In the process of doing a little analytics of my own site, I stumbled across a small critique from academic circles. First of all, I have to say I am happy that anyone is talking about my site at all, especially within a college setting. The commenter said that she loved the way SpeechTechie makes people aware of what is "out there" and possible in technology integration. However, she also stated:
I think serious questions must be raised though about how to identify, assess, implement, and evaluate whether these technologies meet students' needs. The conversations about how to then examine the highlighted resources in light of important contextual factors at their placement are limited.
I think that what this commenter says is certainly true, and that my making this exact kind of disclaimer is long overdue. We are clinicians and professionals after all, and operate in an climate where Evidence Based Practice (EBP) is rightfully emphasized. That said, the purpose of this blog is not to zone in on EBP; the resources presented here simply provide a context in which it can occur. The assessment of whether the technological resources presented here meet your students' individual needs? I am going to leave that up to you!
Here's one point I think the commenter misses, which perhaps I have not made clear up to this time (but, to be honest, I think I have): much of what is presented here is reviews of tech activities that can be used as the centerpiece of a session, around which you can build all the language stimulation, scaffolding and assessment that you do so well, and it is really those procedures that should be evaluated. I am not going to be engaging in depth about examining a particular, focused interactive website and whether it really meets students' needs because the technology is not really the point. The activities are just a hook for our children, and it's what you do before, during and after their use (as well as the assessment that only you can do, since I don't know your students) that qualifies them as therapy (and EBP). I think to hold me responsible for extensively evaluating, say, the effect of the Simple Machines activity would be akin to insisting on the extensive evaluation of one storybook, board game, recipe or craft activity versus another. Of course these procedures should be assessed, but we perhaps don't need to do double-blind studies on them.
All that said, for an example of how many of the resources presented here could be "sandwiched" in EBP bread, check out the Writing Next meta-analysis. It's an interesting read and it discusses the efficacy of nine language-based strategies to develop written language (and with the oral connection to writing, we all can see the connection to our work). Specifically, for example, instruction around sentence combining could be a post-activity to presentation of a BrainPop movie- simply compose a series of simple sentences about the topic and get ready to have your kids combine 'em!
I truly don't mean for this to sound defensive- I've seen clinical blogs that provide disclaimers and have been thinking- it's time for mine!