Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monkey Spot

Scavenger hunts make for great speech and language activities as they require students to work with categories, use descriptive language, problem solve (and therefore use critical language forms such as because, so, if/then) and work together. Monkey Spot is a unique app, using the iOS camera as the means to capture a number of items on themed lists (note that for now this is an iPhone app only, but it can be installed on iPads, so use the link or change your app store search filter to look for iPhone apps). The app contains 7 free hunts that include several that could be done in a school setting (additional hunts such as "Look in a Book" are worth purchasing for $.99 each). Each item on the list prompts the taking of a photo, and descriptive text can also be added. Once complete, the "hunt" is saved as a slideshow in the app. For a simpler spin on this type of activity, see Alien Assignment.

Monkey Spot provides a great structure for building language in a scavenger hunt context, but you can't make your own hunts in the app as of yet. Consider Google Slides for building your own hunts. Though Google Slides is meant for presentations, you also can basically make digital workbooks with the app, and now that inserting photos is possible, you can make the same type of activity as Monkey Spot offers. Just set up a series of slides with text indicating the items to be photographed (good for working on observational skills for students with social learning challenges) and you're all set. Be sure to make a copy of your Slides file before using it with students so you will still have a blank one for your next group. Having the completed work within your Google Apps for Education account opens possibilities for sharing with students and teachers or perhaps continuing a writing project.

Take a look at Monkey Spot and then see what you can create on your own!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Voice Typing in Google Docs

Oh, my, It's been a busy month! Just got back from presenting with the Hawaii Speech-Language Hearing Convention and New York's association the week before that. Thank you to both associations and membership groups for extremely warm welcomes!

A key strategy within assistive technology is using what one already has. Many of you "already have" access to Google Docs, being part of districts who have deployed Google Apps for Education. We can benefit greatly from this suite of tools, as can our students who struggle to organize materials, hand in assignments, and generally meet the productivity requirements of the classroom. Many districts are making Google Apps available (without email turned on) for even primary grades.

Recently, Google added a speech-to-text function in Google Docs called Voice Typing. Now, speech-to-text works variably based on how students speak, but they can learn strategies to be more successful with dictation if it can be an assistive tool given their profiles. Keep in mind that this feature requires a microphone, Google Chrome Browser, and is only available on newer iPads currently.

Check out this video for a great demo of Voice Typing

See a clinically-minded overview of Voice Typing at OTs with Apps and view this list of commands to use in the feature- it does more than type, and can format text as well!