Language Empires by Smarty Ears is a massive app focused on teaching students about a variety of communication skills. From answering basic questions to more in depth reading tasks, the app covers many different topics in a unique way. As a teaching tool, I can easily see this being a top pick for educators.
Language Empires is an enormously in-depth experience, providing students with a huge variety of skills to practice. Developed by speech language pathologists, this app showcases a wide range of communication tasks. Using eight ancient civilizations as the map for these skills, players explore the realms of Which, How, and Why questions, as well as Predicting, Inferencing, Figurative Language, Sequencing, and Vocabulary.
Parents and teachers begin by creating files for students who use the program. By choosing an image or avatar and customizing student profiles, adults can hand pick which tasks students should focus on. Simply drop a player into any or all of the civilizations for practice. When users are finished, teachers can access score reports to check on the percentage of correct answers, as well as a graph of overall performance. Sharing results is easy with options to open in a variety of programs and formats including mail or print.
The program is similar for each of the eight civilizations. Players are read aloud short scenarios and asked a question related to whichever skill they are working on. Users select one of three choices. A note here that while the question is read aloud, the answer choices are not. Most answers choices are at an upper elementary reading level.
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Language Empires earned a top pick status for educators, not just because of its enormous size but for the depth of skills available for practice. How, Which, and Why questions are by far the hardest type of question to answer. Giving students a place to practice these is genius. The other skills covered are also all essential skills, and honestly, I've not seen any apps dealing with inferencing or predicting. Having the Figurative Language, Vocabulary, and Sequencing all in the same app just makes a teacher's life a little easier! The level of question is of moderate rigor, making the app appropriate for upper elementary students. All of the different skills come with 2 or 3 levels (customizable on the main map), except Figurative Language and How questions. Additionally, the ability to track and monitor student accuracy is a boon to any parent or teacher. It holds students accountable for their progress by giving adults a chance to assess independent practice.
A Note to the Developer - I would love to see the app offer an option for the answer choices to be read aloud as well. I teach low level readers and without the ability to read the answer choices, the app becomes dependent on a teacher to assist the student. I'd love to have this app be completely independent.
Overall, this app has a ton to offer teachers and parents looking to increase student communication and English Language Arts skills. The questions are challenging, the interface easy to use and engaging, and the sheer wealth of skills impressive. I've already introduced this one to my students and they are loving it!
Language Empires is available for download via the iTunes App Store - iPad and iPad Mini app
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, a special education teacher, and a technology coach. She is a self proclaimed nerd with a passion for incorporating technology into education and you read her findings at The iLesson Lady
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.