Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MarcoPolo Ocean

MarcoPolo Ocean (free for iPad and iPhone/iPod) is a well-designed app designed as a "sandbox" exploratory and interactive experience. The app targets science, technology, engineering and design (STEM) concepts around biodiversity, earth science and landscapes, construction and function of various ocean vehicles, and related vocabulary.

The app has six core activities that function as exploratory puzzles, with the additional features of zooming to other areas of the screen for additional exploration, as well as audio labeling and narration of actions or functions of the depicted elements.

Construction of an underwater reef is completed by dragging different elements to their highlighted spots

The boat construction activity includes many elements that can be described as well as compartment names such as hold, galley and bridge.

Language Lens:
-This app could be used to have children interact with scenes and vocabulary related to ocean or habitat units and practice labeling and vocabulary in those contexts.
-The construction activities (a boat and submarine) particularly focus on the parts and functions of these two vehicles, and so could be used to practice these semantic skills.
-The habitat building and exploration activities would lend themselves to pairing with Social Thinking®'s Incredible Flexible You curriculum for early learners, particularly the "Body in the Group" Volume, which centers around an ocean theme and narrative. In addition to the theme elements, the scenes show ocean creatures swimming in groups and out of groups, which can serve as a visual to apply the skill of identifying physical proximity as a social concept.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Find great photo contexts with Getty Images app

Photos have nearly endless applications in speech-language therapy: descriptive skills, focus on specific structures such as verbs or prepositions, social and executive functioning. Programs such as Visualizing and Verbalizing use photos to build schema and gestalt processing. Technology naturally makes obtaining such stimuli easier, and one such resource is the recently updated Getty Images app (free).

Getty Images is a source of over 60 million images, and though designed for creative and media professionals, its galleries are free to view. The free app allows you to search for photos tagged with a specific term (e.g. "kids" or something much more specific), add ones you like to a "lightbox" and display the photo full-screen within the app. Multiple lightboxes can be created and named to help you access photos you would like to view again.

As the images are designed for sale, the app naturally doesn't allow you to save them to the camera roll. Creating a free login for the service, however, will allow you to view the photo without a distracting watermark and use it within a session.

I did not want to potentially violate copyright by posting an image other than what is shared in the App Store, but you can see below the myriad of search terms and attributes attached to one photo, offering a sampling of what you can use to search for photos (and a hint that this app may be used to work on attributes as well)!