The Main Page is a map of different options within the application. Each option is represented by a landmark such as a castle. Options include Settings, Help, Select Students, and Report Cards.
Pressing the "Help" button will cause a scroll to appear with four buttons to access information about the application, a video tutorial installed within the application, a way to contact Smarty Ears for support, and a button to view more applications created by Smarty Ears on the app store.
Pressing the "Settings" castle will cause a scroll with settings options to appear. There are two different options to set. You can decide what happens when a user answers incorrectly between a buzz sound, removing the item, or continuing application play. Press on the circle next to the text of the option you would like to choose. The second option is to turn on/off the audio for reading questions via an on/off switch.
To begin the application play, you must first have a student entered into the application. Press the "New" shield to add a new player. You can tap on the square on the parchment to add a picture. Press in between the fancy squiggly lines for the keyboard to appear to type in the users' name. Then, select whether you would like the user to practice social skills using receptive or expressive language skills. Tap the circle next to "Receptive" or "Expressive" and a gem will appear in the circle of your selection. If you choose the "Receptive" option, you can then choose the next setting to require two correct answers or not by sliding the switch to on or off. Once your user has been set up, press "Done". If you wish to edit or delete a player, double-tap on his or her name.
If you already have a user/users set up on the application, tap on the user(s) you wish to use the application. Banners will appear over the user(s) selected. Up to four users can be selected to play at a time. Once you have chosen the users to play the application, press the "Next" button. The user(s) will then be brought to the "Quest Tele Transporter Machine". Press, hold, and drag each user to a location to practice associated social skills. You can drag a user to as many locations as you would like. Locations included within the application are as follows:
- Living Room
Once you have chosen the locations in which the students will practice social skills, slide the switch to the right to "transport" the students to begin application play. A transporter sound will play followed by an introduction to the application. A female narrator will state, "Welcome to your Social Quest. Prepare to be transported to nearby and far away locations and solve the problems of what to do, say, and think about social situations. Use your questing skills of keen observation, reasoning, imagining, and communicating to successfully navigate social realms. Do well and you will earn rewards that will assist you on all your social journeys. Quest on!"
Next, depending on which social language skill was decided for a student to practice, an expressive or receptive question/statement will appear on the left hand side of the application on a piece of parchment. The user to answer the question will have his or her name appear below the knight and face appear on top as the armored knight's head.
When an "Expressive" social question, statement, or situation is shown, it is stated (aloud and/or written in text) along with a question/statement for the user to provide an answer to. Possible answers are not shown on the screen but must be communicated expressively by the user. The therapist overseeing application play must decide whether the answer was appropriate ("Got It"), approximate ("Almost"), or inappropriate ("Missed") by pressing the corresponding pot. A coin will be placed in the pot chosen (or tomato in the "Missed" pot), along with a fraction of the total correct/approximate/incorrect out of the total amount of situations presented for the user. Once the response has been stated and recorded, the "Next" button will appear to move onto the next user/social question/social situation.
When a "Receptive" social skill is shown, a social situation is stated (aloud and/or written in text) along with a question/statement to provide an answer to on the left hand side of the screen. An image associated with the social situation is shown as well. Three answers will appear written on different colored flags on the right hand side of the page. Depending on how many answers were chosen for the user to select (2 max.), will determine how many appropriate answers will be shown to choose prior to moving on to the next user/social question/social situation. If a correct answer is chosen, the application will make a sound. If an incorrect answer is chosen, depending on the settings, either a buzz will sound, the incorrect answer will be removed, or application play will continue. In addition, a knight with the text "Try Again" will appear. Once all appropriate answers have been chosen, the "Next" button will appear to move on the the next user/social question/social situation.
Rewards are given throughout application play at different times. These are stated to be based on social competencies and include an image of the reward as well as a statement of the social skill it represents. Rewards include the "Steed" (represents motivation), "Wardrobe" (represents formal/informal language and situations), and "Distance Meter" (represents personal space). When it appears in the center of the screen as an item you have found, press the "Place in the Hall of Rewards" button. You can view tokens that have been received during application play in the "Hall of Rewards" following application play.
Once application play is complete, press the "Done" stamp button at the top right hand corner of the screen. A pop-up message will appear asking if you are sure you want to end the game. Press "Yes" to continue to the "Report Cards" menu. Here you can choose to view a user's progress in the application or the rewards in which the user has earned.
Pressing the "Report Cards" button on the Main Menu or following application play to view a user's rewards or progress in the application. Choose the user whose information you wish to view by pressing on his or her shield. A stone will appear with the choices to view the user's "Hall of Rewards" or "Report Cards".
Hall of Rewards
The Hall of Rewards contains tokens in which the user has earned throughout application play. These are stated to be based on social competencies and include an image of the reward as well as a statement of the social skill it represents. Tokens will appear on the shelves with the user's name and shield in the middle. Press on a token to view more information about the social skill it represents. For example, tokens include a "Silver Serving Tray" (representing manners), "Alchemy Set" (representing being able to make changes when something isn't working well), and a "Wake-Up Potion" (representing changing from a boring conversation topic to a more interesting one for a peer). You can tap and drag tokens between shelves.
Choose the user whose report card you wish to view by pressing on his or her shield and then pressing "Report Cards". Progress will be shown on a stone stating "Your Deeds Are Engraved in Stone" by date (most recent at the top), locations played, number of items completed, and a percentage of accuracy. You can then choose to open the progress report in iBooks or Google Drive, E-mail the report, print the report, or copy the report by pressing the "Share With the World" button.
What I Like About This Application:
- I love the fact that the application has a theme of quests in the renaissance era where each portion of the application from the design to the wording.
- The fact that the rewards are related to social competencies reinforces good social skills, skills to keep in mind when evaluating social situations, and are motivating to students.
- Images as well as audio help students who have difficulty reading. In addition, the text along with images and audio assist in students learning to inference how to respond.
- It is great that students can work on expressive or receptive language skills when they answer questions/statements about social situations appropriately.
- Being able to record and save progress within the application for multiple users is definitely ideal. In addition, the application lets you send reports via e-mail, print them, or open them in different apps.
- Using the application with multiple users at a time is helpful in group therapy sessions.
- There are multiple location categories and situations within each to practice problem-solving. This application can be used over and over again!
- There are not many language applications out there to be used with adolescent populations, so it is nice that this social application can be used with that population.
- The application uses real-life images and situations that one would come in contact with in everyday life.
- The Expressive/Receptive focus is great, but I would really like to delve more into type/categories of social skills being addressed in each location such as inferencing, emotions, problem solving, conversation, non-verbal communication, etc.
- I would love to view more specific information about the type of answers each user answered correctly/incorrectly so I can view if there is a pattern of error or a skill that needs to be focused on or not.
- It would be great if on the Quest Tele Transporter Machine the names of users playing the application appeared below their pictures, especially if a student does not have an image associated with him or her.
- Articulation/Voice/Fluency – Have the student use their best speech sounds/vocal strategies/fluency strategies when reading or spontaneously stating answers to social situations.
- Inference/Prediction – There are some social situations/questions used within the application that focus on being able to inference based on the image/situation.
- 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). Have the student look at the image and context of the situation.
- Nonverbal Communication - Users can look at the real-life images to infer how the person in the photo is feeling or learn about body language. Have the user look at the persons' eyes, hands, way in which he or she is standing, etc.
- Conversation Maintenance - There are situations within the application that require a student to determine what to state next in a conversation.
- Problem Solving/Social Situation – Most situations within the application require the student to problem solve a social situation.
Social Quest is available for the iPad for $19.99.
Consonantly Speaking was given a copy of the application to give away. No other form of compensation was given.