I am currently attempting (and I mean attempting) to teach the concept of tenses to a couple of my students. So, when I was approached by the President of the Mobile-Education Store, to review their newest release Tense Builder, I couldn’t help but accept. When I saw all it could do, I nearly wept for joy.
Let’s start with the basics.
The app is able to be customized quite a bit (7 choices actually). First there are the basic choices: Audio instructions, correct answer reinforcement, recording correct answer. The (in my not so humble opinion) more important choices include type of verbs, level of difficulty, and tense.
The user can choose between regular or irregular verbs and number of choices. To further customize it, the user can select the exact verbs they want to target (which is great).
There are two levels (level 1 and level 2). In addition, you can choose between Future, Present, Past, or All tenses. In level 1, the students are shown a short animated video. After the video, they are provided three pictures and asked a question. The type of question depends on the selections from the main screen.
If the student selects the correct answer, they are given a reinforcement sound and asked to record the question. If the student selects the wrong answer, they are told it’s wrong and taught the lesson again with emphasis on the correct answer. After a few sentences, the students are given a “reward” of a missing puzzle piece. Eventually the whole puzzle is completed.
In Level 2, the students are shown a short video. After the video, the students are asked to fill in a sentence. For instance: “The plant _____ bigger.” They have a picture to use as stimuli and are given four choices. The student drags the correct tense to the blank, taps on the “I’m done” button when he or she is sure of the answer, and hears the response.
The app provides some data as well. It keeps track of which level was attempted and how many questions were answered correctly on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd attempt. However, that’s it. There’s no data to show which date the questions were answered. The “stats” area does provide the opportunity to “email stats” and “clear stats” so in theory it’s possible to email the stats, save them somewhere, clear stats, and start all over again.
Things I really like about the app:
1) I like that there are the two levels
2) I like that I get to pick the verb type as well as the verb tenses
3) I like that I can choose the number of choices
Things I don’t like about the app:
1) As far as I can tell, it’s single player only. I very seldom (almost never) work with a language student one-to-one. So the opportunity for me to use this app is very seldom…if I use it how it’s designed. What I end up doing is going through the lessons, keeping my own data, and going from there. It’s cumbersome to do it that way – but I like the animations.
2) I don’t like the way it keeps data. Since I can’t keep “group” data, I would really like to go back and see at a glance how things went the previous session. It may be a month before I’m back on the app for that particular student…I don’t want to have to sift through paperwork or emails to find the results.
All in all… I am happy with the app. At a cost of $14.99, for what it does, I’d say it’s probably worth the price. If it could be played with more than one player and kept data the way I need data kept, I’d consider paying a bit more.
Have you used this app? What do you think of the Mobile-Education Store apps in general? I’d love to hear how you are using them in therapy…or if you’re not, why…
Until then…Adventure on!