Friday, March 30, 2012

iPhone/iPad and Android app: Word to Word

Word to word
Word to Word app (from iTunes, currently free; from Barnes & Noble $0.99; and from Android Market $0.99)

What it is: A word association game. You get a list of words in column A, a list in column B, and you have to find pairs of words related either by being synonyms of each other, antonyms, or they may form a phrase together. The levels get more complex as more than one option from column B is possible for words from column A (or vice-versa), but only one combination will result in every word being paired up. A couple of examples of word pairs: salt-grains, college-coeds, zero-nought and thief-snatcher.

How we can use it in Tx: As you can see from the types of word pairs that have to be found, playing this game involves thinking about words and word use in a variety of ways and from different angles. It's not just about knowing the strict definitions of each word, but also about knowing how to use the word grammatically and pragmatically. In short, it is an easy game to learn, but involves some complex language skills. The game is not timed, which allows for as much time cuing a pt as needed to get the pairs of words figured out. As complexity of the levels is raised, having to negotiate more than one possible pairing for each word can bring in additional language use skills and the need to think up sentences with the game words (as part of the word game rather than a rote worksheet/drill).

Goals we can target in Tx with this app: Language goals, word-finding, a certain amount of problem solving goals (when there's more than one pair choice, how does one decide which to select?), even STM

Some specific examples:

1. For a pt with word-finding goals, take the words in column A and generate antonyms, synonyms and phrases that involve those words. Then look at column B to see if any of the words generated are in that column. Measure accuracy of this task by accuracy of the generated associated-word list (not by whether the generated list included the actual paired word from column B).

2. Higher level language goals can be addressed with the aforementioned additional task of generating sentences with either the target word from column A, its pair from column B, or both.

3. STM: I actually used this game for this with a pt who loves word puzzles. First we solved a puzzle level, then I presented words from that level and asked pt to recall the paired answer. It was more fun than recalling a random list of words or images, and the task provides context for the recalled information.

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