the needs of your client who is about to have a bit of fun:

  • toggle on/off the prepositions you’d want to appear
  • if you want written cues to appear below the pictures or not
  • if you want the prepositions to appear randomly or not
  • if you want the app to repeat the question or not
  • and how do you want the app to react if an error is made:
    • keep going:  have it continue to the next preposition
    • no response:  it won’t buzz nor continue on to the next preposition until a correct answer has been made
    • buzz:  if an error is made, and will keep doing so until a correct answer has been made

Press the Play button and the lesson starts.  The beauty of this app is that

  • one has to follow the instructions exactly:  if the app said “Touch the hat behind the horse,” one must touch the hat and not the horse, not above the hat, not beside the horse, but the hat itself.
  • the voice cue is clear and loud enough to be understood
  • no exaggerated stars, clapping sounds or cheers that could restrict the app to younger clients:  in other words, the app can be used with older clients, especially adults
  • voice response describes and expands the answer made:  this indicates that your client made a correct answer and even describes that answer in a longer sentence (“Yes, that brown dog is in the middle.”).
  • summary report is presented at the end of the activity:  this includes the date of practice, the prepositions the client worked on, and overall accuracy in percent.  Scores are presented by preposition, and the report also indicates if written cues and question repetitions were turned off or on.
  • optional “therapist upgrade” is available for download:  the upgrade allows the therapist to track a client’s progress over time.  This upgrade is available for $5.99.

Among the things we noticed as well were:

  • data-heavy:  87.1 mb makes for a very hefty app, but one could hardly fault the developers on this:  different voice cues and responses account for a lot of megabytes.
  • some lag-time after the Play button is tapped until the activity starts:  this is only by a couple of seconds or so.  It is  a hefty app, after all.
  • no option to turn off the voiced description at the end of each question:  while the description is useful, it does slow the activity at times, especially when the therapist prefers to do the describing him/herself.  One obvious way to skip this is to turn the volume down, but nonetheless, the app won’t move to the next item until the voiced description is finished.
  • no tweaks for users who do not use English:  again, we made good use of the app by toggling the volume to Silent and gave our own instructions to our clients.  But since we couldn’t hear the app’s instructions (unless we wore an earphone on one ear) nor could we forward to the next item, we tapped on the pictures for the sake of finishing the item.
  • no Next Item button

Preposition Remix remains an indispensable tool in clinical and school settings.  We definitely recommend this app as a must-have for your iOS device.  We say the same thing to our co-therapists at the center too, since they’ve been borrowing our iPad just to use with their kids.

Price:  $ 9.99 
Weight87.1 MB
Updated: 8 November 2011
Version: 1.2
Compatible with: universal app-the iPhone (and iPod Touch) and iPad
Seller:  Smarty Ears, LLC, 2011
Target Populationadults and children
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • prepositions
  • following instructions
  • auditory memory and processing
  • descriptions
  • comparing and contrasting
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 4 out of 5 smileys
iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys