The Generosity of an Application Developer and Your Chance to Give Back

The Generosity of an Application Developer and Your Chance to Give Back image
Many of you have read my reviews of Mobile Education Store's applications, developed by Kyle Tomson. They were the first applications that I reviewed for speech-language pathology. After reviewing many of his applications, Kyle made it a point to reach out to me via e-mail. He is appreciative of every mention of what he has created, a passion stemming from his daugther who has autism, review or otherwise. After reviewing his first applications, I have reviewed many of his later releases including two of my favorites for the iPad: Conversation Builder Teen and Tense Builder; for which he has generously donated codes for me to use and review with my students. I can genuinely say that his applications have a permanent place on my iPad and have truly helped many of my students with communication disorders with grammar and conversation skills. You have most likely seen his generosity through discounts on his applications, giveaways of his applications on various websites, and sometimes giveaways as big as iPads! I was fortunate enough to meet Kyle at the ASHA 2013 conference in November, when he invited me to come and promote his brand in the Exhibitor Hall. There, I got to finally meet an amazing individual who genuinely cared about the quality and education value of his product to assist in the education of children not only with communication disorders but at all levels of science and literacy skills. Kyle Tomson is one of the few application developers who develops a personal relationship with those who use his applications and takes it upon himself to tackle technology and education's biggest problems. From watching him interact with speech-language pathologists, as well as hearing about his interactions with others through social media, you can tell that he truly listens and responds to the questions, ideas, thoughts, and concerns of educators.

Crack the Books ASHA 2013

(Kyle Tomson, developer of Crack the Books series, at ASHA 2013)

Around ASHA 2014, Kyle released his latest series of applications, titled the Crack the Books series. I have been fortunate enough to have used and witnessed the development behind a couple of these applications, and I am absolutely awestruck. The quality of these applications from behind the scenes is evident from the different reading levels to the interactivity to the pristine images. From a development standpoint, these are high-quality and took a lot of time, research, and money to develop. On the application store, consumers get to see the finished product and the price, but they do not have knowledge of the inner workings of application development. It takes a team - content writers, researchers, educators, graphic designers, programmers, narrators, etc. When we see a piece of software on other websites, we can expect to be charged upwards of $50 for this type of quality work. Unfortunately, the way in which the application store is rooted, society expects software for their devices to be 99 cents or less - this is pathetic for even applications such as Angry Birds and Toca Store, which earn a significant amount of money but took hundreds more to develop than the amount they charge. Kyle tackles this problem by charging a fee to download for the quality and time spent creating his applications, plus a subscription service for future updates.

Crack the Books Series

But enough about generosity and politics - the point of this post is to tell you why it is important to give back and donate to the Mobile Education Store's latest project. If we are investing in iPads as teaching tools in the classroom, then we need to also invest in quality educational content that can be used with an entire classroom of readers from low to high reading levels, engages our students, and grows in content. There are not that many textbooks available for the iPad and those that are out there currently have static displays. This is not taking advantage of the iPad as a learning tool - iPads can be touched, play video, show visuals, read text aloud, etc. The Crack the Books series is revolutionary in the fact that there are five different reading levels that contain the same content but make sure that each student has the same access (including text-to-speech), include interactive visuals, are motivating in interactivity and visually, have high-quality images, are researched (include citations for content), and allow for assessment of knowledge through flash cards, notes, and quizzes. If that doesn't convince you of the quality of these applications, YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS VIDEO to see how amazing these applications are:

Take it from someone who understands technology, what it takes behind the scenes to create such amazing content, and the value of technology in education - if you want to continue using iPads as educational tools, we need to invest in content like this. Content that is accessible for all learners - visual, textual, auditory, sensory - and multiple reading levels within one classroom. Content that continues to grow in quantity and quality. Content that USES the iPad's technology to its advantage and is not static. I highly recommend backing this project whether you are an educator, therapist, or parent and want to see quality content like this in the schools. Donate by clicking the image below to go to the Kickstarter website for this campaign and clicking "back this project". I did.

Crack the Books Kickstarter


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