A Revolutionary Education App Worth Talking About

I work in a department that makes accommodations for students. That doesn’t mean hotel reservations or making their bed. It means helping students succeed in the classroom despite any mental or physical problem they may have. It is truly remarkable the amount of hard work that goes into making sure these students are treated equally and given the same chances as everyone else.

That’s why I got in touch with members of my department the second I happened upon Proloquo2Go. While the name may sound funny, the purpose of the app is not. It’s a revolutionary app that can dramatically cut costs because it’s an app that could quickly take the place of very (very) expensive augmentative and alternative communication technology.

Proloquo2Go lets students (or anyone) with difficulty speaking carry on a conversation. This means students can share their thoughts in real-time with teachers, chat with classmates, and basically just have an easier time trying to have their voice heard.

There’s more to this app than just the real-time conversation functionality. It also lets you build your vocabulary by creating phrases, sentences, and other sayings ahead of time. This way you’ll have a preset group of commonly used conversation pieces that you can quickly develop over time. Check out the video below to see what I mean.

The Good

First, the app actually sounds just like a pretty realistic person speaking and it’s extremely easy to understand what he or she (you can change what voice you want) is saying to you. Sure, it’s a bit digitized but it’s not much different than Apple’s Siri voice in my opinion.

Second, it’s very easy to use. Proloquo2Go features a very simplified interface for a reason. It’s meant to be as easy and fast to use as possible. There aren’t unnecessary bits of styling, social media integration, or other popular app features. It has straightforward icons that you can press to have your iPhone or iPad say what you want. Simple as that.

It is a great way to help just about anyone. A bit more from AssistiveWare, the maker of the app:

“It is also perfect for teenagers and young adults who want a device as cool as the iPhone or iPod touch. Not to mention, this a great solution for children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, developmental disabilities, or apraxia. Proloquo2Go can also serve adults with acquired disabilities such as ALS, stroke or traumatic brain injury. It can be a useful solution in hospital and rehabilitation settings.”

“Special educators, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists have found Proloquo2Go a proven communication solution for children and adults who can access the iPod touch. Educators see it as a cost-effective solution for special education. Augmentative and Alternative Communication specialists love the ease of programming and customization. Users love Proloquo2Go because it is not only powerful, but it runs on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Parents appreciate the system because it is easy to program and makes their children cool. Proloquo2Go can be used as a companion to a table top device or as a user’s sole AAC device.”

“Proloquo2Go uses Acapela Group’s state-of-the-art Text-to-Speech voices. The current version includes North American English male, female, girl and boy voices. These can be swapped for British English voices by downloading these over Wifi from inside Proloquo2Go. Support for other languages and voices is in the pipeline. Proloquo2Go provides the innovative, new VocaSpace vocabulary that is build on an extremely flexible organizational system and includes close to 8000 symbols from SymbolStix LLC. Conjugation support is provided through Ultralingua’s Grammatica technology.”

The Bad

There is only one problem with the app. It’s the price. But even this is actually not as unreasonable as you might think. The app costs $189.99 in the Apple app store right now. While it’s a lot more than Angry Birds and a fart app, it’s a whole different type of app. This app is able to replace resources that typically cost close to $10,000.

So if you add in the cost of actually purchasing an iPad or iPod Touch for a student along with this app, it’s still 20x cheaper. This does make it difficult to actually purchase the app for testing purposes but there are plenty of hands-on videos here.

Is It Worth It?

So is the app worth it? In my opinion, yes. While it may appear a bit crude and expensive, it serves a particular niche and could save school systems quite a lot of money. Certainly worth checking out if you know there is a use for it in your school district. Be sure to tell your fellow teachers and administrators about Proloquo2Go even if you’re not sure there’s a need for it in your school. The more interest in cost-saving and problem-solving apps like this, the better.

Demo Video

A student purchased an iPad with his school as well as the app and posted this review:

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