Language Empires is the newest app released by Smarty Ears Apps. This app targets multiple language areas like inferencing, predicting, answering why, which, and how questions, building vocabulary, sequencing, and figurative language.
The app is divided into many different empires. Each empire targets a language area and helps the students master that specific element. The app was created to target elementary students, but I honestly think some empires could be used with some middle schoolers like the vocabulary empire and the predicting and inferencing empires.
How to play:
When you first open the app, you have a choice to view the tutorial. This tutorial tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how to use the app. The "Visit the City" button allows you to create player profiles and keep data, whereas the "Quick Play" button allows you to play directly without having to create student profiles.
Let's click "Visit the City" just for this demonstration. Below is the picture you will see once you click "Visit the City".
Up in the top left corner of the screen, you should see an Add Player button. You must add at least one player in order to continue. For this demonstration, I have added myself. You can add up to 5 students at one time for one game play session. I believe you can make more student profiles than that.
Once you add your student profile, you can click the NEXT button at the top to continue to the city. You will see the (below) city screen next. You must slide your student to the skill you want him/her to target.
Once you decide on a destination, you can begin your game! I decided to visit the Vocabulary Empire. Take a look at the picture below to view a sample question.
In the Settings part back in the student profile section, you can choose whether to display written questions, to remove the item or to simply buzz when a student selects a wrong answer, or to play audio. This is great for those SLPs who want to work on reading aloud. Take a look at the picture below. You can see that I selected to remove the wrong answer instead of simply "buzz" it. Once the student gets the answer correct, and reinforcer picture will show.
Just a quick FYI - one student can visit more than one empire at one time. I decided to visit both the Vocabulary Empire and the Inferencing Empire, and it simply switched empires each turn.
Finally, one great part of this app is the fact that it keeps data. Simply click "Done" when the session is finished, and it will take you to a Results page. Then click on the student and either view trophies or view reports. Once you decide to view reports, you can take a look at the student's overall performance and even share the results via email.
One fabulous part of the data keeping is the color coding. You see the part where the block is red? That is because I did not achieve 50% for that skill. That shows where you need to continue working. Once the student reaches 50%, the color will change to yellow. I assume the color will change to green once the student reaches 80%. I LOVE this. It's a great quick reference.
Overall, I highly recommend this app for elementary (or even some middle school) SLPs who are targeting these skills.
Pros: The app targets 8 quite difficult to target goals. This makes sessions easier for SLPs targeting individualized goals for multiple students. Questions can be read aloud, and the app keeps fantastic data.
Areas of Improvement: I would love to have an option to read answers aloud. I think it's great that the questions can be read aloud, but it would be nice to have answers read aloud as well. Granted, I could easily do this, but it can be quite difficult to read upside down sometimes. I would also like to decide on how often the app reinforces correct answers. I think it's great that the app has reinforcers, but I think I would like to have some control over that aspect. I like starting out reinforcing correct answers on a 1:1 ratio, but after some time and some growth, I like to delay reinforcement to 1:3 or 1:5.
Language Empires is currently on sale for $19.99. The price will increase to $29.99 on January 10, 2013, so buy it soon!
*Disclosure: Smarty Ears provided me with a free copy of this app and one copy to give away. No other compensation was provided, and the opinions in this review are mine and mine alone.
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