Friday, December 22, 2017

On Technology Training

I highly recommend checking out a recent article published in ASHA Perspectives (yes, you need to be a SIG member, by which you get access to the unified SIG Perspectives journal) Technology Training in Speech-Language Pathology: A Focus on Tablets and Apps (Edwards & Dukhovny, 2017). The article is specific to technology integration in clinical training programs in universities, but the information is relevant not only to those in higher education, but clinical supervisors and clinicians in general. A few key points:

  • The authors site many rationales for integrating apps in intervention, including "client motivation, streamlined data-capturing, potential cost savings compared to printed materials, and the particular intervention advantages of visual, dynamic, and interactive presentation."
  • The goal of their work was also avoiding tech integration pitfalls such as "unclear paths to generalization," distracting features within apps, and focusing on implementation at the expense of client needs, as well as our field's tendency to utilize word of mouth and lay user reviews rather than more clinically oriented information.
  • The article recommends that "students and faculty need structured educational opportunities ranging from explicit instruction to guided exploration of relevant technologies."
  • It is noted that limited documentation is available on apps (at least within developer-provided information) and it is unlikely that studies will be conducted on low-cost resources. Consider also (my note) the recent death of hundreds of apps with iOS 11 and our need to always race against obsolescence.
  • Through a process of pre/post surveys and an AT "open house" at the university, the authors describe a process of instructing student clinicians on available resources and provide a rubric by which clinicians need to request new apps be made available with specific detail on their relationship to client needs.
Overall, the article represents an important (peer-reviewed!) comment on the state of technology integration in our field and outlines strategies and the need for training within clinical education programs. Of course, like all of us I would like to see more research emerge on apps, but continue to think it is unlikely for it to be widespread given the reasons sited above (low cost of resources, cost of research, transience of apps and their discrete functions). I can see why the authors would feel the need to say that evaluation rubrics do "not substitute for peer-reviewed intervention research." An additional point I would make is that the use of rubrics should be expanded beyond app requests and be made less "optional" than within the context described, though providing workshops and app request procedures for students is a great start. Truly, education within each course area should include information on technology and critical app evaluation (see my FIVES criteria). A use of rubrics in this way would promote alignment with clinical expertise and client values, the other prongs of EBP.  The authors also briefly mention how clinicians repurposed apps such as Quizlet, and I of course endorse the clinical opportunities connected to these apps, as this is the primary focus of this website.

See it at:
Edwards, J. & Dukhovny, E. (2017). Technology Training in Speech-Language Pathology: A Focus on Tablets and Apps. Perspect ASHA SIGs, 2 (SIG 10), 33–48. doi: 10.1044/persp2.SIG10.33

3 comments:

  1. The difficulty with rubrics is that they can be very subjective and time consuming. I am really hoping that my feature matching checklist will be used in order to align the features offered in the app with best practice. What I love about this article is the need to start thinking more deeply and perhaps critically about the value that an app can bring to therapy.

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