Saturday, January 14, 2017

Annotating Photos in iOS 10

Annotating a photo, or marking it up with text, highlights or shapes has many uses in language, social and executive function therapy. I have previously written about this topic with regard to Skitch. So, Skitch is no more, and though its functions were incorporated in Evernote, getting to them is almost too complicated to talk about here. The good news is that you can now annotate photos without a specialized app, because these features have been added to the Photos app for iPad and iPhone.

But first, some bad news. These features are part of iOS 10, which came out this past fall and was where Apple finally drew the line on the iPad 2. The iPad 2, now a 5 year-old line, cannot be updated to the latest version of the operating system. So...if you want to continue to be able to ride the tech train and you have an iPad 2, you might want to consider an upgrade. Not only for features available on the newest operating system, but also because as your operating system falls behind, so will your apps, and you'll soon find yourself not being able to install certain apps as they come out. I recommend the Gazelle service, which provides you with cash for trade-ins of old devices. The iPad Air 2 is a good model for clinicians to consider.

How to find out what model iPad you have.

How to find out what operating system version you are running.

How to update your iPad operating system.

Once you are up to date with iOS 10, you'll be able to annotate photos right in the Photos app. This will apply to photos you take with the camera or photos you save from Safari. Searching and saving photos from Safari brings you endless contexts for therapy, including finding images that scaffold language about curriculum topics.

Once you take or find an image you would like to add words or annotation to, you might first want to duplicate it. This would allow you to save the original and annotate a duplicate--especially useful if you may want to complete the same activity with multiple groups.

To Duplicate a photo, view it in the Photos app and tap the "Share Square."


Then tap Duplicate.


Now you will have two versions of the image, one of which you can annotate. To get started marking up the image, tap the "sliders" Edit icon in the upper right corner (next to Details). At the bottom of the menu on the left, tap the "..." icon, then Markup.


From there it is pretty self explanatory--you can familiarize yourself with the bottom menu, and how to add pen marks, change color and line thickness, add text and change its color, size and font.


In this case I was using this feature to make a visual activity with students before we took a community trip to 7-11 to get a snack. The activity aligned with Sarah Ward and Kristen Jacobsen's situational awareness "STOP" acronym-- Space, Time, Objects and People.

For more ideas on annotating photos, you can check out my linked article in the first paragraph of this post. Those ideas pertained to Skitch, but you can now do them right in the Photos app with iOS 10.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Developing Categories with Toca Life Apps

In a recent post for Mindwing Concepts, I described and demonstrated how the various contexts within the Toca Life apps, specifically Toca Life: Farm ($2.99, also available for other platforms), can be used to build narrative language skills. I have recently been using these versatile sandbox apps in other ways, including targeting category development. If you are working in the school setting, especially, working in context just makes sense. Doing so allows you to tie in with classroom topics (in this case, the basics of plant life cycles and animal biology) and sync with the topics of picture books. This practice is also supported by emerging research; Gillam & Gillam (2012) conducted a study that "revealed signs of efficacy in an intervention approach in which clinicians treated multiple linguistic targets using meaningful activities with high levels of topic continuity."

Toca Life: Farm includes scenes such as a field, barn, farmhouse and farm store, each containing movable items in a variety of basic and more abstract categories relevant to the context. Just a few I have noted and used include:

Field: fruit, vegetables, tools, containers, vehicles, ways to water plants
Barn: animals, tools, machines, cleaning items, containers for plants
Farmhouse: rooms, furniture, meats, grains, vegetables, fruit, spices/condiments, school supplies, personal care items appliances, clothing, musical instruments
Store: food categories, dry goods/refrigerated items, containers, as well as a fabulous machine that allows you to "make" products, e.g. items made from milk

Field Scene

Farm Store Scene with Machine

In context you can approach this to target both receptive and expressive categories with students:
"Can you gather 3 tools we need for planting?"
"I just had the girl sit on the chair, bed, and then couch. What category are all these in?"

Check out this and other Toca Life apps (see the Toca Boca website to start) to develop contextual storytelling and semantic skills.

Gillam, S.L., Gillam, R.B., & Reece, K. (2012). Language Outcomes of Contextualized and Decontextualized Language Intervention: Results of an Early Efficacy Study. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 43(3), 276-291.

Disclosure: author is a paid consultant for Mindwing Concepts, Inc to provide blog and presentation content.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Top 5

I hope you all have a Happy New Year! Here are the top-five read posts from 2016:

Target Conversational Behaviors and Scripts with Plotagon

Valentine to Doodle Buddy series Part 1, 2, 3, 4

Readworks Provides Access to Handy Text Passages (note that there is now also a Readworks Digital which is more accessible/engaging on devices)

Google Apps: Collaboration, Consultation, and Supervision

Enter Vacation Mode with Toca Life: Vacation

See you all in 2017!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tech-ing up Communication Books

I read a helpful post this week on Edutopia- 15 Questions to Replace "How was School Today?", which I think is a good resource to share with parents. It is often a concern of parents of children receiving speech and language services that their kids seem not to be able to answer this question, and the post provides a) the important perspective that many typical kids struggle (or refuse) to respond to the question and b) good ways to scaffold and break it down to focus on more specific topics.

The post got me thinking, however, about the practice of using a home-school communication notebook to facilitate these kinds of discussions (and monitoring other issues) for some students. Although I'm not in the day to day of being involved in this communication in the school setting currently, I remember being so, and I wondered, why does that have to be a notebook, which:
-is a physical object that needs to be found by multiple people on both sides and
-cannot easily contain photos, which are a terrific scaffold to get kids to talk about their day (color printing is very expensive and involves a number of steps).

In my consultation work with groups and at a few schools, I have been working with teachers to explore more and varied uses of simple tools like Google Docs, which it seems would address the above problems. Google Docs is available so many ways I am not going to provide a link (via the web or apps for any device) and most districts provide accounts to educators. Via an in-person discussion, this idea could easily be floated to parents and a document created and shared on the spot for training (maybe make a new doc every month so they don't get too long). A format can be agreed upon (e.g. for separating dates, class, or service delivery entries) the use of comments encouraged, and conventions to preserve confidentiality according to district standards can be ironed out.

In addressing the two issues above, all service providers can have access to the docs-based "notebook" from any device, so they don't have to go hunting for it during a busy day. And the best part, just tap the + button within a document from the mobile device app, then Image, and you can photograph any context throughout the day. If appropriate, you can have the student work on writing the captions!

Google Docs app on iPhone, identical features available on iPad

So, are you using Google Apps for parent communication? What successes or difficulties have you encountered?

Monday, December 12, 2016

ICYMI

In case you missed it, some recent posts for Mindwing Concepts about narrative, expository language and social cognition, and app integration columns for ASHA Leader:

Tech Tuesday: Recommending “YouCue Feelings” by Dr. Anna Vagin

Tech Tuesday: Spooky Stories!

Tech Tuesday: Build a Story with LEGO, Part 2

Tech Tuesday: Build a Story with LEGO, Part 1

Tech Tuesday: Play with Stories!

App-Titude: Apps to Get them Chatting

App-Titude: Welcome to Social Studies

App-Titude: Convention Edition

App-Titude: A Counselor in Clients' Pockets

Monday, December 5, 2016

Using Google Slides in Language Intervention

ASHA 2016 in Philly was a whirlwind, and given a few other busy weeks following it, I am still sort of flummoxed that it has come and gone! I enjoyed presenting with Nathan Curtis and Amy Reid of Waldo County General Hospital in Maine on resources that can be used for co-engagement and co-creation in interventions both in-person and via telepractice. One of the resources we discussed was Google Slides, which is part of your Google Apps available through personal or school accounts, and I wanted to share a video I made demonstrating some possibilities:

(email subscribers please click through to the post in order to see the video)



Some main points here:
-Google Slides is a free tool you can access from your Drive page, just click New to start a new slide series.
-The tool can be used like a Book Creator (in fact, like the Book Creator app itself) to combine pictures and text to make a "book"- think a repeated line book or any book used to convey a narratiev or expository topic.
-The Explore tool under Tools>Explore allows you to search for images and simply drag them into the presentation (these are copyright-friendly)
-One advantage of Slides particularly for telepractice is that you can share the file with anyone with a google account and they can continue working on it.
-You can create and edit Slides presentations from the iPad as well, but the Explore feature to search images is not available (you'd have to leave the app, go to Safari, search and save images to add).
-Check out this post for good ideas on how to use Google Slides in "unusual" ways!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Come See Me at ASHA 16!

I have an insanely busy few weeks...hope to see some of you at ASHA 16 in Philly!

Here's the info:


Presenter(s) (click the names to view bios and disclosures):
Sean Sweeney, The Ely Ctr, LLC/SpeechTechie.com (presenting author) |View Advance Handout

Instructional Level: Introductory Read more
Abstract Type: Professional Education Read more

Abstract:
Another “sequel” to this presentation with installments at ASHA 2012-2015 brings all-new pairings of picture books and inexpensive, easy-to use apps with suggestions for interventions. The presentation provides research-supported strategies for contextual language therapy, blending picture books with apps for visual, interactive, and curriculum-related post-reading activities targeting specific objectives.

Speech-Language Pathology Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Children and Adolescents
Learner Outcomes:
Learner Outcome 1: Identify 3 picture books with intervention-related language structures and contexts within text and illustrations
Learner Outcome 2: Evaluate 3 apps for key features indicating applicability in language interventions

Learner Outcome 3: Describe session plans pairing books and apps based on contextual congruence

To be honest, doing a tech presentation as a poster is not ideal, but I did my best to translate this topic into a visual format. Come check it out and I will also be providing a link to the previous 4 years of book and app pairings...a trove of ideas!

Session Code: 1438
Title: Building Language & Literacy Skills in Telepractice: Combining Routines, Authentic Materials & Client Engagement
Day: Friday, November 18, 2016 Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: Pennsylvania Convention Center Room: 105AB
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours PDH(s): 2 Hrs

Presenter(s) (click the names to view bios and disclosures):
Nathan Curtis, Waldo County General Hosp (presenting author) |No Advance Handout Uploaded
Sean Sweeney, Ely Ctr (presenting author) |No Advance Handout Uploaded
Amy Reid, Waldo County General Hosp (presenting author) |View Advance Handout

Instructional Level: Intermediate Read more
Abstract Type: Professional Education Read more

Abstract:
Utilizing technology to co-create contextual materials within telepractice or in-person therapies facilitates engagement and additional opportunities to practice targeted language and literacy skills. This presentation demonstrates examples of integrating routines with authentic materials for preschool to secondary students to maximize outcomes. Participants will leave with resources and ideas for implementation.

Session Chair: N/A
General Interest Topic Area: Telepractice
Learner Outcomes:
Learner Outcome 1: List three types of language and literacy routines for use in telepractice sessions
Learner Outcome 2: Describe three engagement techniques to support language and literacy activities in telepractice sessions
Learner Outcome 3: State four app and web-based resources that can support language and literacy skills within telepractice

I do in-person therapy, but as a tech specialist have had a wonderful collaboration with the experts at Waldo Country General in Maine. I loved working with Amy and Nathan on this presentation. Note that the ideas discussed and apps, websites, and clinical routines demonstrated will be applicable to in-person therapy as well...



Friday, November 4, 2016

More on mapping expository texts through tech, Part 3

In the past several posts I have been discussing resources for visually mapping expository (and by extension, narrative) topics. In the last post I outlined the use of Kidspiration's Super Grouper feature for sorting ideas into categories--it can also be used for sequencing. Kidspiration and its older brother Inspiration (again free to try, $9.99 for full app, also available for Mac or PC and even on the web) are better known for their mind-mapping or diagramming features. Like Popplet (described in this post), these apps can be used to create graphic organizers showing the connection between different ideas. Unlike Popplet, however, the text within the idea bubbles can be exported to other apps so students can see planning activities as being helpful toward actually getting their writing done.

In Kidspiration, create diagram activities by selecting Diagram from the home screen. It's fairly self explanatory to map connections between pictures and symbols using this feature. The diagram can be used to create a discussion web as displayed below. Discussion webs in language intervention are discussed in Hoggan & Strong's excellent article The Magic of Once Upon a Time: Narrative Teaching Strategies (and also this "how to"), which has served as an inspiration for my "Pairing Picture Books with Apps" presentations. A number of other narrative teaching visuals demonstrated in the article can also be created with Kidspiration and Inspiration.


Inspiration in all its versions is particularly appropriate for upper elementary through adult learners, and is often recommended as an Assistive Technology (AT) tool. Inspiration shares many of the features of Kidspiration including the picture library, ability to add photos, and helpful templates; Inspiration does not have the Super Grouper feature described in the last post.

Both Kidspiration and Inspiration allow you to create a graphic organizer with students and export the contents in outline form to a word processor, thus bringing the initial planning work to a place that it can be continued (e.g. a word processor such as Pages, Word, or Google Docs). The blank-slate nature of these apps as well as the availability of connecting bubbles and arrows make it ideal for instruction in the methodology of using expository text structures to plan writing and show the flow of ideas in a topic--making these both comprehension and expression tools. See Teresa Ukrainetz' Strategic Intervention for Expository Texts: Teaching Text Preview and Lookback (another good reason to have an ASHA SIG membership so you can access Perspectives journals) for another helpful discussion of expository text structure and other strategies.


Be sure when using Inspiration and Kidspiration to avoid creating webs unless your topic is a descriptive one. Create an organized structure by adding new detail bubbles to your topic heading shape (see above with List, tapping on the arrow button will create new connected bubbles you can drag into position). Naturally, you will want your detail bubbles to contain content related to the topic as opposed to just key words for organization. As below, switching to Outline view will then make your work result in a useful outline rather than too much hierarchy. See below, tapping the Share button will allow you to export.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

More on mapping expository texts using tech, Part 2

In a recent ASHA Leader article I discussed intervention activities centered around social studies and expository text, and am continuing to discuss expository language in part one of this series and in this post.

One of the most useful apps for categorization and other expository language activities is Kidspiration Maps (free to try, $9.99 for full app). I truly believe this app should be in every SLP's and reading specialist's library as it has so many contextual uses. Pair this app with a picture book, textbook passage, video, discussion, information from another app or website...the list goes on. Kidspiration has been around for many years as a software resource and is still available also for Mac or PC, but at a higher pricepoint than the iPad version that shares almost all of its features.

I will talk about the diagramming features of Kidspiration (and its older brother Inspiration) and expository language in the next post, but in this post I would like to highlight Kidspiration's terrific Super Grouper feature. Super Groupers allow you to create an activity where you sort words and pictures into categories. Again, I find that these activities can be created to accompany any book or topic, and students enjoy taking your "wordsplash" or "picturesplash" and putting it in order. In the process, you can ask them to verbalize categories and descriptive attributes that serve as rationales for their sorting.

To offer a contextual example, students of mine were reading Iron Thunder by Avi- this is the story of the fateful battle of the ironclad ships Merrimack and Monitor during the Civil War. As we reviewed the first chapters it was clear my students were not so solid on the concepts and associations around the North and South at this time. I constructed a simple Super Grouper activity to address this:


The Super Groupers are the large blue and gray (color coded purposefully) rectangles in this case, with ovals containing information about perspectives, characters, synonyms, geographic information, actions, and so on, to sort. The student interacts with the activity by tapping and dragging the items (which can be pictures also, see below) into the Super Groupers. Once completed, you can also switch to Outline view (tap on outline icon in upper left) to see the information in a linear fashion:


One great feature of the Inspiration Software apps is that diagrams and outlines can be exported- from Outline View tap the share button and you can export as text to other apps such as Pages or even Google Docs, where students can expand on the language.


To create a Super Grouper activity, select the Super Grouper option from the home screen. The Super Grouper menu (highlighted at top) lets you tap and drag shapes into the work area. Double tap at the top of your shape to label it. Tap to select your shape, then tap the paintbrush at the bottom menu to change the background color.


The picture library is accessed from the "frame" icon. Browse the categories to tap/drag items to be sorted; you can also search the library or add photos, making even the visual contexts of Kidspiration limitless. You can add audio support to your activity or have students record sentences as they sort by tapping any picture, then the microphone button at the bottom, which allows you to record an audio note.


To make a more text-based sorting activity, use the Shapes menu. Double tap on any shape to type in it.


A very helpful feature of Kidspiration is that activities can be duplicated, so that in the event you complete the sort with multiple groups, you don't have to keep unsorting the items! From the Open Document menu, tap Edit, then tap to select an activity, and tap the Copy icon. This menu also allows you to share your created activities with colleagues who have Kidspiration. From the Open Document menu, tap Edit, then tap to select an activity, and tap the Share icon. From there you can mail the activity, send it to Dropbox, or tap More to send to Google Drive (where you can share the file with whomever). It's a great idea for a group of colleagues to work together creating and sharing activities that would be useful to all.

Friday, October 21, 2016

More on mapping expository texts using tech, Part 1

In a column I contributed to August's ASHA Leader, I mentioned expository text structures as providing an important framework for organizing language for comprehension and expression, in this case around social studies topics.

First, to elaborate on expository text structure, this is the informational "sibling," so to speak of teaching story grammar--parts of a story and the connections of character, setting, initiating event, response, plan, events, and conclusion. Expository text structures can be located both in narratives and informational text (e.g. a news article, textbook, lecture or video) and include list, sequence, description, compare/contrast, and so on. An excellent recent tutorial article (Lundine & McCauley, 2016) provides more information and research tie-ins for these strategies; commercial products targeting the use of these structures include Mindwing Concepts' ThemeMaker®* and Thinking Maps.

Another good resource providing a venue for teaching these skills and strategies is Popplet Lite (Free, the full version of Popplet allows you to have multiple drafts), with built-in graphic organizers in a visual creation tool where students can combine photos, text, and drawings to explain an idea or topic.



With Popplet Lite, you can:
-tap to create "popples" to contain your ideas for the topic
-color code main ideas
-connect ideas in lines demonstrating text structures (e.g. list, sequence, cause-effect)
-add images (copy/paste from Safari is easiest) or drawings
-export your creation in several formats.

In several followup posts, I'll be discussing other resources for mapping narrative and expository text.

*Disclosure: Author provides blog content for Mindwing Concepts, Inc. 
 
.