Tuesday, May 8, 2012

iPad/iPhone app: Spot Venture

Spot Venture app
Spot Venture from iTunes (free for a while)

What it is: A spot the difference game that is pretty straight forward and doable (unlike some that are so confusing they aren't even fun). You get 2 minutes per level, which is a lot of time to spot 5 differences for a regular player, but may not be quite enough time for a cogn pt (see ideas to get around that below). The nice thing is that the drawings are really clear and the differences are definitely visible to the naked eye (again, unlike some other spot the difference games I've seen for the iPad).

How we can use it in Tx: Obviously, play the spot-the-difference game. If your pt is able to, let them play the game as is, with the 2 minute limit on each level. If they need cues, figure out how much cuing you want to provide (see specific examples below). If they need extra, or unlimited, time, you can take a screenshot of the level at the start (with no differences found or circled yet) and use the screenshot in a photo annotating app to circle the differences. You can print them out too if you want (by emailing the screenshot to yourself).

Screen image #1: simple easy to see differences
This game has an additional task on every level, and some of these tasks include a useful "divided attention" aspect. See for example the screen image of the level with balloons (below, screen image #2). The task on this level is to find the 5 differences, as always, but also to pop the balloons as they come up on the right screen of the game. The balloons come out fairly slowly: I captured one of the few times that two balloons were on the screen at the same time; mostly it's one at a time with a delay, so it's not like a fast-paced balloon-popping game. This makes the player have to look for differences while periodically clearing the screen of balloons, and if any balloons are missed it doesn't affect the game playing (possibly the score, but nothing else). Perfect for focus-related goals.

Goals we can target in Tx with this app: Memory, visual field neglect and scanning, attention/focus and following directions come to mind. Some reasoning is involved, but this is more about visual tasks than solving problems.

Screen image #2: divided attention with balloons
Some specific examples:

1. For a higher fxn level pt who is able play the game within the 2 minute limit per levels, decide on how much cuing to provide. For example, I often ask the pt to find the first 2 differences independently, and then provide assistance (direction or hints) for the rest.

2. For a pt that needs extra time, use a screenshot of each level in a photo annotating app and circle the differences as you find them without a time limit. Don't forget to set your screen timeout to something long like 5 minutes so the screen doesn't go dark mid-task. For an added delayed-memory component, after finding the differences on the screenshot, go back to the game itself, and mark them within the game (this time going mostly from memory of having just found them). Then move up a level, take a new screenshot, and repeat.

3.  You can also print the screenshot (if you don't have a compatible printer, which most of us don't, you can just email yourself the screenshot and print anywhere, on BW or color printer). It takes a little more advanced planning, but it's just as good if you'd prefer to use a paper version for this task. In that case, you'll just be using the app as a source for spot-the-diff images.

4. For a pt with visual field neglect specify which side to mark the found differences on (both sides must be compared, which is good for this goal, but if you want to draw attention to a specific side then suggest that is the one where differences are to be marked; either side will work for marking differences within the app). You may also choose to alternate which side is marked as you go up levels.

In summary, there's not a lot more to this. It's a spot-the-difference task. Such tasks in workbooks are often drawn as cartoons (rather than photographs) so the cartoon quality of this app does not stand out as abnormal for this task aimed at adult populations. It's something that can be done in a lot of ways that does not involve an ipad, but it is extra fun and in some ways quicker as well as more versatile on the pad.

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