I haven’t done an app review for a while, so when Super Duper offered to let me Kangaroo Island: Photo Classifying, I jumped at the chance.
Kangaroo Island looks like a great addition to my language app repertoire. It is a single player game which makes it a bit more difficult during language therapy, but I do have the occasional solo student. It would also be possible to just “play” the game and keep my own data.
From the home screen the user has the option of adding players (the Tiki statue), selecting categories (the lighthouse), and selecting one of 6 games.
When adding players, the adult has the choice of selecting categories on which to work – or selecting all. There are 15 categories in all. There is also the ability to show text or picture, and to say category/item names.
The 6 games all target different aspects of language development.
For instance, in “Class-a-Roo” the player has to choose one of three pictures that is in the same category as what Sally the Kangaroo is thinking about.
Picking Parrot is another classification activity where the student has to place the picture in the correct category area (out of 5).
Skink Ball is a “roll the ball” type game. The child has to roll the ball up the correct category row.
In Turtle River, turtles swim upriver and the child must help them get to the correct island. The islands are named for categories (e.g., kitchen, food, clothes), and the turtles have pictures (or words) on their back. The child drags the turtle to the right island.
In Koala Canvas, the student chooses a picture. Then they are given the prompt to pick a paint color (which has a category name on the jar). They have to then choose the correct item that falls in that category on the canvas. The picture automatically “paints” itself with each tap.
The final game is “Seal Search.” This is essentially a “what doesn’t belong” activity. In each puzzle piece, there are 4-5 pictures that are displayed. The child must tap on the picture that doesn’t belong. When the correct one is tapped, the puzzle piece is removed and that section of picture is revealed.
The app keeps data for each student. A line graph indicates percent accuracy and the date. There is also a narrative section which shows date/time of session, game, score, whether it was picture or text, and the categories worked on. The app keeps every individual game as its own data section – so if the student has played 4 games in one session, he or she will have 4 data points in both the line graph and the narrative information. I have mixed feelings about this – I recognize that information breakdown is valuable, but it is also very clunky.
As you can see here, it LOOKS like I’ve had 6 different sessions with this student, when in reality it was only one.
What I liked: I liked the activities. I can see where it could be highly motivating for the students. There isn’t a huge wait time for animated responses, which is great. The activities are fun and varied enough to be engaging. The skills set targeted also increase in difficulty with each game which is nice.
What I disliked: I’m not sure dislike is the correct term but I’m not sure I like how the data is compiled. I can see the benefit of it – and maybe when I work with the kids on it, I will come to love it…but right this moment, it seems like it would be very easy to be overwhelmed with data points in a very short amount of time.
The app is purely receptive and does not include an expressive component at all. It would be my sincere hope, the professional (or adult) working with the child would expand the knowledge base and have the student incorporate the expressive portion of language into the activity. However, some of the games are a bit fast paced to allow for discussion or expansion.
Finally, it’s challenging for most school-based SLPs to have time to do solo language therapy. While the app can be adapted to have multiple players, it would be better if multiple players were possible inherently. However, this would not stop me from buying the app.
All in all: I’d say this is a good little app. At $12.99, it has quite a lot of features and activities and seems that it would be a great addition to any SLP working with Pre-K or early elementary school students. It could be good for parents to use to expand basic category knowledge as well.
Tell me…Have you use Category Island? What do you think of it?
Until then….Adventure on!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this app from SuperDuper Inc.; however, the review is my own. Although my own app, Categories Learning Center, also deals with categorization skills; I believe I gave an honest review without a conflict of interest.