Touch and Learn – Emotions
Reviewed by Jennifer Erp of Appo Learning
Touch and Learn – Emotions is a free app intended to help children understand and interpret body language. Four images of real people will appear on the screen and a voice will say an emotion, like angry, and the child will chose which image shows a person who is angry. The app is easy to customize so familiar voices may be used instead and images of the child or people he or she knows may replace the stock images. Touch and Learn – Emotions is available only for technology running iOS. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
The app is intended for children ages 3 to 4, but it is also a valuable tool for children or young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders who have difficulty interpreting and understanding facial expressions. Because it can be easily customized with both new language, voices, and pictures, the difficulty can be altered as users become more adept. Animated transitions and game sounds are on as default, but they can be turned off for children experiencing sensory issues. The descriptive words for emotions will also help build the user’s vocabulary. As it too is easy to customize, words can be added or deleted to change the level of difficulty. The ease with which this app may be customized allows it to successfully deliver its goal- helping users learn to identify emotions- and exceed it by increasing vocabulary.
Some images are ambiguous and it may be difficult for some users to tell the difference between the pictures for some words. Parents and teachers may want to be nearby so users may ask questions easily when confronted with the harder to understand options. Alternately, parents and teachers may want to use this app with the user so they can discuss the pictures as they go along.
Touch and Learn – Emotions was developed by Alligator Apps, an educational development company whose goals enhancing reading, writing, speaking, coordination, math, and problem-solving skills, while encouraging confidence and creativity. Their logo appears while the app is loading, but there are no in-app advertisements or links to outside pages. Before the app is fully launched, there is a “more apps” option that leads clickers to a “recommended apps page in the App Store. All of these apps have been developed by Alligator Apps. The settings page also has a link directing users to “rate” the app. The commercial interest is present, but it small and does not interrupt the user playing the app.
Reviews for Touch and Learn – Emotions are fairly positive. The app is well-made with high quality pictures and is easy to use. The options to customize are popular as it allows for the creation of a unique experience for a user’s individual needs. Educator and media reviewer Jennifer Erp adds, “I can also see using this app as a quick informal assessment to see if a child is correctly noticing the facial expressions on their peers or as a game to teach more nuanced feelings than “mad, sad, glad” that younger kids typically express.” Touch and Learn – Emotions is a useful app that can help children and those with ASD learn to correctly identify facial expressions but some adult intervention may be necessary occasionally.
Review by Nikki Glassley