SoundShoot

SoundShoot

Updated Nov, 21st 2014

Updates:

  1. Added a summary and a roadmap (2 Feb 2013)

Summary

SoundShoot is a a simple listening practice game for ESL students and teachers. You hear a word (e.g. 'bat') and you tap on the sound you hear (in this case /æ/) and if you get it right, you get points.  For many learners, it's difficult to hear the differences between certain sounds. For example, my Indonesian students have a really hard time differentiating between 'bat' and 'bet' - to them, they're the same sound. This is where SoundShoot comes in.

Video

I made a crappy mockup in Apple Motion (my first time using it too, so please be gentle!) - the concept is similar to clay pigeon shooting or NES Classic 'Duck Hunt'. The longer you wait to tap (shoot) the sound, the fewer points you get. If you tap the wrong sound, you get minus points. If you can differentiate the sounds 10x in a row, you get a little badge and get to share it with your friends on Fb..

Learners can choose their first language (e.g. Japanese) and get to practice the sounds that speakers of that language struggle with the most ('see' vs 'she' and 'row' vs 'low' for our Japanese friends for example)

Users could unlock fancier pigeons and different backgrounds as they progress in the game.

Gameplay


Once you've selected your minimal pairs (words that are only separated by one similar sound, such as ship and sheep), you can hit the range. Controls are super simple. Tap the sound you hear, that's it. Maybe too simple?

As you progress, the sounds fly faster and will become harder to tap and words will get longer. Eventually words will turn to full sentences and the player will have to listen for just that one sound, E.g. 

"She continued to play" vs "She continued to pray" Here, /r/ and /l/ are directly followed by a /p/ which makes it more difficult to discern. This would be a high-scoring item. 'Bat' vs 'bet' would be low score.

App building roadmap

  1. Basic gameplay - A stage, two sounds, tap the right one to score, tap the wrong one to lose points
  2. Add interactive phonemic chart - a soundboard that let's learners see what the phonemic symbols look and sound like  (like this one)
  3. Add more sounds - 10 similar sounds (/r/ vs /l/, /ɪ/ vs /iː/, etc) with 5 minimal pairs each (pray vs play, free vs flee, grow vs glow, row vs low and bro vs blow for /r/ vs /l/ for example)
  4. Add target accents  players can choose from American, UK and Australian English
  5. Tailor sounds to first language  - players select their first language and are presented with sounds that are particularly difficult for them. E.g. German speakers would practice /w/ vs /v/ and /s/ vs /θ/, Japanese speakers /r/ vs /l/ and /siːv/ʃiː/
  6. Add 20 more sounds, with a minimum of 10 minimal pairs each

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