TV Teacher: writing abc's-lowercase is based on the award-winning DVD’s, activities and workbooks on building the foundations of handwriting through a multisensory approach. The app version is currently still in transition as all intended features have not been added yet, but it is fully functional and ready for use. The app’s completed version will be equipped as envisioned by the developers within a few months as an update. Created by a knowledgeable (and fun) Occupational Therapist with years of experience with teaching handwriting skills and a very ingenious Mom, Alphabet Beats uses video modeling, rhythmic chants/songs and opportunities to trace lowercase letters given a directional prompt and pathway. The app lends itself to use it first to trace letters with your finger and then move on up to the use of a stylus. On opening, you are presented with a chalkboard and can choose any letter. Miss Marnie is there to greet you with a smile and demonstrates making the letter along with its rhyme. The pairing of the video and audio really helps to integrate the material. By using vision, hearing, and motor together while learning something new, a child is able to better retain both the sequence and flow of “doing” and in this case….writing. This also helps to transition off the iPad and into real life experiences and activities as those sequences are “set” and ready to go.
On the tracking page, I like how the child is given a multitude of choices of colors, allowing them some control and investment in the task of writing. Visual and auditory prompts can be repeated as well as a chance to start over if need be. There is an added feature that I really like, and that is the opportunity to use a blank page to either draw the letter independently or give a child that is getting overstimulated or frustrated a break immediately.
The developers do plan on adding the feature of being able to monitor if the child does indeed form the letter incorrectly. Other things I would love to see if possible for future updates would be to have the upper and lower case letter programs bundled together, log progress for more than one student, and having a button to go to either the next or previous letter. A parents section for some of the innovative activities that Miss Marnie has for carryover in the home or classroom would also be a welcome addition either on their website, www.thetvteacher.com or embedded in the app.
This is one app I definitely want to keep my eye on, as its multisensory approach is applicable to so many of our special needs kids. The simple and direct format along with some fun can be motivational for many kids.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently, works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that "her kids" grow up to be healthy independent learners.