It is the last day of my spring break. In Minnesota spring break is an oxymoron. Last year it was 81 and today it is overcast and 43 but not snowing!
As I look back on this time last year a lot has changed. I was mourning not getting a grant for 6 iTouches and ending up buying one of my own from e-bay. And that was how it all began and now I have 3 iTouches, 1 iPhone, 1 iPad with a wireless keyboard and over 1000 apps. My Facebook page has evolved into information for apps and therapy. I recently joined Twitter but reluctantly so that is something I still need to explore. I visited my 80 year old mother in Wisconsin this week and tried to explain Facebook to her… it was a long day. But it did get me thinking do I ever “talk” to anyone anymore?
With all this great technology we do still need to make personal connections. I know I still do so I’m not feeling too guilty. I might start with a text but it leads to a face to face encounter. The same for using technology in therapy. I use my iPad and iTouches with all my speech/language kids in therapy. What I don’t do is base my language therapy on an app. For example I have a group of 5 fifth graders and they are all working on vocabulary, comprehension, problem-solving and social skills. We have been using the app Stack the States and learning a lot of new vocabulary. They work in two groups and while one group is using the app the other group has a globe and can be the “life line” and help. They love this activity and don’t even realize they are learning while “playing.” This group has now moved on to earthquakes and tsunamis (with some free apps).
Now backing up after mourning about not getting the grant I used “my” iTouch all summer in private therapy. I realized an iPad would be a better tool to use with groups. I reapplied for the grant in the fall but changed it to one iPad, one iTouch and 200.00 in app purchases. It was granted and has lead me down a this new technology path.
I do base my articulation therapy around apps. I use apps from Smarty Ears and ArtikPik. They are wonderful and keep data for each student. I even use the pictures for my fluency students. i also use articulation apps from Talking Tails (Speech Squares and Say It Again).
With all the apps out there how do you decide what to buy? I recommend viewing Gary James’ site. He has videos for many apps that show how the app works without judging it (that is left up to you). http://a4cwsn.com
Or another option is http://www.appolicious.com
And to end this blog here are some shout outs for apps I have been using-
You need to add these to your Facebook page-
AAC Therapy Solutions
iTeach Special Education- iDevices in Special Education
Fun Educational Apps