Language Empires: App Review

Jan 23

Language Empires: App Review

Smarty Ears Apps is perfecting the art of difficult to target areas with their newest app Language Empires. The App is divided into different Empires with each empire targeting a different language area.

 

Price:  $29.99

The tutorial on the app is excellent and guides you through step by step on how to use the App.

Most of the language areas are further divided into different levels. The following skills are addressed:

  1. Figurative Language
  2. Vocabulary (2 levels)
  3. Predicting (3 levels)
  4. Inferencing (2 levels)
  5. Sequencing (3 levels)
  6. How Questions
  7. Which Questions (2 levels)
  8. Why Questions (3 levels)

 

1.  Figurative Language

(Egyptian Empire)

The student is given a situation and then a choice of 3 options to choose from. For example “Don’t hold your breath” means:

“See how long you can hold your breath,” you need to brush your teeth because you have bad breath,” “don’t count on it because it’s probably not going to happen.”

The student selects the correct one (settings can choose to have the incorrect option taken away)

Figurative Language

 

 2. Vocabulary

(Greek Empire)

Both levels on this task offer 4 possible answer choices but the vocabulary on level 2 is slightly more abstract than on level one.

Vocabulary

 

3. Predicting

(Mayan Empire)

The student is required to look at the picture which may have a short narrative attached and select what will happen next. Level 1 the student has two possible choices. Level 2 has three possible choices and Level 3 has four possible choices.

 

Predicting

 

 4. Inferencing

(Medieval)

The child is required to use the picture clue and short story in order to form an inference about what could have happened.

Level 1 has two possible choices. Level 2 has three possible choices.

 

Inferencing

5. Sequencing

(Future)

The student is required to sequence events such as activities of daily living, basic concepts, social awareness and short stories.

Level 1 requires the child to sequence 3 events, Level 2 requires the child to sequence four events and Level 3 requires the child to sequence five events.

 

Sequencing

 

 6. How Questions

(Roman Empire)

The student selects the correct answer from three possible options. The “how” questions target issues such as social skills, comparing and contrasting and emotions

How Questions

 

 

  7. Which Questions

(British Empire)

Which Questions typically demand a choice. In this task, the student selects the correct choice based on the picture options. Level 1 has two possible options and Level 2 has 3 possible options.

 

Which Questions

 

 

8. Why Questions  

(Chinese Empire)

The student is required to answer the question based on the cause or the reason behind the statement.

Level 1 has two options, Level 2 has three options and Level 3 has four options

Why Questions

 

What I like

As you answer questions correctly, you earn rewards or “treasures” which are saved and can be accessed on each student’s profile.  The treasures represent items from a particular Empire and are great for further vocabulary and language enrichment. You can earn up to 95 possible treasures such as a Roman Laurel Crown, Greek boat and Mayan Calendar.

Reports give very specific information on the session. The color coding makes it easy to see and it is now compatible with Therapy Report Center    which allows the teacher/therapist to access data from all the apps in one place.  Results can be emailed, printed out or shared.

This App provides such a comprehensive resource of difficult to target skills.

 

What I would like

I would love to see the app offer an option for the answer choices to be read aloud as well so that the child can work more independently.

I found some of the writing really small and at times difficult to read (especially when one is working upside-down). Although I love the background themes, some of them are very ‘busy’ and distract and detract from the text.

Related to my issue with the small writing, the children stopped reading their “congratulations banners” because they were too difficult and complex to read. Perhaps a short sentence together with the ‘trophy’ might engage further language discussion and enrichment.

It would be nice to have the option to display/not display the answer choices so that you can work at an expressive level too. This would utilize this app more effectively.

 

Overall, this App is a fantastic way to address more abstract language skills for younger children.

 

I was provided with a copy of Language Empires by Smarty Ears Apps. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this review! The question I have for you is regarding adding audio for the answer choices. The app is already almost 600Mb – adding audio for ALL answers would probably double that size: Over 1 Gb – this would make it so that if we had an 16 GB iPad people would only be able to have 16 apps. We always try to balance size of app with content – it is a hard call here. I would love to hear your thoughts…

  2. Such a tough one – particularly since the target population often have reading difficulties. Perhaps it would be worth splitting the app into 2/3 parts? A font change might make reading easier – Would love to hear other perspectives.

  3. This looks like a beautifully designed and educationally outstanding app. I agree with Nikki’s idea of adding audio to the answer choices. As a reading tutor, I see many children who need to develop listening skills and auditory memory in order to make good progress in basic reading and comprehension. Hearing these clearly stated answer options would be very good practice. I also understand Geek SLP’s concern about app size. Were it my app, I would consider breaking it into three apps sorted into levels of advancement. This could also bring the prices down, too, and create more sales. Jeanne Voelker, Curriculum Writer and Director, Reading Raven

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