Get Yapping: How to Voice Your App Opinions

As you may know, I am a huge social media user. I am constantly all over Twitter and Facebook (and blogs, of course), and I dabble in Pinterest, Google+, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram………..well, you get the point. Last year, if you had asked me the best way to find and critique good apps, I would have recommended you use a combination of all of these. “Facebook, Twitter, and blogs will be the most useful,” I would have said. “Join the SLPs Talk Apps group on Facebook, start following #SLPeeps on Twitter, and read blogs like Speech Techie and Speaking of Apps.”

While I still use all of these invaluable resources, it’s not incredibly time efficient. On Facebook, the same questions get asked over and over again, there is no organized way to make thorough or consistent recommendations, and although the posts are made by individuals, intentions are not always transparent. Twitter is very fast-paced, and it is hit-or-miss whether people with real knowledge will happen to see your tweet and give you the information you need. Blogs are far more organized and have credible reviews, but that means keeping up with each of them and constantly perusing old material to find the content that you want. Oh, and there are those fantastic app lists that hard-working SLP bloggers have put together, but they typically reflect introductory information, and you usually still need to do plenty more research to determine if the app is worth your purchase. Is anyone else stressed out yet?! Can’t we just have one place to search for apps that brings together all the features we want: organization, credible and verifiable reviews, consistency, community, efficient and various searching methods, and a uniform rating system? Well, perhaps we can… :)

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Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden

I’ve been neglecting you Android users lately, so I wanted to share a little love and tell you about a relatively new app that works on both Android and Apple operating systems! It’s also one of the few kids’ apps available on Google Play to measure up to what is available on iOS, in my oh-so-humble opinion. :)

App: Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden (Android) (Apple) (Amazon)

What It Is: An app for growing fruits and veggies in an interactive garden by TribePlay.

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#ASHA12 Survival Guide: Apps Edition

With just over a week until the #ASHA12 Convention, I am starting to calmly pull everything together in an organized fashion. Read: I AM FREAKING OUT!!! There are about 101 things I need to do before I leave, and then there are another 202 things to do when I arrive! I’ve listed my top ten apps I am using to help me through the chaos. Almost all of them are available on both Apple and Android (or give suitable alternatives), and almost all of them are free.

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“Talk Like a Pirate Day” Apps

Ahoy, mateys! I be writin’ a blog message fer ye ’bout apps to use on Speak Like a Scurvy Pirate Day! (Translation: Oh boy, who the heck convinced me to do this?!) Kookoo bananas Bill Binko ‘o LessonPix shanghai’d a few ‘o us bloggers to do pirate-themed posts to celebrate ’tis “holiday,” so here’s me best spin on it. (Thanks postlikeapirate.com for the goofy pirate talk translations.) This post is a bit different than my usual, but I’m hoping it’ll give y’all some fun ideas for Talk Like a Pirate Day on 9/19! If you’re one of those scoundrel SLPs that loves to get kids hyped up then send them on their way, this post (and holiday in general) is for you! I’m going to discuss three apps: one new (to me) pirate-themed one and two that I’ve already reviewed but am adding a “pirate twist” to. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions or other pirate-themed ideas!

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ezPDF Reader

Recently, one of my tech idols, Speech Techie aka SLP Sean Sweeney aka iDevice guru, has been writing about using PDFs for therapy purposes. He has covered about a million uses for Apple users, from annotating ASHA handouts to making story maps. Since Sean has focused mainly on ways to use PDFs on the iPad, I wanted to offer an alternative for Android users while branching off with a few ideas of my own. This app is actually available for Apple as well, but I’ll be focusing on how it can be used for Android. The process for obtaining and storing PDFs on an Android device is a little different than the one he explained for iDevices, so I will briefly explain that as well.

App: ezPDF Reader (Android) (Apple)

What It Is: An app for reading and annotating portable document format (PDF) files by Unidocs.

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Dr. Panda, Teach Me!

Another app that Android users can download, too! I’ve gotten a few great suggestions for Android apps, but if any readers have any more, comment below or email me. I’m always open to more ideas for using with adults or children!

App: Dr. Panda, Teach Me! – Fun Educational App for Kids (Apple Version) (Android Version)

What It Is: Minigames set within an interactive scene by TribePlay.

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Dr. Panda’s Hospital

To appease the masses, I’ve found an app for both Android and Apple users! Actually, I originally wrote this review after finding it on Google Play and didn’t realize until later that it was also available on iTunes! I was very excited that all of my readers could benefit from this one. Also, I had mentioned to a few of you that I found some Android apps similar to the Toca Boca ones on iDevices–Dr. Panda’s Hospital is definitely one of those. While this app is based on an animal hospital, the game’s set-up is quite similar to Toca Doctor. Here are my thoughts on it:

What It Is: An app for “playing vet” and healing hurt/sick animals by TribePlay.

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Kids Socks

This is my first Android-specific app review! As I discussed in my Going Both Ways post, Speechie Apps will start reviewing Apple AND Android apps, since I am now the proud owner of a Nexus 7 tablet. :D  A couple things are going to change to accommodate this addition. First, I will be adding a page with a list of reviewed apps for quick reference. These will be specified as Apple/Android/both, so it will be easy for readers to navigate. In addition, I will be editing my current posts to state for which operating systems (OS) the apps are available. Finally, in all future posts I will clearly note the operating system in the beginning of the review. As always, PLEASE feel free to comment, ask questions, and make suggestions. I hope you enjoy this new addition!

What It Is: A sock-themed matching, memory, and counting game by Mimoteo.

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Going Both Ways

That’s right…Speechie Apps now officially goes both ways. Expect to start seeing a beautiful balance of reviews for both Apple AND Android apps, ‘cuz I just ordered the Nexus 7 tablet from Google!!! This, of course, was a selfless act of love for my lovely Android #slpeeps. It has nothing–nothing–to do with my intense need for a device that allows for customization (widgets! home screen launchers! NO NEWSSTAND APP THAT WON’T HIDE IN A FOLDER!). No, dear readers, I did this solely for you. Because you are awesome. (And no worries, Apple readers–I still have my iPhone and iPad.) Anyway, enough of this mushy talk! Comment and let me know what apps (or types of apps) for Android I should be reviewing first!

Remember the Milk

Woohoo, it’s National Aphasia Awareness Month! Speechie Apps is going to be celebrating and spreading awareness by reviewing an aphasia-related app each week this month. (Also…there will be a fun aphasia-related giveaway coming up in the next couple weeks!) To kick it off, I’m reviewing an app that was suggested to me by an SLP who works in an outpatient rehabilitation setting. Upon hearing the name “Remember the Milk” (RTM), I assumed this was a grocery-list type app. I am so glad I actually took the time to explore it!

What It Is: In a gist, a digitalized to-do list/planner by the company of the same name. There are apps available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices.

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