Google on Apple: Search is Language

MGScreenshot 1:29:13 10:57 AM-3

Google is pretty much synonymous with search.  Though in the earlier days of the web, people went different places like Lycos, Yahoo, and Altavista, it’s second nature for most of us to turn to Google nowadays when we have a question or need a resource. Bing? Sorry, no.

The thing about web search, when you think of it…it’s language. We ask a question and get an answer. The results can be a list, a description, a fact, a picture to describe.

Often, a search can be very helpful when we discover those pesky gaps in our students’ world knowledge or vocabulary.

Most of us, including myself, probably turn most readily to the little Google field in the upper right corner of the Safari iPad app, which indeed does the job pretty handily. However, Google has been steadily improving its free (of course) Google Search app, and it now includes speech-to-text (Voice Search), regardless of the version of the iPad you are using.  Additionally, depending on the type of search you are making, the app will read aloud the results (so, text-to-speech), a feature related to what Google calls its Knowledge Graph, which helps zoom in on the most important facts about real-world items. Google gives us some ideas for the types of questions that work well with Voice Search.

To see how the Google Search app can be useful in your interventions, check out this terrific contextual demo centering around one of my favorite places: Cape Cod. I need to go to there right now. *Sigh* I hate January.

This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie.com.

Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology “through a language lens.” Contact him at sean@speechtechie.com.

SLPs Shortlisted for 2012 Edublog Awards

I am proud to say that SLPs have again represented in this initiative, underscoring our key role in the educational process and in the spheres of social media and educational technology.  What follows is a list of SLP nominees, so please VOTE early and often.

As the Edublogs People tell us:

Remember that only one vote per day per category will be counted from the same location! 

This means, if your school uses one IP address, you’ll need to ask students and staff to vote from home, or only one vote will count.

The best way to vote is to navigate to Vote Here, select Vote all at Once from the dropdown menu, and be aware of the following SLP nominees in various categories.

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE TO VOTE or go to this link

CONGRATS to all the nominees!!  Thanks again to those who nominated me!

Best Individual Blog

SpeechTechie

Best Group Blog

ASHAsphere *

Best New Blog

Speaking of Apps

Speech Adventures

Speechie Apps

Best Student Blog

HannaB, gradstudentSLP

SLP_Echo

Best Ed Tech Blog

PediaStaff

SpeechTechie

Best Teacher Blog

speech-language-therapy.com- Caroline Bowen

Most Influential Post

Lexical Linguist – Nomenclature and basic functions of Twitter (AKA Twitter 101 for SLPs and AUDs)

Individual Tweeter

@SpeechyKeenSLP – Tara Roehl

Twitter Hashtag

#slpeeps

Podcast

A.T.TIPSCAST

Edceptional

GeekSLP

Therapy and Learning Services

Social Network

PediaStaff

Mobile Apps

Custom Boards Premium

Vote Away! Remember that this event is also a great way to discover new resources to follow, including those not created by SLPs.

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

(*Editor’s note: we’re honored that ASHAsphere was nominated for Best Group Blog! Thank you so much for the nominations and support of ASHAsphere, and thank you to the great contributors who make this blog a valued resource!)

 

Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology “through a language lens.” Contact him at sean@speechtechie.com.

Google Earth and Cracking Curriculum Content

It’s exciting to have the continued opportunity to contribute to the ASHA Leader for a few of their APP-titudes columns.  It’s a different kind of writing, and I have to go back to stuff I did not learn when completing my journalism degree at BU, and that Magazine Journalism class I never took (I never really liked asking people, you know, questions), but it seems to come out ok after editorial assistance.

In my piece that just came out in the August 28 issue, I discuss apps that clinicians can use to facilitate the daunting process of making your therapy educationally relevant, meaning that the context mirrors or parallels what is going on in the classroom setting.  This is a huge passion of mine, though I feel I must clarify two possible misconceptions.  First of all, I am not talking about SLPs being tutors of classroom subjects.  Rather, the classroom content can be used as a context or target to target goals and strategies: e.g. categorization, description, use of graphic organizers, visualization, and so on. Secondly, although this topic is important, I realized as I saw my column in an issue filled with information about Common Core, it wasn’t really about Common Core, as (for now) those standards are only in Language Arts and Math.  But the information I shared can be about Common Core, and I decided where possible that I would include a Common Core Connection in my posts to link resources shared here to relevant Common Core standards, as I know many public school SLPs are struggling to integrate those.

In my column, I wrote, “In addition to the built-in maps app, Google Earth, available for iOS, Android, and any desktop or laptop machine, provides an extraordinary view of any geographic region. Google Earth allows clinicians to target spatial concepts, descriptive language, categories, and reading comprehension, all by zooming in on locations and viewing photos in the Panoramio layer. The stunning interactive 3D imagery available on the desktop version will soon be available on mobile devices as well.”

These columns are written somewhat ahead of time, and I wanted to let you know (and see) that the free Google Earth app NOW has 3D imagery for select cities (with more to come): Boston (yay), Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Geneva, and Rome.

A 3D view of Boston you can interact with via touch.  The new Tour Guide feature makes Google Earth even more navigable with “playable” (and pausable) views of landmarks and key geographic features. Panoramio Photos provide you with countless visual stimuli to explore, describe and discuss with students.

 

The new version also comes with a super-handy tutorial that opens on launch (later it can be re-accessed anytime under the “wrench” icon) that can provide a nice lesson in following directions:

This visual/touch tutorial shows you how to navigate in Google Earth for iPad, and also gives you a good opportunity to target spatial concepts including cardinal directions. Again, bring it up anytime under the “wrench” icon.

I really hope you enjoy this great app.  The only caveats I can share are that the 3D imagery is not available on iPad 1, and that I sometimes get a message that “Google Earth is running low on memory” but the app continues to function.

Common Core Connection
This app can be used, with your verbal prompting and scaffolding, to target standards such as:
SL.3.3. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.

 

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

 

Sean J. Sweeney, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, an SLP, instructional technology specialist and consultant, works in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of the blog SpeechTechie, a contributor to the ASHA Leader, and recently took on a role as Product Development Manager for Smarty Ears Apps.

iPad Essentials: Sharing your iPad screen as a Visual/Interactive Context with a Group

I wanted to address a very frequently asked question about connecting iPad to LCD projectors, interactive whiteboards such as a Smartboard, TVs, and laptops. SLPs and special educators may be interested in displaying an iPad to a group in order to present info visually, or allow the group to experience an app; the iPad is an amazing teaching tool!

This is such a divergent process (you can do it so many ways!) that I thought it would be best to make a video.  This video goes through 6 different ways to share your iPad on a bigger screen, and they are all a lot easier than you think.  Because we are talking about 6 different ways, the vid is a tad long.  Feel free to skip to what you want to see and ignore my babbling.  Also, keep in mind I am not a videographer or producer, so I did the best I could shooting and editing this (with iMovie) on my iPad, and I don’t know why I didn’t get rid of the pen behind my ear, haha.  You may want to watch the video on a computer rather than iPad or mobile device, as I added annotations via YouTube that are only visible on the full web.

Note: Since I made this video, I learned about AirServer- an app for PC that reportedly serves the same purpose as Reflection for Mac, i.e. it allows you to mirror or show your iPad on your PC screen.

Here are some supporting links that are also in the annotations:
Apple iPad to VGA Converter
MacReach Episode on using Apple TV in Educational Settings
How to Activate AirPlay on iPad to stream to Apple TV connected to HDTV or LCD Projector
Adapter Required to connect Apple TV to LCD Projector
A Helpful Video on iPad and Apple TV in the Classroom (with SmartBoard)
Reflection App used to Mirror iPad on Mac Screen

Overall, this was fun to make and taught me about video editing on iPad and YouTube annotations…always good to have a context to learn!

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

 

Sean J. Sweeney, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, an SLP, instructional technology specialist and consultant, works in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of the blog SpeechTechie, a contributor to the ASHA Leader, and recently took on a role as Product Development Manager for Smarty Ears Apps.

What’s New with Apple and What Does it Mean for SLPs?

student_ipad_school - 088

Photo by flickingerbrad

As you might have heard inklings of (I myself was glued to Engadget’s live blog), Apple is having its Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco this week. Traditionally, the keynote address from this conference brings important product development announcements, and today’s conference was no different.  As many people come to this site for information about iPad, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the key points that can affect our work and use of Apple products.

First of all, you MUST MUST MUST click through to see the wonderful video that was shown as part of the keynote address, focusing on how Apple products change lives. It features not only an app that helps people with visual impairments navigate the world in new ways, but also a terrific segment on how Toca Boca apps on iPad (one of my favorite lines) can be used as a tool in speech-language pathology.  Isn’t that AMAZING? So few people even know what we do, and to be highlighted in this broad way on an international stage…just wonderful.   It’s even better that my colleague and fellow editor of TherapyApp411 Renena Joy is the SLP featured in the film.

Click here for the video, and the segment about speech and language is at 5:02. The video really embodies the exact message and mission of this blog- to paraphrase Renena, what many kids think of as a toy can be to us a powerful tool for shaping speech and language development.  Thank you so much, Renena, for spreading this important message.

OK, so (*wiping tears of verclemptness*), what do you need to know about:

Mountain Lion- the new operating system for Mac (not iPad) will allow you to stream your Mac directly to an Apple TV (opportunities to use a Mac at home and during presentations in new ways) and also integrates with iCloud in more automatic ways. For instance, if you create materials with applications such as Keynote and Pages (Apple’s presentation creator and word processor) they will simply show up in the corresponding iPad apps. Mountain Lion will also have Voice Dictation built in, which can be a helpful productivity tool and will also be useful for kids with language and learning disabilities.  They will be able to dictate any text into a Mac running Mountain Lion.  These features will be available in July, when you will be able to purchase Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store for $19.99. A bargain for a new operating system!

iOS 6- iOS 6 is the new operating system for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, and it will be available in the fall. Sadness at having to wait so long, but this is a free update that will be available through Settings if you are currently running iOS5, except…(here’s a quick roundup of features):

1. These new features are not going to be available on iPad 1. Here’s where you might want to start thinking about whether having this advanced operating system is important to you, and consider selling or handing down your iPad 1 and upgrading. ‘Cause Apple is upgrading and leaving it behind, sorry.  I realize this is more than a little frustrating, but it goes with the territory.

2. Siri comes to iPad 3rd generation (only). Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, will be coming to “New” iPads with iOS6.  This feature will allow you (and your students) to control the iPad in limited ways with your voice, for purposes of search, adding calendar items and reminders, launching apps, and all sorts of other things. Keep in mind that Siri and other dictation tools don’t work well if the student has articulation difficulties.

3. Guided access. In iOS 6, you will be able to put your iPad in “single-app mode.” This will allow you to prevent a child from exiting an app by tapping the home button. A great feature for those of us that work with children with special needs, who will benefit from this additional structuring of their iPad use. I imagine this will be very helpful for students running AAC apps on iPad.

4. New 3D Maps. As has long been rumored, Apple is ditching Google Maps and using their own data and programming within the Maps app.  This app will feature 3D buildings, which will be a great way to expose students to visuals about cities and elicit language related to the curriculum.  It will also feature turn-by-turn directions, which can be played as a “virtual field trip” and target sequential language.

5. Sharing. Facebook sharing will be integrated into the operating system for easy sharing of photos and other materials.  I think this is relevant to SLPs as many of us are using Facebook as a professional development and networking tool through our interaction with various speech and language related pages.  You’ll also want to be careful about Photostream, itself a little dodgy because if you have it turned on under Settings>iCloud, your photos are automatically shared between devices.  i.e. That cocktail party picture of you on your iPhone would show up on your iPad as well, perhaps providing an unintentional language stimulus during a session.  Anyway, Photostream will now allow you to share photos to friends as you customize it (carefully).

There are a number of additional news-bits, so check out this post if you’d like to hear it all.

 

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

Sean J. Sweeney, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, an SLP, instructional technology specialist and consultant, works in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of the blog SpeechTechie, a contributor to the ASHA Leader, and recently took on a role as Product Development Manager for Smarty Ears Apps.

Autism Awareness Month

As April- Autism Awareness Month- draws to a close, I wanted to share a presentation I made this weekend in Florida at NOVA Southeastern University, sponsored by the Florida DOE and the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD). The focus of the presentation was technology resources (web-based and iOS) that are dedicated to or can be “re-purposed” for use with the population of students with autism at various levels of functioning.  One goal of the presentation was to place technology resources in context of intervention programs helpful for this population. Along with Dr. Robin Parker and Dr. Marlene Sotelo, we also ran an informal “App Smackdown” in which participants shared apps that they have found helpful for students with autism.  The presentation is embedded below, and a link to a supporting weblist is here, and the apps shared during the smackdown here.  I hope you find it helpful!

(Google Reader and Email subscribers, please click through on the link to the post in order to see the presentation on the blog):

 

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

Sean J. Sweeney, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, an SLP, instructional technology specialist and consultant, works in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of the blog SpeechTechie, a contributor to the ASHA Leader, and recently took on a role as Product Development Manager for Smarty Ears Apps.


Planning for ASHA Convention? Try the new Personal Scheduler

From experience in attending many ASHA conventions, I know that it’s really important to take some time to plan your time! When you arrive at the convention center, you are likely to be overwhelmed and fall down, or cause someone to fall down, as I have in the past. To prevent unnecessary injuries, ASHA has provided us with a Personal Scheduler tool that will allow you to generate a “draft” list of sessions you might like to attend.  You can print your itinerary, save it as a PDF and, for the first time, send it to a calendar app such as iCal (the Calendar on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch- YAY!) or Outlook (*crickets chirping*).  I can’t say there isn’t room for improvement with this tool (and it still lacks some of the “social” aspects I have seen in other conference schedulers, which allow you to see which of your colleagues are going to which sessions), but these exporting features are a nice leap forward.  Check out the short video below to see how it works, and happy planning!

I also made a quick guide to how to send your itinerary to your iDevice after emailing it as shown in the video.  Again, this process isn’t perfect- I found that there was a glitch with session titles if you add two in the same time slot (you may see the title of one selection repeated, though the session descriptions are accurate). Additionally, if you are in a different time zone than the convention, you may want to wait to actually add the itinerary to the calendar until you arrive, or just be willing to do the math as you review the sessions beforehand.  Also note, once you export your itinerary, it will not sync with the Personal Scheduler, i.e. any new sessions you add on the web will NOT be in your calendar.  So, you’ll want to wait until you have given everything a thorough look before you export. See below for this guide:

If all that sounds too complicated, you can just print away or send yourself the PDF to access on your mobile device! Have fun!

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

Sean J. Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and instructional technology specialist working in the public school and in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He consults on the topic of technology integration in speech and language and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie: Looking at Technology Through a Language Lens.

QR Codes Part 2: Using Kaywa to Generate a QR Code

In part one of this series, I described what a QR Code is, where you might have seen them, and their potential for grabbing the attention of our students.

Today, I am going to talk about Kaywa, a free site that you can use to generate and print a QR code for use in a session.

Kaywa is simple to use.  You can type or cut/paste a website URL (address) and create a code that, when scanned, will open the web browser on the device (smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad) or you can enter a short piece of text (e.g. a word with a target sound, vocab word or definition, contextual info, or a strategy you want the student to use).

1. Choose the Content type (generally you will use URL or Text)
2. For URL, you may copy and paste the URL from another window or tab (just make sure to delete http:// from the URL field before pasting (so you don’t end up with http://http:// at the beginning of your code, which would be an invalid URL.

 

3. Click Generate!

 

Here’s your code! Click on it and you will see it by itself on a page in printable form.
Like This.
Select File>Print from your browser and you will be able to print the code for scanning. You can also right-click(PC) or control-click(Mac) to copy or save the QR Code image.Here’s a short video showing these steps.  Have fun!!

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

Sean J. Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and instructional technology specialist working in the public school and in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He consults on the topic of technology integration in speech and language and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie: Looking at Technology Through a Language Lens.

QR Codes Part 1: What are QR Codes?

I am excited to do a few “theme” series on SpeechTechie that will explore topics and strategies in more depth, as I did with Glogster EDU.  To that end, over the next month we will be looking at QR Codes, a hot topic and emerging technology in education.

What are QR Codes, you ask? Well, you probably have seen them already and wondered, “What the heck are those things???”

qrcode
This is a QR Code

 

You have most likely seen QR Codes as some part of an advertisement.  QR stands for “Quick Response” and the code is offered to you basically as an eye-grabbing teaser.  You can use an app on your mobile device (smartphone, iPhone, iPod touch, Android phone, iPad) to scan the code, and it usually opens up your web browser and brings you to a site related to the topic of the ad.  In other words, you scan the code and get more information, or more ad! Which ultimately can be kind of lame (but not when used in education, so sit tight).

 

I wasn’t really tempted to get too close to the 3rd rail on the MBTA to scan this QR code
QR Codes can lead to grossness.

So what about QR codes is applicable to us as SLPs and educators? First of all, they are extremely easy to create and print for use in sessions (though again, you need to have access to one of the devices I mentioned above, or a computer with a webcam). Secondly, they are an instant attention-grabber for kids, and constitute a kind of high-tech hide and seek. Rather than giving kids a piece of paper that serves as a stimulus (word or picture), you can present (or hide!) a QR Code they can scan in order to read a text message or see an image, website or video. Students from Kindergarten to High School are engaged by this little hook, which adds the process of discovery to any of your sessions.

Over the coming posts, I will be describing in detail how to create various kinds of QR codes, apps to use to scan them, and lesson ideas for you to try out right away! Each post must by necessity be a bit of a tease as I can’t give all the info at once, but I will let you know where I am going in case you want to work ahead!

Next week: Part 2!

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

Sean J. Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and instructional technology specialist working in the public school and in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He consults on the topic of technology integration in speech and language and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie: Looking at Technology Through a Language Lens.

A Tech Spin on “A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words”: Using Photo Books to Increase Vocabulary, Grammar, and Narrative Skills

I recently read with great admiration Becca’s post in which she described how to make and use photo books for language development.  It is true that children love bright, colorful photos, and they love to talk about them even more when they are personally relevant! Becca’s specific descriptions (and video demonstration) of language strategies to use in the context of creating and reviewing photobooks are definitely going to be helpful to many parents and SLPs.

However, if you know my work at all, you know that I am always asking how technology might assist in any learning and language process. I am also one of the least craftsy and most printer-hating and store-averse people on the planet. Therefore ordering photos, picking them up at CVS, decorating with stickers and other flair, laminating (*shiver*) and binding the books…not a list of verbs I personally relish.  Let’s not say it’s a guy thing, but maybe that’s just the elephant in the post.  So, if you want to hear about a few digital options for implementing Becca’s terrific methods, read on!

I first have to point out that creating all-digital (or mostly digital) versions of these activities is facilitated by the way that families often do photography these days.  Many families own and know how to use digital cameras (including the ones on their smartphones), and archive their photos in places such as Kodak Gallery, Picasa, iPhoto or even Facebook. So, whether photobooks as a language context are to be created by the families themselves, or a clinician is going to create the product while eliciting language from the child, the raw materials are often already digitized, easily downloadable and e-mailable! If actual prints are involved, it is no longer an arduous process to scan them, or it can often be easier to place them out of glare and just take a nice shot of the picture with a digital camera or smart phone.  Once you have digital photos to work with, there are a few options you might consider.

One of these is Little Bird Tales, a free online picture book creator.  Little Bird Tales has a simple, kid-and-family-friendly interface (and a great tutorial) and the added bonus of allowing you to add voice captions to each picture.  When the book is complete, it can remain “private” and password-protected, but you can also share it with others via email.  The book remains digital, however, and cannot be printed.

The text and “Add Your Voice” features of Little Bird Tales are a great opportunity to develop vocabulary and sentence structure!

Another great option is Glogster, the online digital poster creator, also free except for certain premium features.  Glogster has an EDU version, and parents can also sign up at home through the regular portal.  Glogster also has a very kid-friendly interface, and allows you to create a poster of your event’s images, along with supplementary graphics and audio clips.

Glogster’s Magnet tool is all you need to upload your images, add text, and record sound! As children choose “Frames” for pictures, additional descriptive language can be elicited.

Glogster creations can be printed for offline use, and can also be marked private and shared via email.  Glogster is a little more complicated to use than Little Bird Tales (but not much!), so you might want to check out the tutorials I posted on YouTube. Additionally, both Glogster and Little Bird Tales are Flash-based (and therefore will not work on iPad, until their apps are available?) so if you run into trouble, you may want to make sure you have the latest version of Flashand update your browser, steps that are important for keeping your Web workin’!

When I mentioned iPad, did that make your ears perk up? One of my favorite recent discoveries is Skrappy ($4.99), a robust iPad app that you can use to create a decorated and annotated scrapbook of your photos! Like many iPad creation tools, Skrappy has a built-in-tutorial (in the “Getting Started” Scrapbook, so you and the kiddos can be creating in no time!

Skrappy’s simple tap-based interface lets you add whatever you’d like to your photobook: images, video, audio captions, text, decorative shapes and graphics to associate with the pictures, even music!

For another iPad take on photobooking, check out Mobile Education Stores new app, SpeechJournal (3.99), “a customizable voice recorder that you pair recorded messages with your own imported images and image sequences.”  Speech Journal is super-simple to use, contains its own video tutorial, and allows you to pair voice recordings with single images or continue recording across multiple images, resulting in a slideshow (and sequenced narrative)!  When complete, the journal can be emailed and played on a home computer in QuickTime player, a free download.

Finally, if you’d like a simple and quick (but perhaps a little more expensive) digital take on the photobook, iPhoto on Mac features a tool for you to create and order books to be delivered to you (for example, you can buy a 3-pack of one 20-page soft cover book from Apple for about $11.00). Alternately, go to the Create menu on Picasa (on either platform) to create and email/print a photo collage (expensive in a toner cartridge sense, but easy to do)!

Hope you enjoyed this digital spin on photobooking; if you have any other tech tools you’d like to suggest for use with personally relevant photos in order to build language, please let us know in the comments!

[This post originally appeared on Child Talk]

Sean J. Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and instructional technology specialist working in the public school and in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He consults on the topic of technology integration in speech and language and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie: LookingatTechnologyThroughaLanguageLens.