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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Organizing My iPad

Whenever people scroll through the apps on my iPad, they ask, “How can you ever find anything among all these apps?!” Of course, if I really couldn’t find something, I could use the search function on the device. But thankfully, that’s rarely necessary. Since I’m waiting on my lovely Android tablet to get here (which will be a whole different type of organization in and of itself!), I figured I would share a little of my organizational strategy with you. Of course, everyone organizes differently, but here’s a start!

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Toca Tea Party

Toca Tea Party is one of my favorite Toca Boca apps, particularly because it involves a natural social component. I have found that the Toca Boca apps can usually be used in numerous ways. I’ll share some of the ways I’ve used it, and then I’d love for you to share what you’ve done with it!

What It Is: A pretend tea party app by Toca Boca.

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Bag Game

Any of you #slpeeps involved in Twitter have probably seen this app touted as “the app that kids can’t play alone.” I was intrigued and, okay, a little skeptical. Thankfully, I downloaded it and was pleasantly surprised. :)

What It Is: Developer all4mychild‘s interesting spin on the game of 20 Questions.

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Bugs and Buttons

What It Is: A collection of games with the overlying themes of bugs and buttons by Little Bit Studio.

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Kids Traffic Light

Sometimes the best apps are the simple (and free!) ones that seem to have absolutely nothing to do with speech-language therapy. Here’s a fun one that has more uses than I originally thought.

What It Is: A touch-controlled stoplight by Cloudburst Games.

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Heroes of the City

What It Is: A collection of interactive stories (and a memory game) by Ruta Ett based on a TV show. Each story is about a different vehicle (police car, seaplane, digger, etc.) and its jobs and daily activities.

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iASL

There are several American Sign Language (ASL) apps on the market, but I have been largely dissatisfied with the ones I’ve tried so far. So, similar to the Artik Pix review I posted a couple of weeks ago, I want this post to be less of my singular viewpoint and more of your comparisons. Again, I’ll review one of the apps I have, and then you can chime in with how your app compares. Feel free to just give a brief overview or go into more detail–anything that you think will help us find a good ASL app (or weed out the bad ones).

What It Is: An English-to-ASL translator and dictionary by BKS Investment.

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