Saturday, July 30, 2011

Building Learning Communities (BLC11)- Last Day!

I'm leaving this year's BLC conference with a lot of gratitude towards those who helped make it happen, a head full of ideas, and apparently, a cold.  Something about that many people jammed into conference rooms and contagion, I guess, plus the fatigue.  In any case, it was a wonderful experience and I hope it has been helpful sharing my tweet-as-notes experiment, which I think definitely worked for me!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Building Learning Communities (BLC11)- Day 2!

Another great day of sharing and learning at BLC11! One thing (that I love) about going to a conference geared more towards general educators than SLPs or even special education teachers is that you constantly are reframing everything you are hearing so that it applies to our specific population. I try to do that as much as possible in these tweets and am hoping that you are finding them helpful.  The day started off with an absolutely INSPIRING keynote by Marco Torres, who actually wasn't supposed to deliver a keynote at all and was a last-minute sub! I hope to link to his full keynote when it is available- I strongly recommend giving it a look.  If you like TED talks, it is in that vein and at that level of amazingness.  One more day! Looking forward to it, but sheesh, I am tired.

As always, I know that tweets are telegraphic, so if you don't know what the heck I am talking about and want more info about a tweet or two, please leave a comment.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Building Learning Communities (BLC11)-Day 1

Hey Folks-

The BLC conference sponsored by November Learning is quite an experience! Some of the brightest minds in education and technology come together for this 3-day conference right in my good old town.  Seems people come from all over, and I am so lucky to just be able to hop on the T the next couple of days to have this experience.  My colleague Brian Hammel and I were discussing how it seems to be much more fun to tweet than to take notes in a Google Doc, so we are trying that! When doing so, you first of all need to apply your learning toward whomever might read.  Additionally, it is sometimes better to share and be social (especially when attending a conference such as this) than keeping notes hidden away in a document that might never be viewed again.  I have to do some serious Google Docs organization.  So, hope these notes might offer some kernel of inspiration to you, and I plan to tweet out more the next few days! Note that the last video was offered as an example of teacher leadership- offering guidance and letting the students shine!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Edubloggercon East 2011

Hey Folks, hope everyone is having a great summer!

This Monday I had the great experience of attending Edubloggercon East here in my hometown of Boston.  Edubloggercon is an unconference (like Edcamp) in which the agenda of discussion-based sessions is created by attendees based on interests and needs.  You do not have to have a blog to attend; it is open to all educators and FREE, so I hope some SLPs in the area might consider coming next year (especially since I may help with its organization, depending on the timing of the conference).  Edubloggercon East is timed to coincide with the pre-conference activities of the Building Learning Communities conference sponsored by Alan November and November Learning, and I am reallllly lucky to be attending that (BLC11) for the coming three days.

The day was terrific and featured a lot of great discussion about apps, Google + (under Robyn Eaton's notes), and other educational topics, so I thought I would compile the links and tweets for you as follows.  I plan to do the same for BLC, as I am sure I will have a lot to share with you! Below, I especially encourage school-based clinicians to view the crazy video on reauthorizing NCLB (one participant put it quite well: we are not weeble-wobbles!) and respond on Angela Maiers' wiki, which gives you more or less a direct conduit to the government!

Click here if you can't see the "Storify" below

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Essential Skill for SLPs: Saving Images from the Web, Part 2 (iOS Edition)!

Cross-posted on Therapy App 411

In a related post, I described the important skill of saving images from the Web on standard laptop and desktop operating systems (i.e. Mac OS X and Windows whatever), which SLPs would need to do in order to create visuals using web images and utilize the features of inserting images in many web tools (e.g. Glogster, Voicethread, and countless others).  I thought it also would be helpful to cover the much simpler steps of saving images using iOS devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch.  This is a necessary sequence of steps if one wanted to use images saved from the Web in creation apps such as Comic Life or LifeCards (two apps I will describe in greater detail at a later time).

1. Open the Safari app and navigate to Google (or use the Google search field in the upper right corner).  Write the topic for the image you want and tap Images in the left sidebar.

2. Tap the image you would like to use and then tap Full Size Image.  In some cases, Google redirects to the page that the image is on, and you don't need to tap Full Size Image.

3. To save the image (to the Camera Roll, accessed in the Photos app on every device), tap and hold the image.  You will see a drop-down menu appear, choose Save Image.

4. While on this page, you should copy the URL of the image in order to cite it, according to guidelines for Fair Use of copyrighted materials in education. To do so, tap and hold the URL, tap Select All, then Copy.

5.  If the app you are using allows you to insert an image, this function is usually prompted through the icon that looks like mountains with a sun in the background (who knows why, perhaps because Cupertino is in the California mountains??), like so:

Using Comic Life here...

Tapping this icon allows you to access your Camera Roll (where you have just saved the photos, aka Photos app) and insert the image.

In some cases, you may wish to take a screenshot of what is on your screen and use THIS as an image.  This is done by pushing the Home (right below the screen) and Lock (at the top of the device) buttons simultaneously.  Your screen will flash and you will hear a "camera" sound.  This saves your screenshot to the Camera Roll and it can be accessed in the same way as described above.  

Hope this is helpful!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Essential Skill for SLPs: Saving Images from the Web

This past Thursday, I had the privilege of doing a fly-by at Mindwing Concepts day-long workshop, Narrative and Expository Writing with the Story Grammar Marker® in order to cover a few tech complements to their great tools, including the Mindwing Blog that I help to write. During my presentation I talked about Popplet, which is a terrific tool for concept mapping and breaking down expository text. In the course of that demo, I showed how to add an image to a Popplet, and I promised the audience that I would re-post those steps here today. Saving and using an image from the Web is a multistep process that can be confusing to people, but it is an EXTREMELY useful one to become proficient in, coming into play anytime an SLP would like to create a PowerPoint or other presentation, make articulation cards, or construct visuals using engaging and relevant images. Here is how you do it, for Mac and PC:

1. Look up an image you would like to save (and use in a web app such as Popplet) using Google.
2. Click on Images in the left sidebar.

3. Click on the image you would like to save.  This brings you to a preview page where you see the image in large format superimposed over the page where it actually "lives" on the Web.  Click on "Full Size Image" on the right sidebar.

How stereotypically Irish of me to have chosen this topic.

4. This shows the image "by itself" on the page.  This is a useful page to have navigated to, because it is the easiest way to save it as a full-size, high quality image.  Also, it shows you the actual URL (web address) of the image.  This is helpful because some web tools (not Popplet, but Glogster and Google Docs) let you insert an image via the URL.  While on this page you should:
a. copy the URL (tell ya why in a second)
b. Control-click on the image (Right-click on a PC).  This brings up a drop-down menu, with one of the choices being Save Image As...*  Choose that, and pay attention to where you save it (I often save to the desktop and trash it when I am done)

5. Now you have a saved image.  You can insert this into a document on your computer, or upload it to your web creation (e.g. Popplet). You should site the image, according to guidelines for Fair Use and copyright in Education, by pasting the URL somewhere in your creation.

*There was a good question from the audience: Can't we just select Copy Image from that drop down?  The answer is yes IF you are using a program that is "local" to your computer (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote, etc), and then you can Paste it.  The answer is NO if you are using a web app such as Popplet or Glogster, which makes sense when you think about it. We can't click-drag or copy-paste a file onto a web page except with certain tools that allow you to do that (e.g. Google Docs).  Instead, we need to upload the file.

I hope this was helpful! This skill is going to be one that I cover, along with my compadres Amy O'Neill and Laura Goehner (both CCC-SLP) as we present this session at ASHA in San Diego in November:

Title: Technology 101: Basic Tech Skills to Enhance Your Speech-Language Practice
Session Number: 1104
Session Format: Seminar - 1 Hour
Day/Time: Friday, November 18, 2011 -- 04:00 PM-05:00 PM

Hope to see many of you then!

What use have you found for saving images?  Let us all know in the comments!!

Note: author is a paid contractor for Mindwing Concepts.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fake iPhone Text

Fake iPhone Text is a website you can use to enter in a short dialogue and produce a fake screenshot as if the conversation was texted on an iPhone.  Way cool, especially considering the popularity of Apple Products among kids.  Here I created a dialogue between the Pigeon (of Mo Willem's wonderful Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus) and a kid:

And here's the result:

When the conversation is generated, you can save the URL (web address) for future use
What a simple and motivating way to work on language skills such as sentence structure, characterization, and conversation!  Besides having kids create a dialogue between characters in a book, this site could also be used to develop skills of commenting, questioning, and digital communication.  

What other ways do you think you could use this site to develop language skills?

Thanks to blogger Larry Ferlazzo for featuring this site.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm on the EDceptional Podcast this week!

I was really honored to be asked to be part of the EdCeptional podcast offered through the EdReach Network of education-related audio broadcasts.  EdCeptional is a weekly show that features a panel of great educators (including fellow SLP Deb Truskey) discussing news and technology through the lens of special education.  On the show we discuss some interesting articles, issues and resources (you can see these on the show notes link) and I talk about my background, work in the Newton Public Schools and Ely Center, my experience with Social Thinking® and Mindwing Concepts, and give a lot of info about this blog!

Click on the little play button to hear (if you don't see that, you need a Flash update).  

You can also listen to this podcast via iTunes FREE download (this ep, #16, will be up soon) or the Instacast app (in both cases, search for EdReach to find the episode).  I highly recommend tuning in to EdCeptional every week!

I'm really happy with how it came out!  Great experience...thanks to all the hosts for asking me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Ah, summer.  A great time to laze on a hillside and look up at the clouds.

Clouds are an interesting context for language development as well.  One can list the different kind of clouds and what comes out of them (categories).  The process by which clouds are made, the water cycle, is a key curriculum topic (sequence).  They are also just sort of fun, because they are shapes and different people see different things in them (description).

Check out the Cloud Dreamer activity, part of the Invention at Play interactive website created by the Lehmelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, part of the Smithsonian Institution.  The key thing you can do with this activity is to create a cloud by clicking and dragging points, then send it to float across the sky. In addition to much descriptive language, SLPs could have a child describe how they plan to make a cloud look like an object before they ever touch the mouse.

I made an iPad cloud.  Sort of.  Apple probably will be making one of these too.

Cloud Dreamer could be put in the context of a classroom weather unit or used with engaging books (for younger children) such as Eric Carle's Little Cloud or It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw.

Cloud Dreamer is Flash-based and is therefore NOT iPad-friendly.

Check out the other interesting activities at Invention at Play that also have language potential.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Video on Direct/Indirect Language

RSA Animate is a wonderfully creative resource that provides sketch visualizations of interesting talks and lectures.  I recently watched this one by noted linguist Stephen Pinker, discussing what we would refer to as "indirect and direct" language and social relationships.  It is well worth a look and would perhaps be worth using in segments if you work with adult clients that have high-level social pragmatic issues. Summer food-for-thought!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Link Friday

I'm trying out something new here on SpeechTechie- Link Friday! I encounter a lot of things on the web that prompt a tweet out to SLPs, but not necessarily a lengthier analytical post.  These include articles about language or technology, other SLPs' blog posts, or quick-hit tech resources that don't take more than 140 characters to position as candidates for your therapy activities.  I will still be exploring resources in depth here (though a little less frequently in summer mode), but also will occasionally be gathering and sharing some collections of tweets for those who don't want to get into Twitter!

[edit: sorry, there was something wrong with that chirpstory and it was embedding my STPC entry.  To see the links from this week, click here]