Tense Builder Application Review

Tense Builder Application Review image
Just when you thought that Mobile Education Store applications couldn't get any better, Kyle Tomson blows it out of the park again! Tense Builder is by far my new favorite Mobile Education Store app. With animated videos, lessons with animation/text/narration, two different levels of play, and an expanding video library, this application is a dream come true! If your speech and language caseload is anything like mine and you have a significant number children on your caseload who are working on verb tenses (for me it is irregular past tense verbs), then this application is a must-have! While other applications that work on tenses have static images that have students determine the verb tense, Tense Builder uses animations to assist in teaching the difference between present, past, and future tense verbs. To find out more about Tense Builder and how to use it in therapy, continue reading!

Tense Builder Main Page


The Settings page of the Tense Builder application is similar to that of other Mobile Education Store apps. This makes it easy for those who have used other Mobile Education apps to navigate through the application and its settings. For those of you who have not used a Mobile Education app before or need additional information on how to use their latest app, press the "Watch the Video Tutorial" button to view an in-app, step-by-step video with the creator, Kyle Tomson, narrating. Additional buttons on the Settings page include:

  • Create User - Create a new user or choose an existing user to play the application by pressing the "Not You" button. Then, type the user's name in the box and press create or select a previous user.
  • Audio Instructions - Press the On/Off buttons to determine whether or not to have audio narration of instructions played prior to each new animation.
  • Correct Answer Reinforcement - Press the On/Off buttons to determine whether or not to have audio played when the correct answer is chosen.
  • Record Correct Answer - Press the On/Off buttons to determine whether or not to have the user record the correct sentence answer following each sentence.
  • Level of Play - Level 1: Choose the picture that matches the verb tense shown at the top within the sentence; Level 2: Fill in the blank with the correct tense of a root word.
  • Max # of Level 2 Choices - Choose between 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 word/phrase choices to appear for each sentence.
  • Tense - Choose between the future, present, past, or all tenses to practice within the application.
  • Verbs - Choose between regular, irregular, or all verb forms to practice within the application.
Tense Builder Choose Verbs

  • Select Verbs - You can select verbs to be used in the application by pressing on them. Then, a check mark will appear next to those chosen. You can also select and deselect all words.
Tense Builder Lesson

  • Lesson Style - Change between long and short lessons by pressing these buttons. This decides what happens when an incorrect answer is chosen. The "Long" lesson will show how we change between the tenses and shows the correct answer. The "Short" lesson will tell what the picture chosen shows.
Application Play

After choosing the appropriate settings for a given child, tap the "Play" button at the bottom of the page. An image will appear with the root word shown at the top. Buttons will appear at the bottom of the page. You can show and hide these buttons by pressing on the black button on the right hand side. Press "Play Movie" to watch an animation or "Play Full Lesson" for students to view a lesson about different tenses (past, present, and future) while the animation plays. If you have the "Audio Instructions" turned on, then the narrator will state "tap play to watch the movie" prior to each sentence.

Tense Builder Level 1

After the animation has been played, in Level 1, the narrator will state the sentence above three images from the movie (indicating past, present, and future) with the correct verb tense used. The child must press the correct part of the animation that matches the sentence. If guessed correctly, the narrator will state "that's right", why the word is the correct tense, and then restate the whole sentence. The image will also show bigger on the screen. Finally, if the "Record" option is turned on, a green "Record" button will display for the child to record the sentence on the app. You can then re-record, play, or save the recording. If you save the recording, you must type a file name into the blank, rectangular box, and press "Save". It will then be saved in the "Archive". If the answer chosen is incorrect, a lesson will play showing the reason why the answer is "not quite right". If the long lesson is chosen, the app will describe the correct tense answer. It will show the correct animation as well as a text animation along with the narration stating how to change the root word to the appropriate word answer. If the short lesson is chosen, the app will discuss the tense of the image chosen. Once a lesson/sentence has been completed, press the "Next Sentence" button for a new animation, sentence, and lesson.

Tense Builder Level 2

After the animation has been played in Level 2, the narrator will state, "Drag the correct word to complete the sentence. Make sure to use the proper tense." A scene from the animation will be shown in the middle of the page related to the tense chosen on the Settings menu. Then, a sentence will appear at the top with a blank in it. He or she must then press, hold, and drag the appropriate word to the blank in the sentence. When you press on a word, it will be stated aloud. Once you have dragged a word to the blank, a button will appear to press asking if the user is done. If correct, the narrator will state "that's right", why the word is the correct tense, and repeat the whole sentence. If the incorrect word is chosen, the same sequence will occur as stated above in Level 1. Then, you can record the sentence if you would like or move on to the next sentence.


Tense Builder Archive

Pressing the "Archive" button will show the archive of audio recordings from the user chosen. Each recording saved shows up in the "Saved Items" list. Press the file/image to play the sentence, share the sentence, or delete the sentence. The image will appear a bit larger on the right hand side of the page. If you choose to play the sentence, you will hear the narration of the user associated with the image. You can also share the sentence image and audio file via a Quicktime e-mail attachment from the Archive. Finally, you can delete one or all sentences from the Archive.


Tense Builder Stats

Once you have played through Tense Builder and want to see how the user 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 and 2nd 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 “Clear Stats” button to delete the quantitative information reported. Once this is complete, the application is ready for a new user! You can also e-mail stats via a chart.

What I Like About This Application:

  • Instead of using static images to teach the concept of verb tenses, this application uses animations.
  • You can play lessons to teach children how to change between tenses with animated text/narration.
  • Being able to e-mail sentence recordings and stats makes it easy to monitor student progress.
  • Having 50+ verbs with corresponding animations/sentences give students a lot to practice. In addition, the developer is working on more updates with additional verbs.
  • Users can practice all of the different tenses and irregular/regular verb forms.
  • You can adjust the settings to the students' level by choosing the level, choosing the number of choices in level 2, choosing the lesson style, and more.
  • The animations are not only motivating but use clear, similar in style, artwork.
  • Students can practice stating the sentences themselves and record/play back the audio to self-assess whether their sentences were correctly or incorrectly stated.
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:

  • Of course I would love more and more verbs! I understand it costs money to do the animations, narrations, programming, and more, but I would definitely be willing to pay more for additional verbs! This app is so well done that it is worth it!
  • Like I say in pretty much every review, I would love to have separate user profiles to save information to as well as the ability to use the application with more than one student at a time.
Therapy Use:

  • Articulation/Fluency/Voice - Have children read the sentences on Level 2 using their best speech sounds/fluency strategies/vocal strategies. Have students record sentences and play them back to self-assess.
  • Expressive Language - Have children state a sentence for each picture. Have children state an additional sentence using the appropriate verb form.
  • Grammar - Students will learn about different verb tenses using this application as well as regular and irregular verbs.
  • Inference - Pause the video and have students predict what is going to happen at the end of the animation.
  • Pragmatic Language - Students can discuss the scenes in which they thought were funny or relate the animation to themselves (such as talking about a time they did something in the past or something they would like to do in the future).
  • Nonverbal Communication - Talk about how the animated characters feel in each video. Some of the animations show smoke lines over the character, different facial expressions, and more. Talk about body language and facial expressions.
  • Describing - Users can describe scenes including the emotions of the characters, settings, clothing, actions, or other objects in the picture.
  • Sequencing - Discuss the sequence of events in the animation. Children can also create a story with character names to go along with the animation.

Tense Builder is available for the iPad for $14.99.

Yapp Guru:

Don't forget to vote for this application on Yapp Guru!


Consonantly Speaking was given an application code to review this application. No other form of compensation was given.


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