Helen and I were recently contacted by Aptus Speech and Language Therapy. They have released an app to target inferencing skills and asked us to review it. The app is called Inference Pics and is currently priced at £9.99 on iTunes. It’s also available for Android devices. Helen and I were sent a free copy of the app, however the comments in the review are our own.
I LOVE finding new apps and one with real photos of different situations for inferencing and prediction really got me interested! The app has over 200 real life photos. Each picture is accompanied by a question to prompt the child to infer information. It is divided into 7 sections – What has happened, jobs, places, seasons, feelings, conversations and thoughts. The last 3 sections are the most challenging. I personally also found the first section – what has happened – really useful.
It is important to highlight that this app has been designed to be completed with an adult supporting the child and using the pictures as a discussion starter. I have used it in 1:1 sessions with children and also paired sessions and it has started some great conversations. I ask the children to be detectives and to look for the clues in the pictures.
The bits I loved:-
- The photos are great! I really like real life photos rather than drawn images. You can discuss facial expressions and body language as well as situations.
- The marking system. You have the option of having choices on the screen or not. If you start without the options and the child gets the answer wrong, the 3 choices are then showed to help them get the correct answer. I found this useful. See pictures below
- Email scores. When the child has finished their session, you can email the results. I like the way the scores are broken down to show if they needed help or not as well as if their answers were correct.
- Settings. In the settings you can change the number of trials in a set (upto 20 trials) This is handy so you can alter it for the attention level of the child you are working with. You can also turn off the voice asking the questions. I found the voice became a little repetitive, so I have turned my off!
- Quick and easy. I love the fact that you can just open the app and go. You don’t need to worry about changing settings before you start. You can set up user accounts for each child, or you can enter as a guest.
- It is enjoyable! I use the app with a range of year 5 and 6 children. They all enjoyed the pictures and conversations. Some enjoyed seeing their score at the end and trying to improve it next time.
- I like the range of sections. I have found that some are easier than others and this changes for the individual child.
- The price! I think £7.99 is a very good price for a real photo app.
The bits I wasn’t as keen on:-
- The cross and tick scoring. For some children seeing us press the big X or it popping up on the screen when the get an answer wrong, isn’t great. It says in the instructions that you can change the noises of the scoring system, but I couldn’t work out how – so I just turn the sound off!
- Repetition. I found that within a set of 10 pictures I often got a few very similar images meaning that the answers were the same. For example 2 images of people looking scared, pulling sheets up to their faces – but one was a boy and one was a lady. I also found that if you repeated the same section, you got a few repeats of the cards from the first run though.
- A few tricky situations. This isn’t really a negative, more of a comment. There was one image of a funeral with a lady looking sadly at the coffin. This just worried me a little. Either the child may not have any idea of what the situation is if they haven’t experienced it, or it could possibly upset the child if they do understand. So be ready to skip that one possibly!
Overall I was impressed with the app. I love the real photos, the range of sections and scenarios. I think the price is great and I would happily recommend this app. If you would like more ideas on teaching inferencing, you can read our post here.