What It Is: A flashcards app with customizable text and image by RWH Technology.
Price: $4.99 (Update 12/02/2012: There is also now a lite version to try out for free!)
How It Works: Basically, you can set up decks and cards for a variety of purposes. It is truly quite easy to do this, so I won’t walk you through each step. In a gist, you decide the title of a deck and a title image (if desired–it can just be one or the other) then add the appropriate cards (again, text and/or image). In addition to this typical flashcard set-up, you can easily add audio to each card. Then go back and add students. (I use initials to be HIPAA compliant.) When you’ve chosen the appropriate deck(s) and student(s), press start and take data. Touching the picture highlights it and activates the pre-recorded audio. There are three data collection items: correct, incorrect, and approximation. The therapist can change pictures using the arrows or the shuffle button at the top or by choosing the pictures individually from the list. S/he can also “lock” the app to stay on one picture or change/add students throughout the session. When the session is ended, the data is presented and the app asks if you would like to keep or discard it. You can go into reports to view all previous data by student.
Therapy Applications: This is one of those highly versatile apps in terms of how you can use it in therapy. I’ve found it is wonderful to use for personalizing therapy (and thus making them more functional and memorable). For example, the pictures show the deck “CK Pets.” For confidentiality purposes, I made this deck up using my own family photos. However, in actual therapy, this is the type of deck that is useful for starting conversation and building meaningful language. You can use it with kids or adults (I’ve found both groups love talking about their pets!) to elicit language samples, use as a talking point for language therapy, or use for addressing articulation at the conversation level. Of course, it doesn’t have to be pets–it can be any area of interest. I’ve actually also made some decks using LessonPix images for various therapy purposes such as addressing final consonant deletion (which I got using their Sound Finder feature–see my review for more details). I saved the LessonPix pictures directly to my iPad then used them as the images in decks the same way I would use pictures I took with my iPad. You could easily use this app to evaluate and teach high-tech AAC skills. The app requires the same skills that many high-tech AAC devices/apps require: categorization, scanning, selection, etc. The app is also nice for quickly entering sentences and questions, with or without pictures. For example, you could enter wh-questions for the individual to answer, conversation-starter topics, etc. This app makes it easy to keep data on these while allowing you to customize them. On the opposite side of that, you could include pictures with no written words. This could be used in a number of creative ways, such as using pictures to test a child’s spelling in order to bypass the auditory factor that can confuse our clients.
Pros: 1. Price. $4.99 is fair for this app.
2. Number of students/decks/cards–you can have up to 24 decks of 20 cards each and 12 students. Select multiple decks/students at a time.
3. Data collection. I love the “approximation” option. This gives the user a half-point instead of a full point.
4. Clean layout. I’ve used a couple flashcard apps before, and it was difficult to navigate the decks. With this app, selecting decks and users is very simple. The other apps I used were also stark and boring. This one uses enough color to make it pleasant to view without making it childish or overstimulating.
5. The toolbar is wonderful. I particularly like the lock button.
6. Easy customization. You can pick desired phonemes (single or multiple) for certain processes, select/deselect specific words, change the grade level of the child, etc.
7. Versatile. I can use this app just as easily with a preschooler with a phonological disorder as I would with an adult with aphasia.
8. You don’t have to set everything up ahead of time–add students, cards, audio, and more as you go. This is nice for those “dynamic” sessions (read: the ones where nothing goes as planned!).
9. Great customer service. The developers are wonderful about answering any questions in a timely manner.
Cons: 1. I wish the app offered a “front/back” type option. For example, it would be nice to put a picture on one side and then flip it over to see the word on the other side. This would be a great tool for students/patients to use for their own practicing/self-testing purposes, too!
2. You can’t move/crop the photo at all when you’re adding it to the app. So some of the pictures I’ve uploaded aren’t centered or the top of someone’s head gets cut off, for example.
3. I have had a couple minor quirks occur with the app. For example, once when I labeled the cards, some of the labels switched (e.g. the picture of the cup was labeled “up”). It did seem to be a one-time problem, though, and it was easy to change.
The Take-Away: This app is intended for customization and is thus easy to use with a variety of skills and populations. I have found a million ways to use it so far, and the price is definitely reasonable. I would like to see a couple things added in the future, but I think it is a wonderful app so far!
My Questions for You: How do you currently use flashcards in therapy? Would using an app like this make it easier to customize your sessions?
Looking for more expert reviews of this app? Check it out on YappGuru.com!
Disclosure: RWH Technology provided me with a free copy of this app to review. I was not compensated in any way for the review, and they were aware that I would be discussing the app’s strengths and weaknesses.