Friday, May 16, 2014

Top App for Auditory Memory: Auditory Memory Ride

Purpose of App: To improve auditory memory by completing various tasks at increasing levels of difficulty.

Strengths: The multitude of tasks for students to practice their auditory memory by recognizing and recalling digits, words & sentences, details, and questions from short paragraphs.  The ability to add background noise to the tasks is also useful.

Weaknesses: The helicopter reward game is not overly reinforcing or exciting, especially when compared to reward games in other Virtual Speech Center apps.

Suggested Audience: Targeted for ages 6-13, but appropriate for anyone needing to practice auditory memory skills. 

Bottom Line: Auditory Memory Ride is a brand new app designed to improve auditory memory. It contains a great variety of tasks with customizable options. It is a higher-priced app, but it is definitely worth the investment.

Meets Intended Goal
Worth the Price
Ease of Use
Educational Value
Level of Customization 

If you would like to download Auditory Memory Ride ($17.99 for a limited time, iPad), please show your support by using our link: 

**Only the app's developer can control when an app is on sale or not. All apps that we post as on sale are the listed price at the time of this post. We make no guarantees otherwise.** (regular price $19.99)
** Please note: This app does have external links to other related app purchases, but they can easily be disabled in the settings of your device. There are also links for providing feedback. 

Virtual Speech Center Inc. released their newest app at the beginning of May, and it's currently on sale for Better Hearing and Speech Month.  Although it is a higher-priced app, it is definitely worth the investment for professionals, especially those who work with students with central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), autism, receptive or expressive language disorder or who are deaf/hard of hearing.

Auditory Memory Ride has more than 1000 stimuli with pre-recorded audio and the ability to introduce background noise. Adding this background noise makes the app more closely replicate real life listening, and provides functional practice for those with auditory memory deficits. As anyone who has ever been to a noisy party knows, it's always more difficult to hear with a lot of background noise. For those with auditory deficits, that difficulty is even more pronounced. Once the verbal stimuli is presented, the app can also be adjusted to provide a delay before seeing the visual stimuli, anywhere from no delay to 15 seconds, another way to specifically target the app to individual needs.

The app includes four categories. The first, digits and numbers, provides the student an opportunity to listen to and recall various sequences. The sequence is then typed into a calculator as the numbers are added up.  Unfortunately, the answer is not provided, making the need for a calculator function unknown, and it seems to take away from the original task and leaves the student with an unanswered question. 

The second category targets recognizing and recalling related words, unrelated words and sentences, with varying levels of difficulty in each section. After the words are presented, visually attractive pictures are presented and the student selects the answer. These pictures provide great visual support This is my favorite section as I find there is a lack of apps to help with memory recall, especially unrelated words.  

Recognizing and recalling two objects is the goal in the third category.  There are four levels of difficulty, starting out with items such as "blue book" or "orange ruler."  However, the items that are slanted are called crooked, which is a vocabulary choice that might be difficult for some students. In my own usage, "crooked" refers to something jagged, and I found my students were confused at this terminology. It may be region-specific, but changing the adjective to something that more clearly describes the picture would be better. Aside from that one example, the items are well chosen for the task.

The last category has six levels of paragraphs, ranging from 3-7 sentences. Yes/No, multiple choice and open-ended questions are asked after the paragraph is read aloud the text is also printed on the screen. The questions presented with auditory input and students are presented with multiple choices from which to select the correct answer. It's easy to listen to the paragraph again, too, at any time it's needed. The paragraphs are well written and questions are relevant.

In each category, the option of repeating the question prompt is provided and easy to use. The next question is not given until 'next' is touched in the top right hand corner, which allows plenty of time for the therapist or teacher to debrief the answer before moving on. I found it most helpful when a student was unfamiliar with an item or word. As the picture remained on the screen, it became an additional teaching opportunity to build vocabulary.

 In addition to all of the content, there is a robust settings section to Auditory Memory Ride, with quite a few things can be modified for a particular student or situation. As already mentioned, the ability to have different types of background noise is a great feature. Rarely do we have any situation that is as quiet as a therapy room! The app gives a choice of white noise, children in a classroom and an outdoor setting, complete with birds chirping.

The delay of stimulus can be changed from none, to 5, 10 or 15 seconds.  The bonus reward game can also be enabled or disabled. In comparison to the other games that Virtual Speech Center has created, I find this reinforcer game lacks challenge and enticement for the students. Although it does give the student a break from working, the premise of a helicopter collecting coins and trying to avoid crashing has not been a favorite amongst my students.

There is also nice data collection within the app, and it can be backed up, restored, emailed and viewed by date and goal. This is nice added feature for professionals who frequently report on student progress, and also helpful to send directly to parents after each session.

Overall, this is an excellent app for working on auditory memory for a variety students. SLP's, LSLS Certified AVT and Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing would definitely benefit from the solid research that is evident in the creation of this app.

Wendy is happy, but tired after spending two wonderful days with the annual Special Olympics Swim Meet held by her school board.

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