Not All Apps are Created Equal. These are the 5 Free Best.
by Laura O'Grady
As a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who works with all ages with a wide range of diagnoses and needs, I am always looking for versatile apps that support a variety of users. Here is my review of five free sign language apps, ranked by how engaging they were, the uniqueness of the app, the content of the app, and if they were completely FREE with no in-app purchases or pop-ups.
#1 Sign Me ABCs
Sign Me ABCs is an app that met all of my criteria. It’s FREE, with no in-app purchases or pop ups marketing other apps or websites. The app contains 4 menus; the fingerspelling alphabet, animals, a game, and a song. Letters and animals were presented with a colorful cartoon images and video clips of children signing. The game mode showed video clips of letters and animals, and provided the user with 3 multiple choice answers. The unique song allowed users to practice their new animal signs or letters along with signs and cartoon images. My favorite part was how inclusive the app was, featuring children with varying developmental challenges. I also appreciated that the background music could be turned on or off, while the voiceover of the words and letters remained. This app was highly engaging and useful for a variety of audiences.
#2 Sign Me A Story
Sign Me A Story is also completely FREE and is made by the same non-profit as Sign Me ABCs (www.gracesigns.org). The app contains 4 creative stories, 2 of which allow the user to choose words mad-libs style and then have the story play back silly-style. As the user, you have the option of listening to the story in its entirety, reading the story yourself and clicking on words to activate video clips, or clicking on a word list to review all signs. This unique app gives the user context in which to learn new vocabulary, instead of a dictionary style format.
#3 Sign School
A good FREE app that contains many video clips of a wide variety of vocabulary, searchable through a dictionary or by topic. Users have the option of watching the sign in real-time or slow motion. There is however, no sound associated with each word, so my hearing clients would need someone to provide that.
#4 Marlee Signs
Another FREE app. Though it does have in-app purchases there are no pop-up ads possibly resulting in accidental purchases. The FREE version includes one library of early pronouns, phrases, letter, and numbers. It also has an option where the user can enter a word and learn how to fingerspell it. Again, there was no verbal input associated with the signing, so hearing clients would need additional support when learning new words.
#5 The ASL App
A FREE app, however it has both in-app purchases and a pop-up advertisement at the bottom of the home screen. This app contains video clips of the alphabet, numbers, universal gestures/functional signs. It does not have any sound associated with the words, but it does have a slow motion re-play option.
by Guest Blogger
CA License: SP 14483