Saturday, May 18, 2013

The End Is In Sight

It seems like just yesterday we were preparing for the 1st day of school. Now the last day of this school year is seven days away. I can’t believe how fast the year went. They seem to pick up speed every year of my teaching career.

With the end in sight it’s time to reflect back. It really has been an amazing year. I have juggled high caseload numbers but I didn’t let it affect the services I provided. The progress the kids have made has been GREAT. I’ve tried a number of new things. I finally feel like I have a good handle on how to use mobile technology to drive my speech program. It has taken me being willing to CHANGE but in the long run I know I’m more efficient and my students are getting  21st century speech therapy. I guess you really can teach an “old dog” new tricks. We have also been able to get some of our students with more significant disabilities out of the school and into our communities to have “real world” learning experiences. It has been exciting to watch how the kids have changed because of these experiences.

Students -  thank you for another great year. You are the reason I get up every morning. The excitement I see in your eyes for learning is what drives me to come up with new ways to meet everyone’s needs. We’ve had a lot of fun, cried a few tears and made tons of progress this year. I’m proud of each of you and know that you all will become a caring and contributing member of society.

Summer brings planning for next year. I’m excited to see what it will bring. We have a 5th and 6th grade iPad initiative starting next fall so I know I have LOTS to figure out this summer. One thing is iBook Author. My technology units are now going digital. I already have two trainings on my calendar for later in the summer. So it will be a summer of learning which is great.

The lazy crazy days of summer mean I also need to step up and help out at AppAbled more. Hopefully I will be able to help our coverage of speech language apps and accessories grow. That is important to me. I want to help my colleagues get the right apps into their students’ hands so everyone is successful. So keep an eye out for some of my posts over at Thank you to the “Big Bosses” over there for giving me this opportunity. It has been a GREAT way for me to grow as a professional. I appreciate it more than you realize.

Enjoy your summer, I know that I will spend plenty of time on the shores of Spirit Lake enjoying the sun and having fun.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Dare You Articulation

“I Date You Articulation is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. The app has been optimized for iPhone 5.

·         $4.99
·         Category: Education
·         Released: May 03, 2013
·         Version: 1.0
·         Size: 99.2 MB
·         Seller: Erik X. Raj, LLC
·         © Copyright 2013 Erik X. Raj
·         Rated 4+

As most of you know, May is Better Speech and Hearing month. This year I decided I needed to take a serious look at all the great apps that can assist SLPs in meeting the needs of the students on their caseloads. There are some GREAT apps and wonderfully generous developers. I was fortunate enough to find a developer that I had not heard of named Erik X. Raj. Erik currently has two apps in that “App Store” that focus on improving articulation skills. I purchased his newest app called “I Dare You Articulation” which was released on May 3rd.

“I Dare You Articulation” is a breath of fresh air. It isn’t your traditional articulation app in the sense that it doesn’t contain any pictures. What it does contain is over 600 kid friendly dares that focus of the following speech phonemes; S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH. Each of the dares require that the students get up and move around the therapy environment which encourages the students actively participates in the therapy session.

The app has a clean simple interface that is user friendly. It requires that someone chose the phoneme (S, Z,
R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, or TH) and what position in words that it is going to be worked on (I require my students to do the set up so they know what phoneme and position is the focus of the therapy session).  After these choices are made, the student is presented with a screen that has the dare written out in the middle (example: I dare you to pretend like you’re a juggler who is the best at juggling bowling balls). In the lower left hand corner is a button that lets you hear the dare stated aloud. The audio is clear and contains great pronunciation. The lower right hand corner contains that home button. In the upper right hand corner is the next button while the back button is located in the upper left corner.

On the opening screen of the app, you will find a “i” button located in the lower right hand corner. It contains an extremely inclusive description of the app, how to use it in speech sessions and a warning that says no one should try these dares in real life as they were designed just for imaginative use in speech language therapy. I used the “I Dare You Articulation” app in the following manner with my students.  1) We listened to the dare read aloud. The student was required to repeat the dare back to me and then act it out. 2) The other students in the group were required to watch the dare being acted out and offer positive or constructive feedback (in complete sentences) on how the actor did (example: “I like how you _____”, “I could tell the bowling balls you were juggling were heavy by your facial expressions”).

Initially my students were a little timid to participate so I demonstrated how I would like the dares acted out a couple of times using a tad bit of over exaggeration. Then my students started to dramatize roles with academy award winning skills. They LOVED the app. Many times we were all laughing so hard we had to take a minute to regroup so we could move on. This app was exactly what some of my students needed this close to the end of the school year. It truly brought a breath of fresh air to therapy as it was something new and different that we had never done. I Dare You Articulation was such a hit that I purchased the other app by Erik X Raj. This one is called Multiple Choice Articulation and I can hardly wait to try it out.

What I Like About This App
·         I Dare You Articulation address multiple learning styles in that it approaches articulation therapy in a novel manner.
·         Love the clean and simple interface in the app.
·         The audio when the dare is read aloud is clear and contains great pronunciation

What I Would Like To See In Future Updates
·         I wish the app had built in data keeping
·         It would be wonderful to be able to work on phonemes in more than one position of words at a time.
·         Having the ability to build individual profiles for each user would be great. I understand it would probably require an increase in cost but I think it might be worth it.

Support for “I Dare You Articulation is Located at: