Scene Speak

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Scene Speak App Poster Image
Useful creation tool can help with vocabulary, expression.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn vocabulary and context on Scene Speak. Kids can also practice naming, listening, and speaking, if they are prompted to repeat the words they hear. Depending on the pages that parents or teachers create on Scene Speak -- and especially if kids use the "hot spot" feature -- kids can also learn about part-whole relationships. For example, if a kid taps on a hot spot of him- or herself in a class photo and hears the phrase "I am a classmate," that can help make the connection that they are a part of the class. Scene Speak is a useful tool to help kids learn words in the context to which they belong.

Ease of Play

This app is not intuitive, and it may take a few tries for parents to get used to the various steps and settings for creating pages and books. There's a 32-page tutorial for use with this app, both on the app and on the developer's website (website preferred, so you can view the pages you are creating and follow the directions step-by-step on the website). It's not intuitive on the creating (Edit Mode) side, but the Play Mode is very easy to use.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Scene Speak is like a create-and-store digital library for photo books, flash cards, diagrams, and more. Parents or teachers can make photo books of kids' favorite stories, family photos, vocabulary words, and almost anything else they need to practice vocabulary skills. There's a 32-page tutorial on the app and its developer's website, which most first-time users will need to follow because the process of making the pages and books isn't intuitive. There are many features here, including uploading images from your device's camera or the Internet, adding your own voice or using text-to-voice audio, and creating "hot spots" on the pages that kids can tap to hear and see the word associated with the object in that section of the page. Once parents or teachers master the basics, Scene Speak can grow into a customized resource that's easy for kids to use.

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What's it about?

SCENE SPEAK opens into the Visual Screen Display (VSD) Library containing pre-made visual pages: Park, Child's Bedroom, Doctor's Office, and more. Tap on one, and the page opens to reveal items inside that room or details of a diagram. Tap on My Books and "edit mode" to create a book or VSD. You can also edit existing VSD pages and add audio. Read the help section (or the tutorial on the website for easier viewing) before trying to create a book. Scene Speak is not intuitive on the creating (Edit Mode) side, but the Play Mode is very easy to use. It can be a useful tool for creating flash cards, pages, and books to help kids learn vocabulary and self-expression.

Is it any good?

For parents who want to customize sequences of images, books, photo albums, and more for their kids, Scene Speak may be just the right app. There's a 32-page tutorial that is essential reading to get the most out of the features and to make VSDs (pages) that will be effective. Settings include being able to record your own voice or your kid's voice, using prerecorded text-to-voice, or not using audio at all. The "hot spot" feature is particularly helpful in highlighting details of a page for kids to tap and hear specific words. For the price, it would be nice to see more on-screen prompts or a video tutorial, rather than wading through such a long written help section. Still, with a bit of patience, Scene Speak can become a go-to tool to create books and pages to help your kid learn vocabulary, social stories, and more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage kids to tap on the hot spots that you create and repeat the words they hear.

  • Record audio of your kids to make a photo book in which they can hear themselves saying key words.

App details

For kids who love creativity

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