Smarty Ears is known for their Speech and Language apps. Categories Learning Center, $9.99 is an app that encourage multi-levels and multi-players. In a classroom or a speech group it is great when an app encourage socialization as this is a skill all children need to learn from turn-taking to encouraging their peers. Categories Learning Center is what it sounds like taking items and putting them into different categories, but there is a twist. First, the goal is to increase language comprehension. Even more interesting it is believed learning how to put items into categories will also increase memory, word finding and reading comprehension. The ability to identify and categorize an object by associating common features is critical for building the semantic networks needed for reading comprehension (Partyka & Kresheck, 1983).
So you must be wondering why this app is different from other category apps? As always we first go to the settings. In this app we can have two or three categories. Next, you have 2 different levels to choose from based on your group. Level one has categories such as Animals, Occupations, Things that fly, Games and 16 additional topics. Level 2 includes Breakfast, Vegetables, Pets, and 21 other categories. Next choose up to four students to play. Finally the teacher or therapist choose one of five activities from Sorting to Category Selection.
Now the action begins with each student seeing their picture or an avatar and take turns. Depending on the category the child is presented with an item or a set of words. Their goal is to find the right category such as Where does it go? chalk, choices- School items, food or shapes. The child drags the chalk into the correct container and then next person goes. If you have a group that meets weekly you can just set up quick play and start the game.
As a teacher I value the report card/data information. This app is great for increasing social skills and for those students who need to increase vocabulary and critical thinking skills. The app is easy to use with a large interface making it appropriate for all ages. I use it when teaching category naming.
IEP Goal: The student will classify :number objects (e.g., animals, shapes) by category and indicate if they are the same or different