Monday, January 15, 2018

Dew Drop Academy {app review}

Note: A copy of this app was provided in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. 

A brand new language app was released on Christmas Day called Dew Drop Academy.  It was inspired by the flashcard system an occupational therapist created for a boy with autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays.  I was given the opportunity to check it out, and I'm excited to share it with you.

This app is designed to help children learn colors, shapes, numbers, letters, everyday objects, and high frequency words. Here's an important note from the developer of the app:
"Dew Drop Academy's artificial intelligence constantly tracks how quickly the student is learning, and adjusts the difficulty up or down so that the student is never overly challenged nor finds it too slow. The application also reviews words the student has previously mastered to ensure long-term memory of each word. The teacher may review what words the student has learned, how quickly the student is learning each word, and the overall speed of learning."

The first thing the app does is a quick assessment to determine where the child is.   This is called a "Probe" under the data section.  This is done periodically to measure generalization.

Every activity is run the same way; they just have different targets.  The screen will pop up one or more flashcards with the target (and other words/letters/numbers).  The child will receptively identify the word spoken by the app.   Here are a few examples:

Note-the app varies the font for the letters and words and the shape for each of the colors so that the child generalizes the word/letter/color.  I really like this feature!

The app will give positive reinforcement for you, such as "Alright!" "Yay," "Ya-hoo!" or "Way to go!" It also will give the children a chance to pop clouds to find Dewy, the dew drop, as a break in between activities.   The dew drop will create fun cloud designs, such as the one below.

Another fantastic thing about this app is that it tracks data for you.  The percentage that it gives is the percentage correct of the past five times that the child was asked that word.   The second data point you will see is "Trials to Mastery."  This is the number of times the child was asked to receptively label the object before the score was high enough to be considered mastered (80%).

I would love to see a multi-player option.  While this would work well for individual sessions, a lot of SLPs see children in groups.  It also doesn't stop when a child achieves 80%.  Let's say a child hits the 80% mastery criteria after 5 tries (4/5), I would think that the app would switch to another letter.  Instead, it keeps going until all of the rainbow bars are filled in on the side of the screen.  Yes, repetition is important.  However, my clients who have mastered it get bored after awhile.

Finally, an awesome thing about this app is that 10% of purchases are donated to charities to help kids with developmental delays!

So in summary, Dew Drop Academy is a great app to work on receptive labeling of colors, numbers, shapes, letters, and high-frequency words.  It uses a flashcard type system to elicit multiple repetitions per target.  The app focuses on mastery and generalization.  I also think this would be a great app for parents to use at home for practice (with consultation from the SLP of course).

If you are interested in purchasing this app, it is available in the App Store.  It is a FREE download with options to purchase the various activities.  The activities range in price from $0.99 to $2.99. 

Let me know your thoughts!

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