Published on April 7th, 2012 | by Robin Parker0
HijAACked! Toca Boca Kitchen Monsters
Toca Boca App Developers make general education preschool apps. They are dedicated to providing interactive play opportunities using mobile technology. We have loved every one of their apps since we first saw them. There seems to be some philosophical similarities between the Toca Boca Apps and so we will begin with why we love ALL of them. We have found them to be engaging to all ages (including us). They also provide practice and interaction with life experiences in a fun and pretend tech way. We love the beautiful artwork. We love that they are reasonably priced, often participate in ‘give aways’ and they even do free GIFTS (think Toca Hair Salon Christmas Gift and now Toca Kitchen Monsters). We use these apps so often that we can say we have officially HijAACked them for PrAACtical AAC.
We have HijAACked ALL of these apps to use with AAC systems because they promote teaching through:
- joint action routine practice- can take different roles & predictable sequences
- multiple choice making opportunities can choose characters as well as many aspects of the activity (foods, colors, hair accessories, spices, etc)
- modified social story experiences or as we like to call it personal participation story experiences allows learners to have various illnesses, cook on hot stoves, eat foods, change hair colors; these are experiences that often can not be experienced on demand.
- making abstract experiences more-concrete shows how things work that can not be seen typically during the experience (the stomach, tasting over spiced foods, etc)
- providing focused opportunities to talk about past events – allows you to photograph ‘creations’ for later discussion, writing,
- providing focused opportunities for commenting- the characters often give a specific photo comment as you take the picture (think paint my wings)
- providing low stress learning- (for both learner and adult facilitator) there are no in-app purchases, no timing to complete activities, no win/loss scores, and no negative error messages
Since Toca Kitchen Monsters was just ‘delivered’ as a gift, here are some of the specific ways we had when we first HijAACked it for PrAACtical AAC (I am sure we will do a lot more):
- Core Language Practice- We have many opportunities to use common verbs, nouns & noun modifiers (have you seen the amazing artwork), pronouns, and expletives
- Lexical diversity: How many ways can we say “this is great”: “awesome, wonderful, best ever, super” or say “this is terrible”: ”awful, terrible, disgusting, worst”
- More lexical diversity: How many ways can we say “This is so funny”?: ”it’s hysterical, funny, crazy”
- Dialogue: the monster says: “I want food please” , “You put too much salt in here” , “it is so overcooked”
- Causality: ”cook it again because it’s still raw” , “We need the microwave so it will cook faster”, “We need salt so it will not be bland”, I never had a tomato because my mom does not buy them”.
- Morphology: Changing present tense verbs to irregular past tense. “eat, ate, spit, spat, see, saw” or Changing present to regular past: “cook, cooked, turn, turned, wait, waited, time timed”, fry, fried, mix mixed”.
- Communication Range- Commenting: “wow, funky looking, disgusting, delicious”, Requesting- “I want pepper”, “Give my monster the bowl”, Take a picture now”, Protesting (appropriately)- “nah, i do not want that, I’ll try it later, no thanks, don’t give it to my monster, no way”, showing off- “Wow my food is the best, my monster loved it and yours did not”, “I am a great cook”, Requesting Information- “whats that ?, what did you cook?, how did you make it?
- New fringe vocabulary vegetarian ( who knew that some monsters were vegetarians?), chef, pastry chef
- Inferencing language- What do you think happens if you mix a tomato and then microwave it? What do you think Monsters like to eat? Why do the Monsters spit some of the food and not other food?