Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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11 June 2012

TOS Review: Rainbow Sentences

Mobile Education Tools sent our family a link for their "Rainbow Sentences" app to review recently. Our iPad has been doing quite a bit of world traveling over the last month with my husband, so he ended up playing around with the app for this review more than anyone else in our family :-).

Rainbow Sentences is a product that is made for the iPad and specifically targets special needs and then general education students. The recommended ages are 3-6 and 6-10, but we disagree. While many of the parts of the program have the ability to "speak" this app isn't really going to help a child who can't read/doesn't have a good idea about words. For example, while the words that you're moving to make a sentence are said, if you don't know that there's a horse in the picture, you won't be able to build "the horse is jumping." It would also be nice if the pictures were interactive. We can see this app being a good one to supplement whatever teaching is being done at home/school for special needs children, but given a few hours our 6 and 7 year olds could complete all of the sentences this product has to offer while our 4 year old (with Aspergers) would find this difficult.

This program works by providing 3 levels of learning where they build pre made sentences by looking at a picture, then dragging jumbled words from the bottom of the page to the blank lines on top. In the setup for the app you're able to turn color coding of the words on and off... which also adds a degree of complexity since you can go through the product with the words and lines color coded, then go through again having turned one or both sets off (I hope that makes sense!) The visual support is nice and is potentially very helpful.

Along with this concept we learn that "the who" of the sentence is red etc. While this feature is great, at no time do we actually connect that this "who" is the subject of the sentence. This one thing was my husband's biggest issue with the app. He wanted to hear at least a mention of subject, noun, verb, but only got "who, what, when, where, why" and that bothered him. A connection between what is being learned visually with the word that is used in real world application would be great! While you could get away with this method of introducing sentence parts in homeschool for a while, in our minds you would need to at least throw out the word "subject" just so that the child at least hears the word in relation to what they're working with. Just a thought :-)

This video provides an overview of the product (I'd skip ahead to about minute 2 to see the app in action):

The other thing that I would tweak would be to add the ability to have students create their own sentences, or at least add updates for free that would allow children more practice. As it stands right now there is an end to Rainbow Sentences, once all the sentences/levels are gone through there isn't any more that can be done with it. While this probably wouldn't bother me if the app cost was cheaper, I think the price (listed below) begs to have a littler more versatility or added lifespan of use. Personally, at the given price I wouldn't be interested in the product, but then again, if my older children that are in a position to use this app currently, had special needs I would probably reconsider. Many of the current reviews on Rainbow Sentences state how wonderful it has been for many children on the Autism spectrum.

Additional features on the app include:
*the ability to record your voice, or child's, saying the correct sentence and then save it for later use.
*statistics (how many tries it took to get the sentence correct)
*the ability to email statistics
*a simple reward system of getting a puzzle piece for completing a certain number of sentences, and then at level completion the puzzle is finished and does a short animation (this is neat, and I like that it's rewarding without being lavish... one thing that would be nice is to say the goal "get 5 sentences correct for a puzzle piece" otherwise, again, the non-readers are left out if mom and dad aren't right there).

My husband happily reported the design is SOLID. He spends quite a bit of time helping developers to improve their app designs, and this is one that he enjoyed from the aspect that it didn't have any crashing issues and that it performed exactly the way that the information page said it would. All that means a lot coming from him! (I've seen the back and forth emails between him and programmers :-D).

While we do have some things that we would change about this app, and most likely won't give our older children a lot of time with it without being nearby to throw in additional information (like what parts of speech are actually called), this is probably a great app for those looking for something more to help their children with basic sentence structure. As my 4 year old gets a bit older I may find that this is perfect for his needs and I'll be sure to update this accordingly :-). As with anything else, it's worth going to take a look!

Rainbow Sentences can be purchased from the iTunes app store for $7.99

To see what other crew members are saying about this app you can go here.

**This app was provided to me free of charge for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been received.**

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