Today I am reviewing yet another great app from the Mobile Education Store: Conversation Builder. The app was created to improve conversational abilities of elementary aged children. It’s aim is to increase the children’s conversational turn- taking as well as to improve topic maintenance for social conversational purposes.
Much like with other Mobile Education Store Apps, you’ll need to create a user profile. A nice touch to this one is that you also get to include the child’s topic of interest. The settings screen includes the student’s profile, level of play, conversation initiator, as well as the choices of modules. Here you can choose from either of the two group or two one-on-one conversation settings and the student gets to either initiate or respond to conversations. There are actually about 160 of conversations to chose from on a variety of themes. You can go with the base option or choose from other options which include: animals, holidays, friends around town,water, playground, and winter.
A note of conversation types:
- 1 on 1 – 4 Exchange: The student has 4 conversational exchanges with the virtual peer, each taking 2 turns when speaking.
- 1 on 1 – 8 Exchange: The student has 8 conversational exchanges with the virtual peer, each taking 4 turns when speaking.
- Group – 4 Exchange: Each student takes turns having conversational exchanges with real-life peer.
A note on conversation initiator:
- If you’ve selected “student”, then the child gets to initiate the conversation.
- If you’ve selected “peer” then the child gets to respond to a peer initiated comment.
- If you’ve selected ” random” then turn-taking choices will obviously randomized.
Below are a few screen shots:
After you’ve configured the options in the ‘settings’ screen, hit the play button on the bottom to start the session.
In the single player mode, the child gets a photo accompanied by three answer choices. If s/he answers wrong, an audio clip will give you a clue about the correct answer in a non-judgmental fashion (e.g., ‘that was an uncommon way to start a conversation’). If the child answers correctly then they get to record their sentence. It’s a really nice feature for emergent conversationalists especially those diagnosed with ASD as they get to focus on and correct their prosody and vocal volume if needed. At the end of the session conversations can be saved and emailed.
In the group mode, children are shown a photo and each one gets to record a sentence to create several conversational exchanges. I recommend this option for more advanced vs. emergent conversationalists since it obviously increases task complexity. The app also has a pretty cool feature which is uploading images of your choice. I didn’t get a chance to play around with that feature yet but plan to do so in the near future.
What I Like:
- Video Tutorial (I personally always start with a video tutorial if its available, because to me its the best way to really quickly and efficiently all of the apps features in a n optimum period of time)
- Photo Images
- Photo Upload option allows for personalization (especially helpful for children on the spectrum)
- Different Levels of Play (from supported to advanced)
- Recording, Archiving and Email Options (great for playback as well as record keeping)
- Conversation Initiator (since not all the kids are working on topic initiation some are pretty good at that but have a significant difficulty maintaining topics).
- Nice Variety of Conversation Modules
In addition to using the app for conversational purposes I have used it for the following:
- Complex Sentence Formulation
- Expansions of child’s productions
- Problem Solving
- Making Inferences (“How did ____?”)
- Making Predictions (Look at the picture and tell me “What do you think will happen next?”)
- Answering Negative Questions (“What can’t we start a conversation with____? “Why is ______ a wrong response?”)
- Social Language Development
- Gauging Emotions
- What do you think s/he is thinking/feeling?
- How do you know what s/he is thinking/feeling?
- Interpretation of Nonverbal Body Language
- Multiple Interpretations of Situations
- Where do you think s/he is?
- Where else could they be?
- How do you know?
- Gauging Emotions
Currently you can find this app in the itunes store for $19.99, However, thanks to Kyle Tomson’s generosity I’ll be giving away one copy of the Conversation Builder app, so feel free to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win it. a Rafflecopter giveaway