Verbal Volley for iPad
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Academics' Choice Award™ Winner

Verbal Volley for iPad

Ages: 8 and up
Price: $4.99
Type: App (iPad)
By Mindfull Games


Mindfull Games released Verbal Volley for iPad in January 2014. It is a virtual replica of the Verbal Volley card game that won the Academics' Choice Brain Toy Award and two Dr. Toy Awards. Players race to name synonyms and antonyms for 280 high frequency and concept words that are important to literacy. Then, like in a game of hot potato, players try to hand off the Brain Freeze by naming words. If they run out of words, they get stuck with the Brain Freeze and lose points.

The iPad app has several computer-based improvements, yet Verbal Volley for iPad maintains the face-to-face interaction of card game play, so that language concept learning can occur with the requisite human interactions between two or more individuals. Here are some things that teachers wanted that using an iPad allowed us to do:

Thesaurus link: Our app automatically links to an online thesaurus for immediate reference during game challenges or when a word is unknown. Using such references is a classroom learning goal, and it requires active learning. We have allowed teachers and families the freedom to choose whichever thesaurus they prefer and put that thesaurusí URL into our app.

Record keeping: On the iPad, a teacher, literacy specialist or speech pathologist can keep track of which Verbal Volley words were targeted in a game and whether students were successful naming synonyms and antonyms for them. The lists of won words and lost words can be labeled and emailed or downloaded for reference. Comparing lists allows for assessment of learning over time.

A new classroom board mode: Teachers can mirror the iPad on their classroom whiteboard, or hold the iPad set to classroom mode in front of a group. This gives the flexibility of playing as a large class before assessing progress individually in the tabletop card game replica mode.

New evidence-based expanded spaced retrieval feature: When a word is presented and a synonym or antonym canít be named, players look up the word in the thesaurus and study it. Then Verbal Volley for iPad presents the word that was just studied again immediately, after several intervening words, and again after an even larger number of intervening words, etc. There is research evidence that this sort of requirement for expanded spaced retrieval of newly learned verbal information helps store it in long-term memory.

Word lists: We have pre-selected several word lists of the type that teachers need to target in the classroom. There is a word list that has players use prefixes and suffixes, a word list that is easiest for the youngest players, and separate lists for the first and second halves of Fryís high frequency word list.

Auditory presentation of stimulus words: Students who donít know how to pronounce the words they see will hear them spoken every time they play, unless they choose to turn off the sound.

Background color change option: In classroom play mode, players with dyslexia can choose to alter the background color of the text presentation, in case they find a certain color is easier on their eyes.

A built-in timer: For those who choose to play with time pressure, the rounds of the game are timed automatically. As always, players may choose to use turn-taking, manually advance rounds and keep the timer off.

We arrived at the above Verbal Volley for iPad features by beta testing our app in several schools and in a research university department of communication sciences and disorders.

You can see the evidence-base for Verbal Volley's game design by visiting and clicking the "View the Evidence" button.

Review Highlights:

This is a great vocabulary game. It reinforces word use and definition, getting you to think under pressure with timed play. Custom word lists are great for expanding vocabulary, as is the thesaurus for "?" words. Classroom mode is great when projected.

Buy this product at:

iTunes App Store

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