SimpleSort's Main Page menu is very simple indeed! You can turn the sound/narrations on and off by pressing the microphone button and the music on and off by pressing the musical notes button in the top left hand corner of the application. Pressing the "Menu" button will display two buttons where you can view other applications by KidsAndBeyond as well as rate the application in the iTunes App Store.
The narrator states that pressing the green button will allow you to play the game in English and the yellow button will let you play the game in Spanish. They both have labels on them and underneath them as well in case you turned the sound off. Flipping the page at the bottom of the screen or choosing a language will begin application play.
Here is a video by one of the developers of SimpleSort showing how to use the application:
Choose to begin the application in English or Spanish. Then, the Clever Cloud characters are introduced as well as text that is read aloud/highlighted as it is read introducing children to the application. Press the bottom of the right hand side of the page to go to the next screen. This screen will have two buttons, a green button to play the application without being timed or a yellow clock button which will time how long it takes the user to sort the objects.
After you choose whether or not to time the application play, 18 different category buckets will appear on the screen. To see the objects that are inside each bucket prior to beginning application play, double-tap on a bucket and you can scroll from left to right between the items. Tap an item to hear its name. Tap on the bucket again when you are ready to begin choosing which categories you would like to use.
You can choose between 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 category buckets to play the application with at a time. Press on a bucket and its category will be stated aloud. To show that it is chosen, it will also be highlighted in red. Once you have chosen the amount of buckets you wish to use, press the green button to begin play. Then, an animation of a cloud accidentally spilling the buckets will play.
The buckets will appear on the screen with an image of an item in their category on them. Pressing on a bucket will have the narrator state which category it belongs to. If you have chosen for the timer to be on during the application play, it will appear on the screen once play has started, otherwise, there will be no timer. Children are to press and drag items to the appropriate category. If they try to place an object in an incorrect category, a sound will play and the item will not go into the bucket. If they correctly place an item in its appropriate category, a different sound will play and the object will disappear into the bucket. Once all of the items have been sorted, the cloud will appear and ask if the child would like to play again. If the application was timed, the best time will appear on the board next to how many buckets were used and the time it took for the student to sort the objects will appear in the middle of the top of the screen. Pressing the blue arrow will bring the user back to the main page.
What I Like About This Application:
- This application is available to play in two different languages which is great because there are many English and Spanish speaking students in the schools who would benefit from working on categorization skills.
- There are 18 different categories with multiple items in each which allows for variation of application play and more vocabulary to be learned.
- Being able to see the items in each category prior to application play is a wonderful teaching tool for vocabulary!
- Application play is easy, understandable, and fun!
- Having the clouds introduce the activity helps students understand how to use the application and the skills involved.
- The images and narration are perfect for students who have difficulty reading. Having the option to turn off narration is good for those who need to be able to identify objects without hearing their names.
- When I work on categorization with students, I like to know the errors the student makes along with the successes. Having a scoring system if a student tries to place an object in an incorrect category versus a correct category to determine a percentage of accuracy would be amazing.
- Some of the narration/voices for the various objects are louder than others and some are a bit distorted. It would be great to have them all at the same volume so that I do not have to adjust the volume. Also, the placement of the timer is a bit in the way of objects and buckets from time to time. I am wondering if there is a more appropriate place to put it or not.
- Vocabulary - Double-tap on a bucket to see the objects inside and have the students learn the names of the objects.
- Categorization - Discuss various categories from broad to narrow. For instance, within the musical instruments category, there are string instruments as well as horns, woodwinds, and percussion. Also, there are three different categories associated with food - food, vegetables, and fruits. Discuss which category would be the most appropriate for each type of food. Within the food category you can even talk about fast food, desserts, grains, meats, and dairy. Finally, the application is all about categorization skills, so have the student play the application at his or her appropriate level.
- Receptive Language - Compare and contrast different objects. Have students describe different objects (parts, size, shape, color, taste, texture, where to find the object, etc.). Students can make lists, Venn diagrams, or charts about the different categories.
- Expressive Language - Have students write a story using as many of the objects as they can or about the Clever Clouds! Have students write a sentence about a given object or category.
- Articulation - Have children find objects with their sounds in them. Press the objects to hear the words stated aloud. Children can place the objects with their sounds in a sentence. They can even do a sorting activity of words with their sound separate from the application.
- Auditory Bombardment - Press the objects to hear the narrator state the word for auditory bombardment. Press the categories to hear them stated aloud for auditory bombardment.
- Memory - Choose 2-3 buckets and have students look at the different categories and objects on the screen. Then, have the students try to remember the 2-3 categories shown as well as the objects in each category. This task involves visualization skills.
SimpleSort for Smartphones is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch for $0.99. SimpleSort is available for the iPad for $0.99. It is also available on the Android Market for $0.99. There are also other SimpleSort applications related to Counting and Continents on the iTunes App Store from KidsAndBeyond.
Consonantly Speaking received an application code from KidsAndBeyond to give away with this review. No other form of compensation was given.
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