Monday, January 27, 2014

Staff Review: Teach My Kid - practice cleaning up rooms

Purpose of App:  Helps teach kids how to clean up

Strengths: Able to customize with personal pictures of scenes and objects, easy to navigate, focuses on a good life skill, high potential

Weaknesses: Lack of any language or noise, no positive reinforcement included, difficulty with sizing personal pictures, not a highly engaging app

Suggested Audience:  A child that benefits from visuals and routine practice of life skills, such as cleaning up.

Number of Reviewers: 5

If you'd like to download Teach My Kid ($0.99, iPad Only) please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using this link:







Teach My Kid

iTunes App description:
Teach My Kid is an iPad app that helps teach kids how to tidy up and clean up a room! For example, in a kitchen, bowls and plates need to be placed in the sink, the milk has to go in the refrigerator, and garbage belongs in the waste basket.  
Total reviews: 5
                          Developer: eyad ayesh


Rachel H.
Rating

Strengths

Teach My Kid can be used as soon as it is downloaded, but it also offers lots of customization options. Users can create new scenes based on pictures they take themselves to personalize for a specific child. It is easy to adapt the scenes and make it as simple or complicated as needed. Items can belong in more than one scene. Customizations make it possible to do a scene as a whole room or even just a child’s dresser, where they practice putting specific clothing items in designated drawers.
Suggestions
I was a little surprised there was no audio available as prompts or feedback. There are only 16 items to choose from within the app. All of these items are cartoon-like, however, taking a new picture causes it to be realistic and not cartoon-like. It would be nice for consistency, for the default items to be real photos like the picture of the scene as well as any new user created items. Also, having some narration, either written or audio to explain the importance of cleaning up could be beneficial in teaching children why they need to pick up.
General opinion
Teach My Kid is an easy to use and customizable app to help children practice putting items away in their proper place. Using the default scenes can help children learn the concept of “things belong in their place,” whereas creating scenes specific for that child can help reinforce where their own items belong. With no narration or explanations, this app would work best with an adult offering instructions and explanations to fully teach children the hows and why of tidying up a room.
Amanda
Rating
Strengths
Teach My Kid allows the user to place common items around a given room of the house, making the object of the game: cleaning up. I started in the kitchen, which excitedly was set-up much like my own kitchen. I threw away the crumpled up paper and put the orange juice back in the refrigerator. I was excited when I successfully cleaned up each item. For children who need routine practice to learn skills like this, I found the app to be quite helpful. The app does allow for a lot of customization. I could actually take a photo of Little Miss M's room, and then of the items that are never put back correctly. The directions are pretty helpful in figuring out how to customize the scenes and objects for your needs. 
Suggestions
As an adult, I did like this app. However, if I approach this from my kids' perspective, I think these routine chores should be more fun as part of a game. No, refilling the toilet paper roll is not a joyous occasion, but a fun sound in addition to the words saying I got it correct would add a lot to the app. I also think games interspersed within the scenes would have added another dimension. Perhaps a timed challenge to how fast you can put things in the right places. Lastly, I would like a function in the app where I can track my child's actual progress in completing the scenes in real life. 
General opinion
This app is helpful and functional for teaching kids to clean up and put away certain items. The customization is great and allows for a diverse use of the app. For me, the app was missing that fun "wow" factor that would motivate children to not only complete the app tasks, but to complete the tasks in real life. 
Sarah
Rating
Strengths
I love the concept behind this app.  Most kids could use a little work on cleaning up and knowing how to put things away in the proper place.  It's a great way to work on following directions and specifically multi-step related directions.  The ability to customize from your own camera roll is awesome.  It's great to be able to make the tasks more meaningful to a child by using their own classroom and familiar items/toys. 
Suggestions
It's too quiet.  There's no background music or sound effects when an item is put away correctly or when the scene is completed.  I'd like a voiceover to name the object or tell where it should be placed in the scene.  I found the placement of a few items in the pre-made scenes to be a little confusing.  My family doesn't keep the remote in the entertainment center.  Luckily you can edit to make changes.

The customization is a great feature, but I had trouble getting an item sized correctly to an existing picture scene.  It would be nice to have a bigger list of available items to choose from without having to take your own pictures.  
General opinion
I found this app to be useful for work on following directions, and I would use it again.  The lack of music/sound/reinforcers made it feel a little boring so I don't see my students requesting to play.  The customization features are a great idea, but I thought they were somewhat difficult to use.  I think this app has great potential, and I'd like to see what future updates might hold. 
Heather S.
Rating
Strengths
Teach My Kids provides a unique way to teach children about cleaning and putting items where they belong. It is easy to use, and is customizable. I like that items can be added and removed from each scene, including personal pictures. New scenes can be added with pictures also, so if a user wanted to put a picture of an actual room in their house, they could.
Suggestions
I would like to see a language component added to the app. It would be great if the app asked the child to put a specific item in a certain spot. The use of position words and directions would benefit many children. A voice saying the names of objects would be a great addition also. Praises, rewards or even games, such as timing the clean-up, would make this app more engaging for a child also.

I found it difficult to resize the pictures that I took to fit in the scene well. I would like for there to be more items to choose from in the app.
General opinion
Teach My Kid is a good app for teaching about cleaning, but it is not a highly engaging app. There is no praise for a child putting things away correctly and no noise at all. This app would be good to use as a visual for a child when putting items up, but not as a consistent practice or game app. This app has some great potential, but it needs a bit more added to it to make it completely beneficial for a child.
Heather H.
Rating
Strengths
Teach My Kid uses real pictures of rooms to help kids learn where things go and how to clean up well. There are six sample rooms, and it’s surprisingly easy to add a new scene. Simply take a picture of the room in question, then place different objects and indicate where they go. Additional items can be added easily, too. Currently the stock items are icons, not actual photos, but the user can add photos of actual objects if needed. This is great for users who need to use photos to comprehend.
Suggestions
The tutorial was not helpful to me. With no pictures, it was hard to figure out what to do—adding pictures into the tutorial (or overlaying it onto an actual scene) would help. Thankfully the app was easy enough to figure out without the tutorial. I was surprised by how much I missed any sound, as someone who really loves a mute button. However, there is absolutely no sound in this app, and no way to add any on custom scenes. With no reinforcement sounds or games, parents may find this app turns into a “forced” activity—children will not likely select it on their own. Adding in the ability to record sound would allow the user to pair the items with a verbal vocabulary word, extending the usefulness of the app. Adding video would also be nice, to be able to have some visual demonstrations of how to complete each task.
General opinion
The app has a lot of potential usefulness. It’s a great concept, and further development could make it into a must-have teaching app. The customization of the app is excellent. Being able to add audio and visual would make it even better.

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