FaceTime calls on iPad are HIPAA compliant

 

You heard it right! FaceTime calls are HIPAA compliant. In an age in which privacy laws often become burdensome to healthcare providers, it is so refreshing to be able to share this exciting news. While I have never done telepractice myself, I am an iPad user and recently used FaceTime to discuss a new app development project with another SLP up in Canada. I loved it!  As an SLP and an iPad geek, I could not help but to want to share this with you guys.

FaceTime is a video calling service that runs on Apple devices such as the iPad and iPhone that allow video conferencing. Just like any other function on the iPad, it opens the door  to a host of new possibilities. The front camera make it the perfect way to communicate  with others who also use Apple devices. When the iPad 2 camera was announced I remember thinking about all the possibilities for therapy. The fact that video conferences are encrypted using HIPAA standards just reinforces the iPad’s status as  my favorite toy of all time.

Now why should SLPs care?

The  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) requires that electronic health care transactions are designed to keep patient records secure to protect patient privacy. Speech-Language Pathologists who deliver services at a distance can now use FaceTime to deliver their services if the patient owns an iPad and/or iPhone. The delivery of services at a distance is also known as telepractice. ASHA defines telepractice as “the application of telecommunications technology to delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician, for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.” So in order to follow HIPAA guidelines for telepractice, SLPs have to use a service that has been encrypted (which is the case with FaceTime)

Besides using FaceTime for service delivery, SLPs can also now be sure that they can “face call” their co-workers to consult on a case. The uses are immense!

Now, in order to be fully HIPAA compliant, SLPs must make sure that their wireless connection utilizes WPA2 Enterprise security with 128-bit AES.  WPA2 is a security protocol that was develop to protect the information that goes in and out of your computer using your wireless signal. Here is a well-written article on how to WPA2 Enterprise your Home.

This is definitely great news, and just one more reason why the iPad is transforming service delivery in speech therapy.

For additional information on Telepractice you can visit the ASHA website.

 

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

 

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.

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.

Gaming into Education: Can Even Angry Birds Promote Learning?

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

Opportunities for teaching and learning are everywhere. Language is also everywhere. Given this scenario, it drives me crazy when I hear someone say: “this is a horrible tool”; “I don’t know how this could be used for teaching”,or  ”this is just a game”.

I have always been an advocate to the fact that a good teacher and a good speech therapists will not need specific tools to teach students. Well, specific tools that do the work for you are great because they guide us on the teaching experience; however, we must not forget that a tool is JUST a tool and it was not designed to replace you as a therapist or a teacher.(Please note I am not at all discrediting the advantages of apps for learning ; as I have created 21 of them myself).

The explosion of apps for children with special needs, has pushed us to want tools that do more and betters things all the time. I am afraid we may be forgetting to use our creativity to transform any “useless” app into a great tool for learning. It all starts with the need to motivate the students to want to learn; what better way to do that than using something that already draws their attention? I have decided to start this series on “from useless to learning apps” with one of the biggest game apps of all times: Angry Birds!

If you are not already hooked into Angry Birds, or are afraid of loosing your prestige because you downloaded it, you may find a good excuse for downloading it or owning it on this post. The idea behind Angry Birds is that the birds need to hit the pigs to move on to the next level. You may have noticed that in order to win the greatest number of stars you may need some strategic thinking prior to sending your birds out there.

I see that Angry Birds can be used in so many different ways to teach students new vocabulary, the use of coherent language, basic question/answering skills and even story telling skills. You will just need to adjust the level of scaffolding needed to get into the skills you are trying to get into.

As a parent, instead of prohibiting your child from playing the game, consider having activities your child needs to complete prior to or after moving on to the next level.

Here are some ideas I was able to come up with on how even Angry Birds can be used to promote learning.

1. If your student/child is already familiar with Angry Birds, get him to explain the whole game to you. If you are working on writing skills, this can even be a written assignment.

Imagine all that can be worked on just from having a student describe the whole concept behind Angry Birds! You can even have some “food for thought” kind of questions such as:

Why do you think the creators picked birds as main characters?“,

Do all birds work the same way?“,

” What is the goal of the game?”

“Why do you like Angry Birds?”

There are several questions that can be used to get students to use language just by talking about the game itself.

2. You and the child can play one or several levels together; however the child has to describe their strategy to getting to the pig prior to playing the level. If you are with a group of students; how about having each student think out their strategies separately and get them to discuss which strategy is best and then put into action?

You could even have a list of vocabulary words you would like the student to use when describing their strategies such as:

a. Verbs such as : deploy the egg (the white birds have to deploy the egg at the appropriate time); pull back, drop, explode, fly, fall, hit,

b.  Different adverbs when describing the order of the birds and their actions;

c. Lots of different prepositions to guide where exactly the birds must land, and also how the objects and barriers are being arranged;

d. Adjective: used when describing the areas & targets in which the birds must land.

Maybe students can take turns to guide each other  using key words to complete the levels.

3. Select a level and ask the student to play it once, then ask them to describe their strategies verbally or create a written material that describes their strategies.

When teaching students to describe activities using coherent language (a skills that can be very limited in children with language disorders) we want them to follow an order…” you first did this.. then that”. You can use each level on Angry Birds to teach that skill. The game has an order in which things happen. You can guide students to describe it step by step which you guide them. You can both sit together to reproduce the steps he describe on the same level and even think out better ways to achieve the same goal.

There are tons of other ways in which Angry Birds can be used to promote language learning. These were just a few examples of how creativity can have more weight than the specific tool you have in front of you. In the end it is all about how you decide to use it. I will be back on this with more ” from useless to teaching app”. In the end it is all about how YOU choose to use the tool that makes the difference! Think about that. ;-)

 

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.

Is that iPad Hazardous to Your Health?

Dizzy

Photo by dospaz

The iPad revolution has engulfed the communication disorders field. We love our iPads and other handheld devices. Just ‘flipping’ through the cornucopia of apps related to speech, language and hearing in the App Store, it is no wonder these devices and the apps they hold are becoming therapy toolbox essentials.

As our younger clients have become more engaged in activities that utilize technology, therapy programs that are supported by apps have become increasingly popular. Young people often use other, similar technology after school to play computer games, do homework or interact on social networking sites.

Whether it’s watching TV, doing homework or playing games on a computer, or using a mobile device to play games or send or receive text messages, there is a common denominator among activities many people regularly engage in: screens.  Some are large and some are the size of the palm of your hand. We spend hours viewing screens on computers, iPads and other tablets, TVs, iPhones and other handheld devices. And sometimes we view these screens in less than optimal conditions.

As an audiologist and ASHA National Office staff member, I often receive consumer questions regarding dizziness and balance problems. These complaints commonly arise from problems within the inner ear. I typically send consumer information on dizziness and balance and recommend a visit to the audiologist for hearing and balance assessment as a good first step in understanding the causes of these symptoms and to begin a plan for rehabilitation treatment for inner ear balance issues.

But I digress….back to screens. The Internet houses many discussion forums on dizziness, headaches and vision problems while viewing screens. Enough people are complaining that a term for the syndrome has been coined; the American Optometric Association refers to this group of symptoms as “Computer Vision Syndrome.” These symptoms are not related to inner ear problems or more serious neurological problems but rather to eyestrain and can include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • confusion and fuzzy thinking

Apple does have some warnings within the iPad manual about complaints of headaches, dizziness, and eyestrain. These warnings are not highlighted, though–you have to do a thorough search to find them. There is also a discussion about these symptoms on the Apple support community.

There appears to be little scientific evidence about screen/vision safety but I have seen some recurring suggestions on the discussion forums and from ophthalmologists:

  • use task lighting and turn off the overhead fluorescent lights
  • take frequent breaks…look away from the screen and focus on something about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds
  • use special lens/glasses for computer use
  • adjust the lighting of the screen, some folks lower the backlit screens and get improvement
  • increase font size
  • adjust the ambient room lighting
  • position computer screens slightly lower than eye level (about 4 inches)
  • remember to blink. This will reduce dry eyes.

Have you or any of your clients noticed any of these symptoms when using iPads or other mobile devices?

Pamela Mason, M.Ed., CCC-A is the director of audiology professional practices at the ASHA national office. Before working at ASHA, she directed the Audiology Center at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington DC.

Is the iPad revolutionizing Speech Therapy? From an SLP & App Developer

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

It seemed like just an ordinary day back in November of 2009, when I was playing with my iPhone and I was thunderstruck with an epiphany to create apps for speech therapists. As the iLighbulbs flashed above my head I envisioned an app that would provide therapists with the ability to select specific phonemes and have all their flashcards stored on their iPhones. For some people an idea like this can feel farfetched, but for me, a self-professed geek, having already designed several websites from a young age and understanding html very well, learning what it would take to put my ideas in action was not an obstacle that I would let get in my way. With non-stop dedication, and night after night working tirelessly, my first app –and the very first app for speech therapists– was born; like a proud mother, I still remember that precise joyful moment on January 2nd of 2010.

The app was called Mobile Articulation Probes (now renamed Smarty Speech), and it was on sale on iTunes for $29.99; and I was elated and ecstatic. Still feeling the momentum of creating something so new and useful I signed up for a booth that very same month for the Texas Speech and Hearing convention happening in March, and I could not wait to see the faces of excitement from my fellow SLPs when I showed them what my app could offer them in therapy.

But I didn’t take five seconds for myself to breathe between January and March as I was working non-stop on creating five other apps (WhQuestions, Age calculator, yes/no, iTake Turns, iPractice Verbs). I was a woman on a mission. I could feel the difference these apps made in therapy rippling through my veins and I wanted to see every aspect of therapy utilize the potential of this powerful device. Despite the fact that maybe 10 to 20% of TSHA attendees that year owned an iPhone or iPod touch, it appeared nobody had even ever considered using it for therapy! Oh, I forgot to say: all this happened before the iPad (yes, there was life before iPad).

I loved seeing the reaction of my fellow SLPs when I showed them what the app could do. A lot of people instantly recognized it was a deal: 450 flashcards organized by sounds with data tracking capabilities. This would probably cost us around $200 if we buy paper flashcards (not to mention that they don’t come with data tracking capabilities). Other attendees were apprehensive at such a change, they thought it was too expensive. The reality was this: most iPhone apps I knew cost less than $1, so I could see where they were coming from. No matter if they loved it or not, one thing was universal—their eyes bulged wide open with amazement as if they were looking at an alien, and more often than not that look of surprise turned to a smile when they saw this “alien technology” for therapy was on something they might already own—an iPhone. Today– a little over one year- -that app on its original state would be considered outdated.

I believe that at that time if you searched the key word “Speech therapy” on the app store probably 80% of apps there were developed by me. ;-) – Well, there were probably only eight apps available.

In May of 2010 the iPad was released and at the same time I saw the need to let users know about the amazing possibilities of the iPad. Although great strides had been made in accepting the iPhone and iPad as a tool for use in therapy, there seemed to be a lack of general education on using it as a therapist tool. Questions continually swirled around the web and at conventions: what happens if I delete the app? Can I use my iPhone app on my iPad? What is a universal app? Can I use the apps on my computer? That’s when GeekSLP was born. My first video–done with dark lighting, and not much planning–taught viewers that it IS possible to run iPhone apps on iPads. Today, only one year later, GeekSLP has had over 55 thousand views!

Many people have difficulty separating me as a developer and me as an app reviewer/educator/blogger of  tech for SLPs. While Smarty Ears is a company that is behind me in the development of apps, I still felt the need to do things independently from the company, such as teach about other apps that I like and about implementing technology. GeekSLP & Smarty Ears are like cousins with completely different purposes. GeekSLP gives free information (it is a free app) that can benefit almost all educational technology users by giving them tips on utilizing their iDevices, while Smarty Ears is pushing Speech Therapy and education forward by creating apps.

When I started blogging and video podcasting only a couple (and I mean TWO or so) SLPs were doing it- -especially with a focus on technology; today we have tons of blogs that want to discuss and review apps. Is this the “SLP APPidemy”?

Yes, the iPad is a revolution to our field. However, would it really be a revolution without the apps or without the people who created them?

If you search the key word “Speech Therapy” on your iPad you will see that we have 55 iPad apps for SLPs. I have created 14 of them. I have created a total of 25 apps between iPhone, iPad and Android apps! Five more in the works. I am currently collaborating with my fellow SLPs from Twitter, which has led me to start publishing apps for other SLPs with ideas like mine.

If you search the keyword “physical therapy” you get only 23 apps, and only four when you search “occupational therapy”; likewise you only see 14 when you search “counseling.” You may ask yourself: is the iPad having the same impact on these professions?
I believe the iPad is an enormous success partly due to the nature of our work: play based learning. Also because we have been stuck in the stone age with our materials: flashcards? Worksheets? But also because the apps are available; I applaud all SLPs who have created apps for us.

Today the iPad is seen as the number one therapy box for many therapists. It is also the number one topic many speech therapy groups discuss online. I have provided trainings all over the country and been invited to at least 10 state conventions for this year (and invitations for 2012 are also filling my mailbox) to teach people about the amazing power of technology and apps.

It has been an amazing year for my profession and for me and I see that we are moving towards a more environmentally friendly and engaging therapy set up. It was about time! After 15 months developing apps for SLPs, giving training all over the world on the use of apps and iPad, I still always look forward making new geek friends online, presenting, and creating apps that make a difference.

 

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.

Technology’s Emerging Frontier in Speech-Language Pathology, Part 2–Resources

Child with iPhone

Photo by jenny downing

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I wrote about a project I worked on researching technology in education and in speech-language pathology. The following is the  list of resources I mentioned in that post, which I think serves as a good starting off point to incorporating technology into practice:

  • Avocado Technologies–this website provides many great websites and articles related to speech-language pathology. It is a great starting point for finding current technology related to the profession.
  • Q&A: Digital Media and the Evolving Classroom–this is a blog post written in Q&A style with an award-winning journalist talking about digital media in the classroom. She describes how, in a short amount of time, there has been a huge shift in our culture regarding technology.
  • Education and the Future of Technology–this 5-minute video brings up several very important factors about the world we currently live in. However, some of the facts presented may be out of date when viewed simply because our world is constantly changing.
  • Phonetics Flash Animation Project–this website provides animated articulation of all the phonemes, vowels and consonants, in English, German, and Spanish.
  • Geek SLP–this great website provides many great resources, articles, blog posts, and information about new apps for technology covering language and speech.
  • Starfall–a great website geared toward pre-k through 2nd grade children learning to read. The website provides fun activities that focus on the phonics of reading.
  • TinyEYE Therapy Services–TinyEYE Therapy Services provides SLPs to school districts through telepractice, a delivery model commonly referred to as online speech therapy.
  • Technology Impacts on Education–this 2010 article describes the impact that technology has on education and how it continually changes the way we learn.
  • Speech Gadget–this blog contains good information regarding new aspects of technology. All therapy materials, websites, applications and gadgets mentioned in this blog are discussed as potential tools to aid in the development of speech and language skills.
  • TherapyApp411–this blog provides reviews and other content regarding apps and devices from a therapists’ perspective- SLPs, OTs, PTs or other disciplines. The posts reflects personal experience with apps and places them in the context of therapy sessions.
  • ASHAsphere–ASHAsphere is the official blog of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. ASHAsphere is intended to inspire discussion about issues related to the fields of audiology and speech pathology, and features posts from a variety of authors, including communication sciences and disorders (CSD) professionals and ASHA staff.
  • Speech Techie–this blog is about fostering language development through contextualized intervention. The author presents interactive educational technologies through a “language lens.”
  • Readeo–this website combines video chatting with interactive book reading for young children. It is designed to connect families through reading children’s books remotely. “Readeo lets you and your loved ones flip through the pages of a virtual book while seeing and talking to one another on-screen—just like if you were in the same room.”
  • The Hanen Centre–this program provides resources and training for professionals to help preschool children develop the best possible language, social, and literacy skills.
  • Apps for Speech-Language Pathology Practice–ASHA’s new section for school-based SLPs is a great starting point for more information regarding applications for technology and insurance funding.
  • Spectronics iPhone/iPad Apps for AAC–this is a comprehensive list of AAC applications for the iPhone/iPad. It contains a variety of apps that contain pictures and symbols only, text-to-speech, and text-based apps only.
  • 5 Classic Children’s  Tales Reinvented for the iPad–this article reviews interactive children’s books for the iPad. This new technology provides new opportunities for literacy engagement and a new learning tool.

These links were compiled from avocadotech.com, asha.org, and some of my own research. I simply chose my favorite links and provided a brief annotated list to share.

What other resources do you recommend? Please share in the comments.


Michael Tanner, BS, is a graduate student at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. With the support of his wife and family he is preparing to graduate in June and begin his career as a school-based SLP in the Fall.

Technology’s Emerging Frontier in Speech-Language Pathology, Part 1

landscape with mountains

Photo by Panegyrics of Granovetter

For my culminating experience I have been working on a project about the history of technology in education and in speech-language pathology. The current trends of technology were also something I considered during this project. As part of the “final product” of my project I wanted to share the experiences I have had, some information I have gathered, and some of the resources I have compiled throughout the school year.

As we all have seen, and some of us experienced, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of technology in today’s classrooms and throughout education. However, there has been a more noticeable increase in mainstream media attention around the hottest new pieces of technology. But for the first time mainstream technology is beginning to gain more popularity in the education setting, such as iPads and iPods. Technology has been consistently a part of education since it was introduced decades ago, but not until recently has there been such an exciting time to learn about and begin utilizing this new technology.

It is important for graduate student clinicians and practicing speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to be aware of what technology and resources are currently available for several reasons:

  1. Technology is rapidly changing and growing, which means staying up-to-date is important to keep engagement and motivation high for the students you are working with
  2. Exposing students to new and different technologies while working towards language and/or speech goals will help children adapt to a future involving continued use of technology. These students will grow up and face a world that will have entirely new professions and a new set of problems to solve just as the current generation is working to solve problems created from previous generations. The challenge now becomes to prepare students “. . . for a world that has yet be created, for jobs yet be invented, and for technologies yet undreamed” (Molebash, 1999 [PDF]). This is a similar idea to what a quarterback does. A quarterback does not throw the ball to where the receiver is located but instead anticipates where the receiver will be and throws the ball there. So too SLPs and other educators need to anticipate what the future has in store for current students and do our best to prepare them for what is to come.

School-based SLPs have a unique opportunity in that they have access to a growing number of children on their caseload. The use of technology can aid in the efficiency of treatment of speech/language disorders by keeping the attention and motivation of the students. It is especially important for SLPs to keep an eye on the ever-growing technology because the technology that is devoted to speech and language development is just beginning. Similar to other areas of rapid technology development, I expect that specific technology that is useful to school-based SLPs to rapidly grow. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

With such rapid acceleration of technology development there is a limitless number of directions that will develop in technology. However, knowing what the new technology will be or in which directions they can lead us is not only impossible but unimportant. “It is the recognition of what is possible that educators must consider” (Molebash, 1999). The future is an inevitable reality, of which we either adapt to or resist, but that we have the power to “envisage and take action to build alternative and desirable futures” (Facer & Sandford, 2010).

I recently had a practicum experience student teaching at an elementary school where my supervisor had a grant accepted for two iPads to use during treatment. I was fortunate enough to be there and help implement these new tools with the students. There were not many apps to start with, but from my perspective the students responded very well to using the iPad when coming to the speech room. What I found most interesting was that these young students had already experienced technology like this or similar to iPads such as an iPhone or Android and other smart phones. The familiarity they had around technology like this was impressive. One group working on language goals, particularly wh-questions at that time, were all standing around the iPad reading through the questions together and excitedly waited their turns. That experience provided a great learning opportunity for me and demonstrated the effectiveness that technology can have.

Even throughout this school year while working on this project I have noticed changes in how SLPs use technology. There are continuously more and more blogs reviewing different treatment apps and exchanging therapy ideas with one another. ASHAsphere in particular is a great resource for the profession and provides a great opportunity for graduate students as well as practicing professionals to contribute bits and pieces of our interests and expertise. I have compiled a short annotated list of resources I have come across that can serve as a good starting off point to incorporating technology into practice, which will be posted next week on ASHAsphere. You will find, as I did, that one website will lead to another, which will lead to another, and so on. The list I have compiled are some of my favorite that I have found to date, and will continually update throughout my career. While gathering information for my resource list I noticed the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has a new technology page for school-based clinicians all about the pros and cons of new technology. Additionally, ASHA provides a few insurance funding resources. It is exciting to see the acknowledgement of and transition towards the inevitable future of a world filled with technology.

I believe the next step for ASHA is to develop some guidelines for technology use across settings and ages, specifically the current media technology that seems to be picking up momentum. ASHA sets guidelines for many aspects of the profession and current technology guidelines is the next step. These guidelines should describe ways to evaluate and determine the quality of speech and language apps that are continually being developed. The number of apps specific to our profession, as well as apps that can have specific uses toward achieving student objectives is constantly growing. With this growth there should be a systematic way of evaluating the use and effectiveness of the apps.

Technology is an exciting new tool for speech-language pathologists to use but we need to remember that language is social. “If an iPad helps a child share a smile with their parent, a shared moment of attention, attachment and engagement – that is a good thing. The tech device is just a therapy tool of gaining a child’s attention. It is only with joint attention that more opportunities for interaction can occur” (Bratti, 2010).

This has been a fascinating journey and I am excited to see what the future has in store.

Michael Tanner, BS, is a graduate student at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. With the support of his wife and family he is preparing to graduate in June and begin his career as a school-based SLP in the Fall.

Summer Reading Part 2: Interacting with ASHA Journals on iPad

In last week’s post, I discussed how to access ASHA Journals on the web and how to stay connected to current publications by viewing abstracts in Google Reader.

The iPad is obviously a hugely popular device whose potential, I think, we are just beginning to glimpse.  So when the iPad is added to this mix, what do professional development and research look like? How can the iPad move us past printing and marking up journal articles (for me at least, I haven’t really processed something unless I have marked it up) and into digital learning and collaboration?

In the following video, I demonstrate on the iPad how to:

  • Use Safari to browse and read journals (pretty much the same steps as our last post, but more fingers-on)!*
  • Save journal articles to iBooks for later reading and organization into collections.*
  • Annotate journal articles in iAnnotate PDF using the highlighting, underlining, drawing, and text annotation tools.
  • Share your annotations with colleagues for collaboration and research.

*Note: these two steps work the same way for iPhone/iPod Touch!  iAnnotate PDF is iPad-only, but GoodReader is a similarly well-regarded (and a bit cheaper) app that has different versions for all iDevices.

View the video on YouTube

This has been a fun process for me, learning about Journals 2.0. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have!

 

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 has presented on the topic of technology integration in speech and language at the ASHA convention and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie: Looking at Technology Through a Language Lens.

Calling all SLPs and teachers to update the iOS system on their iPads & iPods

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

The iPad, iPhone and iPod touch run an operational system called the iOS system. This is the system that allows you to run apps and perform all functions on your device. It comes pre-installed on your devices when you purchase it from the Apple store.

It is very important that you keep your iOS system up to date in order to have apps run smoothly and also take advantage of the enhancements  and the possible bug fixes provided by Apple.

Updating your iOS system is FREE

While most apps will work on older versions of the iOS system, keeping an up-to date update will guarantee you best performances.

In fact, some apps also do not work on older iOS versions (e.g 3.1); therefore you will not be allowed to purchase the app from the app store. First let’s learn how to identify which version of the iOS system you are running on your device.

1. Identifying the iOS system on your device:

1st. Go to the setting area on your device and click on “General”:

2nd. Under the “General” menu, click on ” About”:

3rd. Under the “About” menu you will see the information you are looking for under the “Version“.

On this example you can see I have the Version 4.3.2 of the iOS system; which is the most most up to date version as of 4/23/2011.

2. Understand app’s iOS requirements

Now that you know how to identify which version you have, now let’s learn about the fact that some apps do not support older version of the iOS system.

When you are purchasing an app from the app store you will notice that the app has several requirements, one of them is compatibility with iOS systems. Take fore example the number one, best selling educational application: Star Walk for iPad ; it requires that you have the iOS 3.2 in order to run this app. See image below:

Notice that the app requires that you have iOS 3.2 or later; if you have anything older the app will not install. Another example is an AAC app called Expressive:

As you can see, Expressive requires that users have the version 3.1.4 or older in order to run the app on the devices.

Now that you know how to identify your iOS system, and understand that some apps will not run on older versions of the iOS system; you will need to know how to update it. This is the easy part of the whole story.

3. Updating your iOS system

You will need to connect your device ( iPhone, iPod or iPad) to your computer to update it.

1. Plug your device

2. Open iTunes

3. Select your device and make sure you are under the ” Summary” section.

4. Click on “Check for Update”.

You are all done!

I hope it helps… Now go update your device

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.

New App Review Blog For and by SLPs (and Other Therapists)!

Sometimes big things can start with 140 (or fewer) characters:

Twitter message "#SLPeeps, app reviews. Do we want to make a new blog? We can create new app reviews and also post anytime one SLPeep has a review:

At least we hope it’s going to be big! This tweet from Deb, an SLP pal practicing in Pennsylvania, started a conversation between four bloggers that over the period of one weekend resulted in a new blog, TherapyApp411, which we are happy to announce has launched this week!

TherapyApp411

We jokingly called the blog a spin-off (hopefully more in the vein of successful spin-offs such as Laverne & Shirley rather than the short-lived, unfunny The Ropers) because we will be cross-posting reviews from our own blogs: The Speech Guy, TiPS: Technology in Practice for SLPs, Speech Gadget, and SpeechTechie. The main goal is to provide a centralized location for information on the very hot topic of mobile devices and their uses in therapy. Our mission is to provide reviews and other content regarding apps and devices from a therapists’ perspective. In addition to our own $.02 on various apps and news items regarding mobile technologies, this blog is open to contributions from other writer-therapists: SLPs, OTs, PTs or other disciplines who would like to contribute! We are looking for contributions that reflect therapists’ personal experience with apps and place them in the context of therapy sessions. We have posted a template for reviews so that uniform information will be contained in each post, but also allow for individual writing style. The blog currently has reviews of the interactive book A Present for Milo, the sticker-scene-creator ClickySticky, and my take on how to re-purpose (through a language lens, as I am known to say) GarageBand for iPad as a therapy tool.  We offer an email form for subscription (free, of course) and directions for subscribing through Google Reader as part of the SLP Blogs Bundle.  You can also keep up with us by “likingour page on Facebook!  I hope you’ll check the blog out and, if you have an app you’d like to share, consider submitting a review.  Thanks!

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 has presented on the topic of technology integration in speech and language at the ASHA convention and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie: Looking at Technology Through a Language Lens.