By Ryan Orilio, Apple Distinguished Educator
Shake-A-Phrase, from ArtGig, is a young learning app that teaches parts of speech in an engaging and fun way. As an app for children ages 6-12, Shake-a Phrase is a good tool for teaching parts of speech and language, but I feel like the app has not yet reached it’s potential.
The app can be used in three modes. “Shake it” will shake up a silly sentence for you to read and identify the parts of speech. “Story Starter” generates a silly question for you to answer. It is an attempt to start a funny story and have the user finish it. “Quiz Me” generates a random sentence and asks the user to identify parts of the sentence.
When using in “Shake it” mode you can select from 5 themes for the sentences: Sports, Monsters, Fairytale, Animals, and the Shake Starter. An example from the Fairytale theme: “The noisy and witty wolf grabbed a stinky orphan.” That is great because it allows children to learn and play with words and phrases that they may already be a bit familiar with.
When you touch a word in the sentence, the app highlights the word, identifies the part of speech, and offers a definition of the word. It would be great if the definition of the word was able to link to a WWW search, but it does not. According to ArtGig there are more than 2000 words that the app has to choose from, which means that it will be a long time before you run out of new sentence combinations! However, the app will only let the users identify nouns, adjectives, and verbs. So there are words in every generated sentence that cannot be tapped on for identification.