Wednesday, July 20, 2022

5 Reasons the iPad is Still Relevant to SLPs

When the iPad came out in 2010, I was skeptical. It seemed like a big iPhone and I wasn't sure it would take off. Showing how much I know, it soon became an educational sensation and took off, particularly in the field of speech-language pathology. Before you knew it, there was a surge of interest in my blog, SLP app lists, and professional development sessions on using it as an assessment and therapy tool. The App Store filled with apps designed for SLPs (still relevant also) and schools invested in carts and equipping all their staff with an iPad.

Apple still pumps out new iPads but there is much less talk about them. First of all Chromebooks made accessing the web and Google productivity apps cheap and easy for schools. Secondly, a pandemic pushed everyone into an environment where iPads were less useful (between skittishness about touching shared objects and confusion/limitations about using it in remote teaching), and I believe everyone also got a bit tired of technology, after it became non-optional for so long. In 2022, I think the iPad is still useful as a tool, however, and here are a few reasons why.

1. Lower screens to the table. Raised screens laptop-style promotes faces-in-screens. It's much easier to have a conversation over an iPad or with the use of an Apple TV and reinforce those face to face interactions.

2. Pass-and-play. A form of play and conversation is adding thoughts to a context. This is supremely easy to do with an iPad (and hand sanitizer) and not so much with a laptop. Consider an activity like adding contextual items to a collage (or trimming around them to create a gestalt) with Pic Collage.

3. Price. The newest iPads are relatively inexpensive at $329. There are also still many free and low-cost apps available.

4. Little Hands. Let's face it- it's still not easy for K-3 students at least to log into a Chromebook and handle a mouse. Feeling successful with a tap is more engaging than frustrating clicks and drags.

5. Interactivity and No-BS access. There are few rivals on the web to assets such as Toca Boca and their younger kiddo company, Sago Mini, the apps of which bring visuals and interactivity to countless world contexts, therefore opening the door to speech and language targets. Similarly, many web resources charge subscription fees for full access. By and large when you download an app (avoiding the ones with many in-app purchases), it's yours without more haggling. The integration of camera/photos and drawing/text tools in apps like Book Creator, among other easier-to-use creation tools, is also less seamless on a laptop.

In conclusion, I currently favor having the option of both a full web browser (e.g. laptop) and the iPad at my disposal! If you are interested in hearing about some more examples, be sure to register for SLP Summit (free) where I am presenting alongside some amazing people next week!

If you have more reasons the iPad is still relevant to you (or not), please let us know in the comments!

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