Completing the series of Listening Power apps from Hamaguchi Apps, is Listening Power Grades K-3. Each of the apps in the series offers something slightly different in terms of activities and levels and complement one another.
There are 5 activities and each of the activities have three levels – easy, intermediate and advanced. In addition you can select the number of choices that student has to make for each task. This will increase or decrease the level of difficulty.
Listening for Descriptions
This activity addresses requires the student to listen to the description and find the picture that shows it. There are 50 practice items on each level.
Listening for Meaning
This task requires the student to listen to a sentence that includes a key word and select the appropriate picture/written response.
Listening for Grammar
The student listens to the sentences and has to select the one that “doesn’t sound right.” If they select the correct option, the app provides feedback on the correct grammatical production of the sentence.
Listening for Word Memory
The student has to listen to a series of 2, 3,(Easy) 4, 5 (Intermediate), or 6 (Advanced) word sequences. . They must then tap on the pictures in the correct sequential order. There are always 9 pictures to choose from.
Listening for Stories
There are 25 stories for each level.
The easy level contains pictures showing the key elements throughout the story. The intermediate level has a picture at the beginning and end of the story. It also has a some sound-effects which complement the story. The advanced level has no pictures and the story is narrated at a normal speech rate.
This activity also allows background noise to be introduced at any point in the story. This is great for children who have discrimination difficulties or difficulty filtering out background noise.
The story can be paused at any stage. This allows you to check that the student is coping and work on story retell and expressive language.
The story answer options are all viable and this really limits guess work.
Answer Choices: This allows the therapist to select whether answer choices are displayed automatically or manually. The manual option allows the therapist to control the rate of progression through the app.
Levels: The app will monitor the child’s use of the ‘hear again’ button and errors. If there are more than 3 errors, the program drops in difficulty. Selecting the Manual option allows you to keep the same level.
Reward Game: The app offers a choice of two reward games. The Door Game where the child has to pick a door to find the hidden animal. The Shoot the Basket Game allows the child to throw a ball into the hoop by taping on the ‘throw’ button. Neither game requires any level of skill, but serve as a break between activities. The reward game can be used after 1,3,5,8,10 or 15 activities. It can also be deactivated.
Track progress: Toggling this button on/off allows the user to select whether they student’s progress is displayed on the screen whilst playing on the app. A report can be generated after each session and can be emailed or printed. In addition selecting ‘play missed items’ in the report settings, allows the therapist to address any items that the student did not get correct from the previous session.
Text: Text can be turned on or off by toggling the text button. This allows you to use this app to address reading comprehension skills for any of the activities.
What I like:
- Animations using the picture choices are shown when the child makes a correct response. These are engaging for the children and encourage them to stay on the task.
- You can delay the appearance of the pictures by selecting manually show choices on the settings screen. This allows the therapist to increase the level of difficulty further. It also enables you to provide teaching strategies during the activity and expressive language can be addressed.
- Responses on the word memory task have to be in the correct sequential order. I really like this as many children need have difficulty with sequencing and holding information in working memory.
- The ability to introduce background noise on the story tasks is fantastic for working on auditory processing and listening skills in a more natural setting.
- The auto advance feature which automatically adjusts the level of difficulty is really useful so that children do not become too frustrated or bored with tasks.
- The text on/off feature is great for working on reading comprehension.
What I would Like:
- I would really like to be able to choose the number of target words on the word memory task. The app increases the difficulty level after 6 correct items by not showing the pictures together with the presentation of the word. However, if ‘manual selection’ is used, it took 12 correct trials for the app to progress to 3 items. For some children this is really tedious and they became bored quickly with the task.
- I would like the option to turn on/off the feedback from the app. The word memory game has a ‘fanfare’ sound after each correct response which was distracting at times.
- Once the child makes a correct selection (even if it is not on the first attempt), the app repeats the target, uses encouragement (good try/well done etc.) and moves onto the animation. Again, I would like the option to control this so that I could work on describing the other picture items.
- The background noise option on the story task is really useful, but I would like the ability to increase/decrease the volume of the noise. It would also be useful to have the ability to introduce background noise in other activities.
Thank you to Hamaguchi Apps for providing me with a copy of this app to review. All opinions are my own.