Sunday, October 15, 2017

EdTech Talking with AAC

I wanted to share here a presentation I recently made which is online and may be of interest. I was happy to be asked by SpeechScience and Yapp Guru University to participate in their online AAC After Work conference with an "intermission" talk. As I explain frequently, I'm not much of an AAC expert as in my career I have mostly worked with students with more moderate communication needs. However, I based the talk on a collaborative article I wrote with Dr. Kerry Davis, who also generously contributed for me some visuals on EdTech providing a context for students using AAC. CEUs are not available for this presentation, but I hope you'll find some resources and strategies within regarding the "conversation" that can take place between the fields of educational technology and speech-language pathology. I also recommend you check out the SpeechScience podcast, which you can find in your Podcasts app.

Link to presentation on YouTube

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Approaching iOS 11...carefully

For those of us that depend on our iPads to any extent in our work, a new operating system brings exciting new features, but some trepidation. As it should. Apple released iOS 11 two weeks ago, and it comes with some cool updates particularly for the iPad. Note also that not all devices currently "out there" will be prompted to install (i.e. "can run") iOS 11. This is just a function of the cycle of upgrading (and on the downside, the march toward obscelence). To see if your device can run iOS 11, check this list. Remember you can always google your device model number (on the back, wicked small) to find out what generation your device is. If you are not able to update, don't stress. This doesn't mean your device is useless at all. You may run into apps that you cannot download due to your use of an earlier operating system, or hear of updates to apps that are similarly not available to your device. Just keep on keepin' on and think about upgrading to a new device eventually. The 5th Generation iPad is quite reasonably priced at $329.

It seems that iOS 11 was a line in the sand Apple needed to draw with developers who have not updated their apps in some time, and they need to update their apps for compatibility or they will simply not launch once you have installed iOS 11. This is the real reason I wanted to write this post, to advise you to wait a bit before updating (a month, maybe?) and check compatibility of your indispensable apps before you update. They've made this really easy to do! THIS POST EXPLAINS HOW.

I went through this list and checked, and for me there was nothing I couldn't live without except the original Toontastic (I'm ok with the new Toontastic 3D, but before updating I need to save some animations I made in the original as I often talk about the applications of these types of apps in workshops).

Unfortunately, if the developer is no longer interested on keeping their app functioning, apps that remain incompatible will just take up space on your iPad. Check out these different ways to delete apps- I particularly like the 2nd way of deleting from Settings.

I look forward to talking about the cool features of iOS 11 in the weeks to come.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Organize yourself (and maybe others) via Google Keep

In the last few weeks, I started back to work after summer vacation and began my regular consults at several schools. I am focusing on taking better notes--and organizing them. Notes are of course a way we can keep data on students, but providing consultation through a private practice motivates me to provide the best services possible, which in turn means not forgetting nuggets of information that could/should turn into action items for me. Historically I have been a little scattered in this process, using a combo of Mac/iOS Notes, Evernote, Google Docs and, well, actual paper notes. Starting the year fresh, I am trying out Google Keep, and so far am loving it. Some reasons why:

-I am embracing efforts at minimalism, which in this case are satisfied by using one resource (Google Apps) in many different ways.
-Keep looks like Post-its. This is pleasing.
-Within Keep, quickly click or tap to start and title a note. Notes are displayed in an array before you, and as opportunities arise, you can tap out of one note and into another. This is particularly useful in consultation as student names come up and new info is shared, or when running groups.
-Keep allows you to color-code and label notes for organization. Like other Google items, you can share and collaborate a note. Students' work products can be photographed and placed in a note for additional data. You also can make notes contain reminders or checklists.
-I have been keeping one note on each student in my charge and I see options ahead- I could either make these a monthly note or each note can be copied to Google Docs.
-So far I have been using Keep via its web version on the Mac, but there are apps available for iPad and iPhone and other platforms.
-Keep is free with a Google Account and you can log in from anywhere (I got turned off of Evernote when it only allowed you two devices).
-Students may also have access to Keep (or you can request the administrator to "turn it on," and it therefore provides another assistive tech possibility within their existing Google Accounts.


As I am taking notes in the cloud so to speak, I always only put student initials as identifying info.

This video provides a great tutorial from an educational perspective. Enjoy Google Keep if you try it!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Looking for engaging therapy ideas? Check out Anna Vagin's YouCue Feelings video series

Anna Vagin has been sharing wonderful ideas about using electronic media in therapy. Anna has a strong focus on social learning but her resources on using YouTube also have implications for narrative language, sentence formulation and categorization. I've long been a fan of her YouCue Feelings book (available also as a handy Kindle edition you can put in the Kindle app on your iPad), but she has also produced a series of short videos available on YouTube, including this one featuring recommendations for younger students.



Dr. Vagin (an SLP) shares broad ideas about resilience and friendship here, but the videos mentioned can also be used to work on more discrete skills. I often use her recommendations in conjunction with narrative tools like Story Grammar Marker® so that students "get" the narrative and have practice retelling it. Spins on story retelling such as analyzing the story elements of initiating event, response and plan from two different perspectives are suggested by the Bert and Ernie example (see specifically Mindwing's Perspective Taking or Critical Thinking Triangle maps). Also contained in this video are alignments with Zones of Regulation® and work on categorization (feeling words) and association. The app Lists for Writers is a good source of many lists including emotions and personality traits. Dr. Vagin recommends the use of whiteboards (which I love) but Book Creator or more simply, Doodle Buddy, can also be used for the sketching and association activities (e.g. plane and runway) she describes.

See Dr. Vagin's full offerings here.

Disclosure: author provides blog content for Mindwing Concepts, Inc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

ASHA LALA Convention and a Tech Travel Point

I was very excited to have two 2-hr seminars accepted for the ASHA Convention in Los Angeles, this year being held November 9-11, 2017. Here are the details so you can add them to your planner if you are interested:

From Wikimedia 

Session Code: 1324
Title: Setting up the Sequel: Pairing Picture Book Series & Apps to Contextually Address Language Objectives
Day: Friday, November 10, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Marriott Room: Diamond 5
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours PDH(s): 2 Hrs
Abstract: Another “sequel” to this popular presentation with installments at ASHA 2012-2016 describes pairings of book series and apps serving as intervention contexts. The presentation explores research-supported strategies for using picture books in intervention for language development, providing exemplars of contextual book and app pairings serving as visual, interactive post-reading activities.
Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Children and Adolescents
Learner Outcomes:
Learner Outcome 1: Identify language structures and contexts within picture book text and illustrations
Learner Outcome 2: Evaluate apps for key features indicating applicability in language interventions Learner Outcome 3: Describe session plans pairing books and apps based on contextual correspondence

Session Code: 1621
Title: "U Ought 2B in Pictures:" Creating Visual Supports With Apps Across a Range of Interventions
Day: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center Room: Concourse 152 (Lvl 1)
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours PDH(s): 2 Hrs
Abstract: Creating visual supports is a process of co-engagement and co-creation that aligns easily with best practices and key methodologies in language intervention. This presentation will model resources for creating simple visual supports via apps, along with examples across a range of treatment areas and ages, including interventions for compliance and self-regulation, vocabulary, syntax, narrative and expository language and social cognition.
Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Children and Adolescents
Learner Outcomes:
Learner Outcome 1: Describe 3 roles of visual supports in language interventions
Learner Outcome 2: Differentiate between co-engagement and co-creation while using apps in visual support activities
Learner Outcome 3: Identify 3 features of apps facilitating ease of use in creating visual supports

My "Tech Travel Point," besides the ones I outlined in this column for the Leader, is that WOW hotels in big cities like LA can be expensive. Even with the convention discounts, the ones in LA were a lot, and I don't care about fancy-shmancy or being in the hubbub of a conference. This summer I had a lot of success using AirBnB for travel in Maine and, finding myself more interested in the "sharing economy," I found lots of options in LA. I'll let you know how it goes with the one I chose!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer Reading, Part 4

In case you missed them, here are a few pieces I have written for ASHA and Mindwing Concepts. Happy Summer Reading! I'm off to Maine tomorrow with my Kindle.

ASHA Leader: 
July 2017, App it Up in the City of StarsMobile apps can help you make the most of your trip to convention in Los Angeles. 

April 2017, Joint Parent-Child App Play Can Bolster Language Development: SLPs can show parents how to harness apps to get their children talking at home.

January 2017, Using Apps to Meet Multidisciplinary Treatment Goals: App-based collaboration with other professionals can propel clients’ treatment progress.

Mindwing Concepts Blog (focusing on narrative and expository discourse and social communication through narrative):

Beach Stories

Narrative and Expository Language through Duck, Duck, Moose's free apps

4 (and More) Ways to Tell the Story Digitally

More on Social Detective Work with Social Thinking® and Social Skill Builder


Note: Author receives compensation for blog content from Mindwing Concepts Inc.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Reading, Part 3

One of the resources that has been helping me read more is Goodreads, a database of books and reviews. Goodreads integrates well with your Facebook account, and this is helpful both for pulling in friends and seeing what they are reading, and allowing you to post to Facebook about your own books. It creates kind of a positive peer pressure for reading, and this makes Goodreads a helpful tool for us, and potentially for clients as well. Encouraging clients to use Goodreads to find books similar to what they have enjoyed could potentially get them to read more, and also be an outlet to help them write about what they have read. A few other features of Goodreads that I enjoy:

-The mobile app is excellent, and in fact a little better than the website itself.
-Goodreads allows you to mark books as "Want to Read" and this is a good place to keep a list of this kind when you encounter book recommendations, preventing you from getting "stuck."
-The site provides recommendations based on what you have read and how you have star-reviewed books.
-It integrates with the Overdrive-Kindle connection (mentioned in my last post) so what you are reading through there is automatically added to your "Currently Reading." There are other features such as a Chrome extension that allows you to see which of your To-Read books are currently available on Overdrive.





Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Reading, Part 2

I think of reading as being similar to mindfulness (also in some circles a tool within speech-language pathology)-- in order to teach it, you have to be at least a little bit in the practice of it.

I realized some months ago that I wasn't reading as much as I used to read. This made me a bit ashamed and sad. I was an English and journalism major, for God's sake!

There were a few reasons why I had fallen into somewhat of a reading rut:
-I've become more of a minimalist and I feel I have enough books around the house. At this point, I'm not interested in adding more stuff.
-I know many love the feel and smell of books, but I am not necessarily enamored of physical books. Partly, there's the complications of reading in bed with the other half and not wanting the movement and light to be an issue.
-Given the above two factors, I had begun to convince myself that I can effectively continue as a reader using my iPad and iPhone. The night mode features of reading apps were particularly attractive here. Problem is...I didn't. The availability of other apps besides iBooks and Kindle just made too much of a distraction. Also, just try reading on one of these devices in sunlight?
-I had also immersed myself in informational reading and thought that fiction just wasn't really for me anymore. The issue here is that nonfiction books tend not to propel you forward as much as a good story.

Coming to a solution around these issues required me to think about several things:
1. Reading has many benefits personally as well as professionally, with studies demonstrating its connection to mindfulness itself (as someone who struggles with a touch of anxiety) and also emotional intelligence and empathy.
2. Pick the right tech tool for the right task.

So, since my technology was failing me, or I was failing within it, I bought a Kindle.


This might seem an overly simplistic conclusion, but this simple device pretty much solved my reading problem. My Kindle Paperwhite (bought refurbished from Amazon, incidentally) feels great in my hand, has an attractive look and interface, and it does what it does. I started Wild on April 9, and including that, have finished 8 books since then! And 2 audiobooks (via my iPhone)!

I have enjoyed all this immensely--well not always, I picked a few clunkers--and have felt some important cognitive-linguistic processes being awakened, as well as the mindfulness factor.

If I can leave you with another tech tip, minimalism also attracted me to the use of Overdrive and my local library card. Overdrive works wonderfully with Kindle as you can "download" as a Kindle book (via the Overdrive app or website) and your Kindle device will auto-sync when on wifi and pick up that book- you only have two weeks though, so read (or listen- this is how I did my audiobooks too) fast!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Reading, Part 1

I have a language therapy client I have been working with for a number of years, as he is a private school student. Our work around his summer reading books has given me a lot of therapy ideas. Recently I wanted to design a note-taking sheet for him for chapters that he reads independently, as well as ones we review together. Currently he is reading Steinbeck's The Pearl...such misery, but thankfully short (and available on YouTube for me to do my "reading" when I am driving around town anyway). The goal is for him to read more mindfully (he speeds!) and improve comprehension, and the note-taking sheet incorporates a number of strategies we have been working on- Visualizing and Verbalizing®, using story grammar to summarize each chapter (we transitioned from using Story Grammar Marker® to Westby/Noel's SPACE Acronym as he has moved into high school), using Brain Frames to organize big ideas, and generating questions, connections, and vocabulary. I hope it might be useful if you are doing this kind of work.



And a tech tip related to this is that I like using slide-creators (Google Slides, PowerPoint, Keynote) to make visual supports and graphic organizers. The availability of tools for shapes and shading, as well as the ease of moving elements around makes it a snap. An added bonus of using Google Slides is that you can share with a student easily and they can just double click in any shape to add text.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mobile Tech Resources for People with Aphasia

June is Aphasia Awareness Month! Though I don't often get the opportunity to work with people with aphasia currently (did my Clinical Fellowship Year at Braintree Rehab in '99-'00, wow that hurts to write), as an alumni and once-adjunct at Boston University I go by to do a short volunteer presentation to their wonderful Aphasia Community Group. I wanted to share my handout here for anyone who would benefit from it- it may also give you ideas for functional uses of the operating system and simple apps for clients with other struggles.


 
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