11 February 2011


Today I got the chance to get some input from students on an iTouch app for SAT grammar review.My classes were small today as a result of a  Junior PE trip. So it was my first chance to do a small, informal sample of their reactions to a different way to review. After trying out several apps,  I chose ALLEN SAT Grammar. The app contains three sections of questions: Identifying Sentence Errors, Correcting Sentence Errors and Improving Paragraphs. The free version contained a limited number of questions and lots of ads, so school chipped in 9.99 to buy the app. We loaded the app on all 10 iTouches for the single purchase.The paid version has more questions in each section than any student could ever want to finish. They are formatted like actual test questions.
   The settings enabled the player to decide on difficult questions or least used questions. We were also able to customize how long (30, 60, 90 seconds) you got to complete each question. You may return to a question to review it after reading the rationale (especially if you got it wrong). Since I am using this with multiple classes, I appreciated the ability to reset the stats after each student. You can also have the students share their results with you by email.
    We spent some time working through questions in each section. Overall, the vote was unanimous: the students liked the digital review mode, and appreciated the explanations after each question--whether you got it right or wrong. You could check your stats whenever you wanted.  It did take some time to get used to the touch mode in test taking, but everyone did better as we went along. The questions did pop up randomly on each device, so we were not always able to discuss questions as a group. The only criticism of the app was that the Improving Paragraph  section was more difficult because the reading selections were sometimes long and time was lost scrolling back and forth through them.  Also, all questions for one reading were not necessarily sequential. Not sure why.  Of course, after one passage, they had all figured out to go directly to the questions and just skim the passage for answers...smarter than me.
   This is definitely going to become a permanent part of my review course.

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