This app begins in portrait format, following a narrator stating “welcome back to Question Builder”. The last students’ name to use the application is displayed as well as various settings you can choose based on a students’ level of cognition, language skills, age, and grade.
This Mobile Education Store app has similar tabs at the bottom of the screen to their other applications. There are four different tabs with an icon for each. The Info tab (with an icon of a lower case “i” with a circle around it), brings you to the developers’ information about the application as well as their interpretation of how the application should be used. The Mobile Education Store states that Question Builder is designed to help children “learn how to answer abstract questions and create responses based on inference”. The Settings tab (with an icon of a file cabinet), when pressed, shows you choices for various settings in the application. The "Stats" tab (with the icon of a bar graph), shows statistics on how well a student is able to answer “wh” questions. The "Play" tab (with an icon of a running man), opens the question answering activity itself.
When you click on the box that states “New User” or “Not You?”, options will appear to create a “New User” or select an “Existing User’s” profile. If the “New User” option is selected, forms will appear to type the students’ first and last name into. When selected, the keyboard will appear at the bottom of the iPad to type the students’ name into this box. The students’ name will carry over to the Stats tab.
Select Type of Question
Underneath the text label “Select Type of Question”, you will notice five buttons on a tab bar labeled “Why”, “Where”, “How”, “What”, and “Random”. The button in which you select decides the type of questions that will be asked. If you select the “Random” button, all four types of questions will be asked in a random order.
Select Level of Play
Underneath the label “Select Level of Play”, you will see three buttons on a tab bar labeled “Level 1”, “Level 2”, and “Level 3”. Here is what each level focuses on:
- Level 1: Questions will relate directly to something in the displayed picture.
- Level 2: Questions will require the student to make an inference about each picture.
- Level 3: Questions will require more complex inferences about each picture.
The Color Code Reinforcement option allows the question text background to be highlighted so that the student’s attention is brought to the question asked. This is great for those who have visual impairments. Select “On” for the text always to be highlighted in red, “Intermittent” for the text only to be highlighted when the question is read, and “Off” if you do not want the text to be highlighted at all.
Select Text Reinforcement
This option determines whether or not the text of the question will be displayed on the screen as it is being read. A question pertaining to a narrative aspect is always asked, but if you would rather not have the text on the screen, you can press the “Off” button underneath the “Select Text Reinforcement” heading. If you would like the text to only show when the question is read and disappear afterwards, select the “Intermittent” button underneath the “Select Text Reinforcement” heading. Otherwise, if you would always like the text to be shown, leave the setting with the “On” button.
Select Audio Reinforcement
Another setting for you to choose is whether or not you want correct audio reinforcement for your student. There is a slide switch or button that is already set to “On”, but if you click “Off”, it will turn off audio reinforcements following each correct answer. The additional audio reinforcement is that the narrator will read aloud the correct answer.
Once you have selected which settings are the most appropriate for your student and select the "Play" tab, a question, a vertical answer wheel, and picture will appear. In addition, a narrator will read the question aloud. The type of question read will depend on what you have selected in the Settings menu. If “Why” is selected, why questions will be read. If “Where” is selected, where questions will be read, and so on. However, if “Random” is selected, any of the “why”, “where”, “how”, or “what” questions can be read in a random order.
The level of difficulty for each question read will depend on the level chosen on the Settings tab. If “Level 1” is selected, the question asked, no matter what type of question, will relate directly to the picture. If “Level 2” is selected, the question will relate to the picture, but also require the student to make a basic inference about the picture. If “Level 3” is selected, the student will be required to chose an answer based on a more complex inference.
To choose which sentence best answers the question, press and move the answer wheel up, down, or leave it in the middle. If you have selected Color Code Reinforcement to be on, the question text will be highlighted in a color. Whichever answer is highlighted in gray will be chosen upon pressing the “select” button. Once you have chosen the correct answer, press the “select” button. If you have chosen the correct answer, the “Next Question” prompt will appear. If you have Audio Reinforcement on, after an animated cartoon reinforcement, the narrator will state “that’s right” as well as repeat the correct answer aloud. If the incorrect answer is chosen, the narrator will state “try again”, “try that again”, “you are almost there”, “you almost did it”, “you’ll get it next time”, or “I know you’ll figure it out next time”. You can then choose a different answer in which you feel is correct. You also have the option of repeating the question if you did not hear it or cannot recall the question by pressing the “Repeat Question” button. Keep playing by clicking “Next Question” after every correct answer until you decide to be done.
Once you have played through Question Builder and want to see how your student did, select the "Stats" tab. Once it has been pressed, it will show you a word chart of data based on the student’s performance. The student’s name will be shown at the top followed by a bar to select the question type he or she was focusing on. Select the type of question in which your student was working on to see a total of how many answers at each level were attempted. Underneath each level heading, it will state how many of the students’ answers were correct on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd+ attempts. Then, you must take this information and record it on your students’ own data sheet elsewhere. In addition, if you want a percentage or fraction of answers correct, he or she must calculate that on his or her own. Once your student has completed his or her turn on the app, you can click the “Reset Stats” button to delete the quantitative information reported. Once this is complete, the application is ready for a new user!
What I Like About This Application:
- The best part about this app is that you can choose the type of question to be focused on. Many of my students have a goal for working on “wh” questions in general, but some are focusing on specific types of questions. I can then choose the type of question in which my student has the most difficulty and then start the app play.
- The picture and text visuals assist my students immensely to help them know what types of answers are appropriate and especially what words a typical answer to each question would start with.
- Future Types of Question Ideas: I love the fact that this application has why, where, how, and what questions, but what about who and when questions? I would definitely like to see those types of questions added to this application in the future!
- Answer Wheels: I say this about pretty much all of the Mobile Education Store apps, but I’ll state my wish again: I would love to see the options for correct answers on the wheel read aloud. Some of my students have difficulty reading or cannot read yet (Kindergarteners in particular), but this app is still great to use with them.
- Data Collection: I have this same suggestion listed for another Mobile Education Store app, but I’ll write it again: I would like to see the iPod Touch/iPhone version of this application updated similar to the iPad version in regards to data collection. What I mean by this is currently, the iPod Touch/iPhone version does not allow for multiple students to store their data or track data over multiple sessions. What I would like to see on both applications is the ability to work with more than one student at a time. It would be great if students could take turns correcting the sentences as I often have groups of 2 or more students at a time. In addition, I would love it if I could e-mail or print data instead of having to copy it down onto my data sheets.
- On the “Random” question data chart, it does not state the types of questions asked, only on what attempt the student answered a question. This does not allow me to keep track of how many of each type of question were answered correctly, and that would reduce a lot of time in data tracking if it allowed for that.
- Parents Center – On the Settings tab, Question Builder is already connected to the Parents Center of SmarTots. SmarTots is an organization that provides application reviews, additional activities, and learning reports to go along with various educational applications. To access the SmarTots Parents Center, you must sign up an account with SmarTots through the application.
- Sentence Expansion – If a student states a short response to a question asked, ask the student to add more information. Discuss the question and how to add additional information. This may include details from the background of the image, actions of the peer(s) in the image, and emotions of the peer. Add action words, adjectives, and prepositions to sentences.
- Emotions – Ask your student how the person in the picture is feeling. Place emphasis on facial and body cues (smile, frown, eyebrows, arms crossed, etc).
- Describing – Discuss the person in the picture’s emotions, actions, clothing, setting, and other objects in the picture. Compare and contrast them to other peers, other settings, and other objects.
- Articulation – Have the student use their best speech sounds when answering questions on the application.
Question Builder is available for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad for $5.99
Question? Will you like this app? Answer: Yes!