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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mobile Education Tools StoryBuilder TOS Crew Review

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   I know my kids are crazy about using technology in our homeschooling activities. They also love using their Ipod Touches, especially on the go. Ipod Touches are a great tool for running errands and Doctor appointments, which we do a ton of. The Ipod Touches fit right in the boys' pockets so no need to haul a bag around or to worry where we are leaving it in the car. Being part of the TOS Crew has given us many opportunities, and the boys seem to love the opportunities that give us a chance to incorporate technology into our schedule. This time we were given the chance to try out a handy APP from the Apple App Store for IPhone 4/ IPod Touch 4th Generation(the one with the camera) and it also works for the IPAD too. The App sells for $5.99 and is called StoryBuilder from Mobile Education Tools. They also sell another neat APP for the IPad that is called Rainbow Sentences and it sells for $7.99. They are generally geared for Elementary age children and younger Middle School Students and Special needs kids can benefit greatly from these APPS as well.
Here is some info about StoryBuilder...


Winner – Best reading app of 2011 by the Huffington Post
Story Builder 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. Extensive use of audio clips promotes improved auditory processing for special needs children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders. Story Builder offers a rich and fun environment for improving the ability to create a narrative.

Features

  • 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
For more information, or to purchase a copy, please visit the iTunes Store.





     The APP is very easy to purchase and add to your device. Once it is downloaded you are ready to go, the boys were eager to get started as soon as it was on the IPod touch. We were able to put it to use first thing as we were leaving for our trek back up to camp which takes an hour and a half. At first they were not too happy with me as they thought the cartoon images were a little babyish for them, I was reminded that they are entering 8th and 9th Grade and how could I? I really had to chuckle at that statement, as it made me realize they truly are evolving into true teenagers.  After a small chat with them to tell them to just keep an open mind and to just go with it. So as we were driving along the boys alternated answering the questions asked of them. You do this by pressing the record button and the APP records their answers. So after answering all the questions the app reads back their "story". They started off kind of frustrated telling me that their story did not make sense of any kind. I was not fully concentrating on what they were doing as I was driving so I wasn't sure if it was something they did or if it was the APP itself. After going through the process several more times and me trying to listen to what they were hearing from the APP and what they were repeating back. Sometimes it can be my boys not fully "getting" it as they have Auditory Processing Delays due to their Asperger's Syndrome.

   After a few minutes  I came to the conclusion that what they were doing was basically answering the question with part of the question itself. This is very common and most people do this naturally, this is how we are all basically taught. I helped them around this by answering the next set of questions myself and getting a little goofy about them. When it replayed my story the boys were cracking up. After I showed them what they should do it "clicked" for them and then they had fun for the rest of the drive. My boys sometimes lack imagination and this APP really helped them think outside of the box. By the time we got to camp they were cooking up some pretty far fetched stories. I was delighted to see them enjoying the StoryBuilder App as Language Arts is definitely not the favorite subject of our homeschool. I am sure my boys would not play this everyday for hours on end as it is not meant to be a "game" like you would play just to play, but I do see us incorporating it into our routine on a regular basis to get the boys excited about story writing. I see this as a valuable asset to our on the go learning. We are always pleased to find fun things to do to liven up our boring drive to camp or when we are out and about doing errands like banking, or grocery shopping. We also try to fill the times we are sitting at Doctor's offices, which we do quite often and if you go to any specialist you know how long those waits can be. I like that I can use that time to still "teach" the kids something. Sometimes other kids waiting join in our fun and often parents are quite thankful.

    So if your kids struggle with Language Arts like mine do, and you love using technology in your homeschool you definitely should check out Mobile Education Tools and add StoryBuilder or Rainbow Sentences to your APP Library There are some other APPs available for purchase as well that were not choices for the crew. Be sure to check out all of the other TOS Crew Reviews for both of the APPs offered to us by Mobile Education Tools, all of us use our products in a way that fits our unique family and homeschool so you never know what you may find along the voyage.
                     
                          Schoolhouse Review Crew Mobile Education Tools Reviews





















   

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