Sunday, March 11, 2012

iPhone app: Appzilla (90 apps in 1), free app

Appzilla free app
Appzilla! 90 apps in 1 in iTunes

What it is: A utility app with a little bit of everything... it's almost easier to sum up what it isn't. There are 90 mini apps in Appzilla, each does just one thing, and don't expect all of them to be useful. But some of them are rather good, which is amazing for a free app. Herein I will comment on the mini-apps that may be useful for ST, but to be sure there's quite a few utilities included that are useful to anyone, just not relevant to therapy (like area code look-up, currency converter, and battery life gauge). Since there are so many of these utilities, and most have limited uses, the format of this post will be a little different than usual. I briefly sum up the basic uses and goals that can be addressed by each utility rather than have a separate heading for goals and treatment suggestions as I usually do. But I'll try to give examples, especially for those utilities that seem far fetched as useful :-). Expect to constantly be amazed that this collection of utilities is free!

List of utilities included in Appzilla that may be useful for Speech Therapy:

Note: Some of these utils that gather information from the internet (like dictionary and news related ones) will need a server connection to work (if you use your iPhone you're fine, if you use iPod-touch or iPad, you'll need to be connected to wifi). Most of the utils don't need it though. I'll try to note which do below.

1. Bleep button (no, really): Just a button that you touch and it bleeps. Can be useful as part of a host of activities that we already do. For example, a memory/focus/attention task where a pt has to react to a specific suit or number or card in a deck: this bleep could be used as the manifestation of said reaction (i.e., pt presses the bleep button every time they see a red card or a spade as the cards are drawn one at a time). Another example is for a sorting/categorizing task, where the pt shuffles through cards with common pictures on them, and presses "bleep" for pictures that belong to certain categories (I like to have household items in pictures, and ask the pt to name each item--working on word-finding--and also pick out the ones that belong in a particular room in the house, say the kitchen).

2. Buzzer: Basically the same as the bleep one, but with a red button for buzzer sound and a green one with a ding. I wouldn't use them for their seemingly intended purpose (red for wrong and green for right) but a variation of the tasks I mention above could work: if a pt is looking for red cards in a deck, press the red buzzer for black and the green ding for red. This would be an easier task than just pressing one "bleep" button for red because having to respond to each card would make it easier to remember to respond... so it can be implemented for the simpler versions of the same goals.

3. Coin flip: I haven't thought of anything yet, but I *know* there's something I can do with it in Tx.

4. Cook timer: This thing is awesome: it has a picture of 4 electric stove burners and 2 oven doors. You activate each and a timer starts for that cooker. I love time-management games (you know, where you play the cook and customers ask for specific foods and you have to put them together in a certain order, taking care of all the customers... like the free and super fun iPad game "Order up" or the iPhone game "Bonnie's Brunch") and I think they would be useful for a host of cogn-comm goals, but they tend to be difficult and complicated. Using this utility is not as fun, but it can be a lot less stressful: the task would be to pretend you're cooking a meal and have to cook 2, 3 or 4 different things that each take different times to prep and cook. It would be great to have hard copies of pictures of foods... so for example you have to get the buns ready then you can put the hamburger on the stove and cook for 3 minutes, and in the meantime get the pasta ready and cook that for 4. That's a lot of directions to sort through (problem-solving, sequencing, direction following, reasoning) and would require some extra prep of materials, but once ready it can be adjusted to a lot of goals and a lot of deficit levels (make it simpler, make it more complex).

5. VU meter: Amazing that it is part of a free package! Visual feedback to sound levels... what can't you do with it in speech therapy?! For specific ideas see one of my previous blog entries, about the Bla | Bla | Bla app.

6. Dice roll: A few weeks ago I bought a game on Amazon called "math dice" (actually, I bought the Math Dice Jr. version, linked here, because it came with bigger dice and a carrying pouch). In this game you roll the 12-sided target die to get a number, and then roll the other 5 dice and try to reach the target number using addition and subtraction only; the more dice you use in your calculation to reach the target number, the more spaces you get to move on the progress board. I've used it in Tx for memory (to recall rules), problem-solving, reasoning, sequencing and more specific math-related goals if called for. If I don't have the game with me, I can make a virtual version of it using this utility. And loads of other game-like tasks could use this utility if you don't have dice available (I don't know about you, but my phone is always with me while my lucky dice I don't tend to bring to work...).

7. Dictionary: There's always a reason to have one around... I believe this one needs a server connection to function.

8. Drum pad: I don't know what I'm gonna do with it yet, but I'm sure it'll come in handy... eventually.

9. Grill timer: Variation of the cook timer but with only 4 burners (and link to cooking times for various foods). Could be used similarly to what I wrote in #4 above.

10. Hearing test: You'd think it's useful (if not particularly clinical) but it's mostly for high frequency sounds. Still, it's relevant to our field so I figured I'd mention it.

11. Facts, GoogNews, Horoscope, Hot Topics, Lyrics: These are examples of included utils that can be used to generate conversation topics if needed. Sometimes you just need free-style open-ended conversation (to address anything from pragmatics to focus to memory to voice and fluency). I think all of these require a server connections to function.

12. Match it: 4 x 5 card memory game with a choice of themes for the pictures. It keeps track of time, but doesn't limit players in how much time they can use, which makes it much more accessible for memory-impaired pts. It's super cute, and likely the only memory game you'd need.

13. Metronome: I can't believe there's a free one included! I was looking for one for an SLP friend a few weeks ago and couldn't find a good free one... and here it is in this generous collection of utilities. Its uses are obvious for pacing and fluency.

14. Reaction time: A simple game where you have to tap the screen as fast as you can when the light turns to green (options are green, yellow and red). I don't know if I'd use it all that much, but I can see it coming in handy at some point... Even if just as a memory/focus/attention task (goal for pt to remember to tap the screen when the green light comes on).

15. Rhymes: Give it a word and it'll look up rhymes (needs network connection or wifi to function). There's plenty that can be done with this... I used it with a pt when we were composing a simple poem together (honestly, it was a functional task and very appropriate for that pt... but this post is already getting long so you'll just have to trust me on that hahaha).

16. Tally: You can keep track of up to 4 tallies, where you just touch the screen for each tally to add to it. You can use it to keep track of just about anything; for example, if you want to keep track of % correct items on a task, you can select 2 items to score, keep track of correct ones on the first, and of all items on the second, and at the end see what percentage the first is from the second count. When I do problem solving scenarios, I keep track of % problems ID'ed and % solutions provided; with this tool I'd choose 3 tallies to keep track of, make the first ID, the 2nd solving, and the 3rd total scenarios. At the end of the task I'd have a very quick idea of task accuracy. If you're doing a stuttering eval you can keep track of disfluencies; pretty much anything, this tool will let you count it faster than keeping track on paper, and without alerting the pt to what you're keeping track of (or how many they got right or wrong). Very simple and efficient.

17. Translator: English/Spanish only; may need server connection to function.

18. Trip Wire: Sound activated where you select the trigger threshold, and it sounds a buzzer if there is sound louder than the threshold. Yet another visual feedback to sound tool that can be used for pts with voice or fluency goals.

1 comment:

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