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    Using the Language Builder App and Language Builder Cards Together

    Topics: Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities, Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans, Language Builder App, Autism and Language, Autism Technology, Elementary (4-12), Parents, Lesson Plans

    So you’ve just downloaded the new Language Builder app. That means you can throw out all your paper flash cards right? NO!! As you may have already realized through our previous blogs, we are big proponents for blending hands-on and digital learning. There are so many ways that you can combine both digital and tangible resources to support deeper engagement.

    Our intent with the app is to complement, rather than replace, the physical products. We will begin a new blog series demonstrating ways to use your physical language builder cards and other Stages products in conjunction with the app. 

    Why don’t we completely switch over to digital products? In a joint position statement by the National Association for Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, it was explained, “Effective uses of technology and media are active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering; giving the child control; provide adaptive scaffolds to ease the accomplishment of tasks; and are used as one of many options to support children’s learning.” 

    We believe this wholeheartedly, and are here to help by providing ideas on blending your hands-on and digital products. 

    Lesson Description

    Students will use Language Builder cards with the Language Builder App to practice similar matching in both a digital and physical setting.

    Goals and Objectives

    • box-of-language-builder-picture-cardsBuild ability to generalize across different settings
    • Identify pictures that are similar



    Choose the target and distractor cards on the Language Builder App. Target cards (example - cookie 1, flower 1, cat 1). Choose distractor cards that are not in those categories (example – car 1, chair 1, spoon1).

     **You can choose more than 3 distractors, but keeping a small number of distractors makes it easier to change the physical cards. 

    Pull out the same cards from your language builder set. Make sure to pull out similar cards to each of the target cards.

    Set the distractor cards out and have the similar cards in a pile that you can easily reach.


    1. With the app and the physical cards set up, open up the “Similar Matching” activity on the iPad. Go through the “Similar Matching” activity once with the student without the physical cards.
    2. When the app activity is complete, do the same activity with just the physical cards.
    3. When complete, instruct the student that they are going to have to match the picture on the iPad and they have to find another similar matching picture in the cards on the table.
    4. When the target card appears on the iPad screen, find the similar card in the pile and place it with the distractor cards.
    5. Record results on data sheet


    This activity can be made simpler or more difficult by adding in more distractors, the app is limited to 4 distractor cards on the screen, but you can add more physical distractor cards.

    You can also add in position change to the app and to the physical cards for an additional level of difficulty.


    To track student progress use Similar Matching Data Sheet 3 - Click to download. 

    You've read one way of using the Language Builder app and Language Builder Cards together now check out how the app supports prompting in ABA activities. 


    Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M.

    Written by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M.

    Lindsey Dunn received her BS in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialization in literacy and teaching English as a second language. After graduating, she began teaching in an inclusive kindergarten setting in Katy Independent School District, a leader in educational technology implementation. During her time as a teacher, Lindsey worked on modifying various educational technologies to meet the range of needs of her younger learners. In 2013 she completed her Ed.M at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus in Technology, Innovation, and Education. Following her time at Harvard, she completed a graduate school fellowship with Education Pioneers, a program geared towards training leaders to transforms the education section. As an Education Pioneer Fellow, Lindsey worked with STEMscopes, a science curriculum publisher, based out of Rice University in Houston Texas. During her summer she facilitated over eighty-five prekindergarten through twelfth grade teachers through the training and development of a new curriculum based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Lindsey has also consulted with large educational publishers and video game designers on effective learning design.