Friday, May 23, 2014

Minimal Pairs Academy {app review}

My students this semester benefited from the use of minimal pairs in our sessions.  I was always looking for fun ways to use them, though, since drill work with flashcards can get boring for them pretty quickly.  Smarty Ears has a great app called Minimal Pairs Academy which was perfect for my students because it allowed them to complete different levels of drill work while having fun!

Here's a description of the app straight from Smarty Ears:
The Minimal Pairs Academy (MPA) is a state of the art evidence-based minimal pairs app for speech-language pathologists and parents of children with phonologic sound disorders. Use Minimal Pairs Academy to help your student or child develop listening and discrimination skills and have fun practicing producing target words at the word and phrase level. Minimal Pairs Academy uses linguistically based treatment procedures that have been reported in the literature to be effective when treating children with multiple sound disorders. (Saben & Ingham, 1991)

Those cute kids walk through the doors when you touch them!   To get started, touch "Add new student" and this screen comes up.

As with every Smarty Ears app, add the student's information and choose a picture and avatar.  The great thing about this app is that you can add specific notes underneath.   Once you hit done, you'll get a screen like the one below, where you will choose the goals for that student.  At the very bottom, there is a choice of auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, production, and phrase completion.  These are your different levels.  Select the appropriate one(s) for your student.

You can have up to four students play/use the app at a time. This was the perfect amount for me, since my groups were never more than four.   Click start.

From there, the app will take the student into one of the pre-selected levels.  As I mentioned, there are four levels- auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, production, and phrase completion.

On the production phase, you can take data for "got it," "almost," and "missed" with the buttons at the bottom.  With all of the levels, you can take notes!  I love this option because it allows me to add my specific cues and other notes about the session.

If you need to further customize your sessions, you can hit the settings button in the upper right corner.  It will take you to a screen like this, where you can choose which words are included or not included.

When the session is done, click that button in the upper right corner.  Select the student for which you would like the report.  You will get this screen, which will list the sessions by date and show the phonological process that was targeted, the accuracy, and the task type.

You can also select graphs on the left side.

If you select statistics, you will get a screen similar to this.

The things I love about this app:
I love that multiple students can use this at once. It allows for easier planning for group sessions and a chance to work on turn-taking skills.  I love that this app is evidence-based.  I love that the graphics are not overwhelming or overstimulating.  I love that it is an engaging way for my students to do some drill work.  Students truly enjoy using this app to practice.

You can find this app in iTunes right now for $19.99 (at the time of this review).

Do you think you would use this in your speech room? 

Note:  I was provided a code for the app in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine.  

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