- Interpretation of vocal tone
- Recognition of facial expressions
- Interpretation of body language
- Recognition of idiomatic expressions and slang
The app uses photos and mini videos of people in a variety of real-life dynamic social situations to teach social skills.
When you get to the start screen you can go straight into the “Users” option or into “Settings”. In “Users” you just need to input or select a specific client or a group of clients (need to be entered separately) before hitting the “play” button.
In “Settings” there are five options you can modify.
In ‘Activities” you can select what activities to target in a specific session. You can target them all or choose specific ones, such as:
- Listening and Facial Expressions
- Body Language and Perspective Taking
- Expressions, Idioms, and Slang
You can also choose whether you want to include or leave out crude slang choices such as (“BS”, Sucking up”, etc) as well as the order of activities. You can also select whether you want the student to advance to the next task automatically or manually.
In “Encouragement” you can select how frequently the student receives praise for correct responses, as well as whether you would like to keep the bell sound for correct responses.
In “Answer Choices” you can decrease or increase the complexity of answers by offering the students the choices of 2, 3, or 4 answers (the more choices, the more difficult it is to figure out the answer). You can also display choices automatically or manually, especially if you want the student to formulate their response first without the benefit of visuals, before receiving help in the form of written choices.
There are also 3 choices of games the clinicians can choose from to periodically reinforce clients, you can do it as frequently as you’d like such as after answering each question or after answering 10 questions. You can also choose the option of not using any reward games.
Finally in the “Track Progress” window, the clinician has the option of turning on or off the app progress tracker as well as score display.
Now that you’ve adjusted the settings as needed, it is time to start the session. The students with whom I trialed this app are pretty advanced in their abilities, so I was able to randomize the tasks presented to them.
The listening tasks involve an off screen speaker saying phrases or a sentences in a particular tone of voice, which express a various emotions and inflections. Then several choices of photos appeared on the screen and the student is asked, “Who said that? The student then had to select a photograph depicting the facial expression which matches the voice. Here, I typically asked the student to justify why s/he selected a specific photo vs. the incorrect one, by asking them regarding which clues aided them in their decision making process (verbal critical thinking task).
The body language tasks involve short video-clips showing a variety of social interactions and situations. For example, two girls meet in a store and talk about why they are there. One girl tells the other one that she is there to find the gift for her uncle’s fourth wedding (see above photo), her body language suggesting ‘enough already’. The camera closes in on her and a voice says, “What is she thinking?” The student is expected to look at the choices of responses and select the one that best matches the facial expression and body language of the person in the picture.
The expressions tasks involve short video-clips showing a person speaking a sentence which contains idiomatic expressions or slang: “The new girl is always sucking up to our teacher.” The student is then asked, “What does that mean?”
What’s really nice about this app is that up to 75 users can use the app and students can even use the app as a group. The percentage correct can be reported for each user’s performance on each of the three activities. The only difference between individual users vs. group users is that different settings can be selected for individual students but the setting selection needs to be kept the same for the entire group.
I also really like the fact that Hamaguchi Associates created a list of Extension Activities for this app which can be found HERE. These include:
- Make the Facial Expression – ask the student to listen to the voice (without seeing the photo) and attempt to demonstrate the expected facial expression.
- Describe the Emotion – what emotion do you hear in the voice?
- Create a vocabulary bank (written and photos) to aid more impaired students in coming up with ideas
- Match the Expression – ask the student to listen to the audio clip and repeat what was said by matching the intonation, pace and words as closely as possible
- Wrong Choice Reflection
- Justify why these photos are the “wrong choices”
- Explain what the people in the photos might be thinking
- Guess it – guess the correct answer without the benefit of multiple choice options
- Act it Out – use the same body language, facial expressions and script to act out same scenes in groups
- Generalize- walk around the school and try to figure out what the people you see around you are thinking?
- Review it – use the idiomatic expressions in sentences to solidify their meanings
- Have the child create a folder where they could keep track of all the new idioms and slang they’ve learned for periodic review
- Match it – match idioms written on index cards with their respective meanings
- Find more – online, TV, magazines, etc.
I’ve used this app selectively with students as young as 9-10 years of age with excellent results. My students and I had an absolute blast using it and you can too. You can find it on iTunes for $15.99 or thanks to the folks over at Hamaguchi Apps you can enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance of winning your very own copy. a Rafflecopter giveaway