Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Diagnose" with Dr. Pet Play

The iPad is such an engaging gadget that we sometimes can be too focused on its screen--kids especially. For this reason, it is helpful to locate apps that provide context or creation, but let us break away from the screen to focus on the communication and learning aspects of the activity.

Dr. Pet Play by Pretendasaurus is an app that supports just that kind of context, turning the iPad into a pretend "medical device" that can be used in a play-based interaction with children. Just add a stuffed animal and the screens of the can be used to prompt questions and record answers given in play between kids, as in the video below.

The "examination" can be used to target many language concepts and vocabulary including feelings, body parts, gender, age, weight, and action words, as well as pronouns:

The app includes some fantastic interactive elements such as the ability to activate the camera and snap an image of the "patient," annotate the "X-Ray," and scan and control heart rate and temperature.

Language Lens:
-In addition to concepts and vocabulary, interactions using the app could be used along with Braidy, The Storybraid or Story Grammar Marker® to have students tell stories about why they came to the vet that day.
-To add more context and sequential/causal language, including "treatments," other props might be helpful. I have (and love) the Pretend and Play Vet Set.
-Interactions around the app can support social development, including Social Thinking's® concept of "sharing an imagination," important across all age levels.

This app can be downloaded in its free version, which has only a template for a cat, or the full version ($2.99), which has templates for 10 animals (chiefly different in the X-Ray image and the prompted questions).

So try Dr. Pet Play and take your kids way beyond the screen!

Disclosure: author is a consultant for provision of blog content to Mindwing Concepts, Inc, creators of Story Grammar Marker and Braidy the Storybraid.

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