How I Use It
I used this app as a center for our PreK students to learn new Spanish vocabulary and practice letter recognition and making words in English. Our Spanish teacher has also started using it with the students.
The students were engaged and excited by the little "GoGo Lingo" characters in the app and the stories that are connected to the Spanish activities (e.g., the character wants to tell you a secret so you have to say "cerca" bring it closer). I did have some difficulty maintaining students' engagement after a few passes around our small group circle because the response time in the app was sometimes quite slow (between saying a word in Spanish and having the character act on it), leading students to start speaking more loudly, tap the screen repeatedly, and get frustrated. The loading screen between games was also longer than ideal. Part of that was probably due to us working in the classroom while so many other activities were happening, creating a lot of background noise. Aside from the delays, students liked that they could speak to the iPad and see a tangible reaction and also choose between the different activities on the main screen.
As a teaching tool, I think the app holds a lot of potential because of the controls in the Parent Section. From there, you can control the amount of English/Spanish introduced (it increases automatically as students' pronunciation improves) and you can track the progress of students in the Word Builder section. The Word Builder section also breaks down the different levels of understanding and ability so you can measure yourself how the students are doing. In the Settings, you can control the pronunciation accuracy, changing the sensitivity to fit different students' Spanish speaking abilities. I like that the app brings together both Spanish and English practice and uses games to introduce vocabulary and engage students in interacting with the content instead of passively receiving it. The responsiveness of the app (growing with the student) and the different levels (e.g, 1-3) in the Word Builder section make the app more robust and valuable in the classroom to both differentiate and be useful over a longer period of time. I'm a bit hesitant about students earning toys for their "Toy Shelf" in the app as they progress/succeed. I don't think those rewards are needed because the success of having the characters respond is enough reinforcement for most students and I wish there was a way to set up different student accounts. The app does do a great job providing audio and visual instructions for pre-literate students.