Saturday, September 14, 2013

Android, Windows and iOS app: 4 Pics 1 Word

4 Pics 1 Word App
4 Pics 1 Word for Windows RT, for Android devices on Google Play, and for iOS devices from iTunes (all are free at this time). Also available for Nook from Barnes and Noble, and for Kindle from Amazon (these cost $0.99, and possibly are from a different developer).

What it is: A simple puzzle that presents 4 pictures that have one word in common, and you have to guess what that word is. See screen shot below where the target word is "sweet".

The gameplay is simple. Just start it and it presents 4 pictures on the screen (beautiful and high resolution), 12 letters, and blanks for each letter of the target word. Figure out what word the 4 pictures have in common and fill in the answer. You can turn off the sound if you want (although it's not annoying, just sound effects for when you select letters) and you can turn off the notifications re "buying" hints and such. As you progress through the puzzle, you win "coins" with each correct answer, and then you can purchase hints with these coins. Players can also buy these "coins" via in-app purchase.

How we can use it in Tx: Solve the puzzles with your client, providing cues as needed. You can talk about each picture of the 4 presented per puzzle, ask questions and elicit replies. In many cases the target word has more than one meaning (e.g., "sign" where it could be a noun or a verb) which provides context for some great language intervention. Solving the puzzles is great, but the path to solving each puzzles provides context for some useful interaction.

The main problem with this app is that you can't go back to puzzles you've solved (unless you remove the app and reinstall it, presumably). The puzzles do get progressively more difficult but very gradually and not by much. It's not optimal but for now you can use it until it's too difficult for your population, then reinstall and start from the beginning. And hopefully down the road, there will be a setting to go back to solved puzzles/restart the progress. On the other hand, it's free so expectations for greater customization are rather low.

Goals we can target in Tx with this app: Language goals that involve word-finding and naming are addressed rather straightforwardly, but there's also good use of repetition and Q/A that can be useful in addressing apraxia and dysarthria goals. Describing and discussing the 4 pictures presents a great opportunity to practice verbal expression. Reasoning is addressed with solving the puzzles, and focus/attention can be addressed as well (presenting 4 different pictures to solve for one word would require some cuing for focus for quite a few of my current clients). A client with lateral neglect may benefit from having to give equal attention to all 4 pictures to solve the puzzle. And you can always address memory goals with recall of pictures.

Some specific examples: Just a couple of examples of the less straightforward uses of the puzzle.

1. Memory goals: after discussing each of the 4 pictures and, hopefully, solving the puzzle, turn off the device and recall the 4 images. Start by cuing with the common word, then provide additional cues as needed.

2. Homographs/homonyms: address the various meanings of the target words as they come up in the puzzle. Since it will be as part of the puzzle-solving activity, and since the differing meanings of the words are in most cases what make the puzzle (e.g., in the screen shot above the actual taste of something vs. a synonym for "cute"), you'll have a great opportunity for this type of activity in  context (rather than a rote list of words as part of a structured task).

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