Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Story Builder App. (Schoolhouse Review)

The Story Builder App, by Mobile Education Store, is designed to help children accomplish the following goals: 1) Improve  paragraph formation; 2) Improve integration of ideas; and 3) Improve higher level abstractions by inference.  This app is designed for younger elementary and special needs children and helps children learn to narrate stories.

Features include:

  • Record feature allows students to record narrative in their own voice
  • 3 levels of play
  • Simple and intuitive interface to record narrative
  • Recorded answers are stitched together to create complete narrative
  • 50 distinct story lines to create narratives from
  • Over 500 audio clips of questions to guide narrative
  • Optional question text and answer introduction reinforcement

I downloaded the app onto Emily’s iPod Touch. She found it simple to use.  In level one, a colorful cartoon is shown with a question asked, both audible and in print. The child presses the record button and records a full sentence answer to the question. In level one, 4 questions are asked and the answers are easily answered by looking at the picture. When all the questions are answered, the child presses the “play story” button to hear the entire story read back.

Level 2 includes 7 questions. The answers require some inference or creative skills to answer.

Level 3 merely shows a picture and allows the child to make up and record a story without cuing questions.

Emily had a lot of fun with this app. Although it is geared for younger children, she enjoyed making up creative (silly, crazy!)stories. I encouraged her to use good vocal expression while recording and to use descriptive, complex sentences instead of simple ones—the same things I encourage in her creative writing, so I think this was beneficial even for a 12 year old. Emily did have trouble at first remembering that every answer needed to be a complete sentence or her story wouldn’t make sense (although there was a prompt to start the sentence). This would likely be a bigger issue for younger children.

As a speech pathologist, I think this would be a helpful app for me to use in therapy and I would recommend it to parents of language-delayed children. I like the methodical way it helps children tell a complete story, building it sentence by sentence. Level 1 is beneficial for building comprehension and question-answering skills, while levels 2 and 3 are good for developing more complex inference and language expression skills.

The ability for children to record and immediately play back their stories makes it especially reinforcing. Actually, I could see myself using this app with children with articulation or fluency issues as well. When doing therapy, I use a lot of games to make practice fun, but find it a bit harder to find “fun” conversational activities.

The iPod/iPhone version of  Story Builder is $5.99 at the iTunes Store. An iPad version is also available.

Please visit the Schoolhouse Review Blog to read more reviews of Mobile Education Store apps.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this app free in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.


1 comment:

  1. I agree with your blog.Looks like a great App, easy to work with, affordable and with lots of features, if you are using this app you may want to learn how to make your slide show more interesting.Thanks!!


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