WordToob: Language Learning with Video Modeling

  wordtoob_icon_appstore_1024WordToob, by John Halloran, is a powerful app for learning and demonstrating the meaning of vocabulary from different perspectives.  I was simply amazed by the number of uses for this app.
  • Learning the meaning of words in a generalized manner
  • Video Modeling for specific actions/social skills (washing hands, saying hello)
  • Sharing an activity (school day, birthday party, visit the zoo)
  • To supplement learning to communicate with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
I took some time to create a verb board using some familiar PECS images.  You can choose photos from among your image library or others that you have access to.  For purposes of this review, I chose images from my PICS for PECS CD.  Boards can contain 1-84 cells/words depending on what you need for your student.


When the user taps a picture, the word is spoken and a quick video appears to offer a visual meaning of the word.  To give you an idea I have taken a screenshot of one of the videos for the word open.  The videos are just short clips and should be kept to 3-5 seconds.  One of the great features of this app is that you place multiple videos (up to four) with different perspectives and they will appear randomly to help the user with generalization.  Create videos from the users perspective opening a container or a peer opening a door, a parent opening a car door, etc.  This app allows you to create just what is needed for each individual user.  Create multiple user boards with user-specific vocabulary…..the ideas are endless.

Picture 2

Overall the app is quite simple to use and the developer has created quite a few YouTube videos to support the app and for learning how to use it. The app has two game features for learning; Free Play or Find the Word.  The settings may be adjusted to show the symbol (picture) and a word or word only.  In addition, the speech output can be turned on/off as well as voice selection. In Free Play the user just taps a word on the board to hear the word and then view a short video clip.  If multiple videos (up to four) are added then each time the word is tapped a video will randomly be displayed. In Find the Word. a word is spoken, the user taps the word and a video displays.  There are options within the setting to change this gameplay to meet the types of cues that may be needed to be successful: Video First, Video and Word First, Video Last or No Video. Speech Recognition Software has been built into this app for both English and Spanish.  The microphone is sensitive and this feature will not work well in an environment with background noise.  I do like the fact that this feature offers a nice cause and effect for the student using their language.  For this to work best, a board can be set up to offer minimal words (2-4), the microphone turned on and a word (or word approximation) spoken and then the video that has been created to go along with the word will display.  This can be quite effective for allowing a student to attach meaning to their spoken word.  As the developer has pointed out in his YouTube video explaining the feature, “it’s not perfect”; however it is another powerful feature of this app. Suggestion/Future Updates: I would love to see file sharing within this app so that a board can be shared on multiple devices without having to re-create it.  In addition, a nice feature would be to use a current board and have an option to add cells/words to it.


  About the Author -1Jackie Bryla is a school based SLPA in California. Her experience includes working with transitional kindergarten through high school age students as well as the functional skills population in the public schools. She regularly presents iPad Training for California State University Sacramento, American River College, and San Joaquin Delta College speech and language programs. Jackie is also the founder of act – Apps, Consulting, and Training. She is an app beta tester for educational app developers. Jackie is a board member of the California Speech-Language Hearing Association (CSHA) and is an active CSHA District 2 Advisory Committee member in the Sacramento area. Jackie received the outstanding SLPA for CSHA in 2012.
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1 Response

  1. Helen Wagner

    Excellent review! I am going to enjoy trying out this app!

  2. […] WordToob, by John Halloran, is a powerful app for learning and demonstrating the meaning of vocabulary from different perspectives. I was simply amazed by the number of uses for this app.  […]