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November 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: ASHA Beantown Wrap-Up, Part 1

Boston Skyline photoThis past week featured the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s annual national convention in our home state (and my home city of Boston)! MindWing presented and exhibited at the convention and I was proud to be part of two presentations that incorporated MindWing’s tools with context-setting resources including both technology and picture books. I was thrilled to present another edition of an oral seminar describing the helpful pairing of picture books and apps for contextualized language intervention. As this year’s ASHA theme focused on evolution and innovation within the field of speech-language pathology, this presentation centered around pairings that aligned with social studies and science topics (Boston also is a “Hub” of both disciplines). Some of the background within this presentation centered on why SLPs and literacy interventionists might seek to incorporate social studies and science topics in our work...

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October 30, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: Google’s Geo-Tools Show More than Setting!

Google Earth logo setFollowing up on last month’s Tech Tuesday post describing some narrative and expository teaching tools within Google’s G-Suite, this month we’ll look at some Google resources to visualize setting (and more)! Google Earth has long been a great tool for language development, as it is a searchable, interactive globe allowing you to zoom into an aerial (3D) image of any location, as well as offering Street View interactive imagery and text descriptions. Google Earth previously existed as a complicated downloadable application but now is available as a web version in the Chrome browser, as well as a simplified free iPad app...

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August 21, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: Back to School Part 2—Five Great Resources for Demonstrating Narrative and Informational Expression

Logos for ExcerptUsing interactive apps and websites, we can help students deconstruct discourse and see its essential parts. However, technology can also provide a space—a blank slate, so to speak—that we can use to help students use narrative and expository elements and icons to build language through engaging mini-projects using apps for creation. The realm of “digital storytelling” has expanded, and at the same time became more simplified with the arrival of easy-to-use apps. iPad and Android “creation” apps (oft referred to as apps that allow students to “show what they know”) can be used to make picture collages, books, animations or videos that tell a story or give information...

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June 26, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: Contextualizing Narrative and Social Interventions (Minecrafting)

Minecraft Education logoMaybe you’ve heard of Minecraft. In the past several years, this gaming universe has become particularly popular with the elementary set, and also has sparked efforts to incorporate its visually engaging and spatially useful interface into educational contexts. This post was sparked by some questions from a reader of this blog who wrote me to inquire whether I use Minecraft in my work and as a language development context, so I thought I might elaborate on that here. Complicated, right? My philosophy on technology integration in speech and language work has always been that tech is a tool to establish context, engagement, foster interaction and provide visual supports. It’s for this reason that complex, extended activities with technology such as Minecraft are not something I gravitate towards, though they are certainly possible if well planned. After all, we tend to have a limited amount of time for intervention with our students, and every minute is important...

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April 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: Interpreting Research on Narratives and Autism

In this Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, we turn our attention more specifically on our students and clients with unique social learning and language characteristics. A recent (2017) study by Westerveld and Roberts, The Oral Narrative Comprehension and Production Abilities of Verbal Preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum, has a number of implications that I would like to interpret in the context of tools available for narrative intervention. The study involved assessment of preschoolers’ narratives (notably an uninvestigated area for preschool students with autism, according to the article) via presentation of a fictional narrative and administration of comprehension questions and a retelling task. A large grouping within the sample did not produce a retelling that could be analyzed, but the 19 that did were assessed for length, semantic diversity, grammatical complexity and accuracy, intelligibility, inclusion of critical events, and narrative stage. The article notes that most of the research on spontaneous language of preschoolers with autism has focused on free play, rather than the ability to pull language together into narratives...

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February 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: La La Land, Part 2

La La Land imageI previewed last month that this month’s post would discuss some of those exemplar pairings specifically. Before we crack some books and launch some apps, a word about analyzing contexts. For both books and apps, it can help if they have what I like to call a “Speechie” quality. You can read more about this along with the FIVES criteria (Fairly Priced, Interactive, Visual, Educationally Relevant, Speechie). Breaking down the Speechie part, we can ask ourselves if the book or app is a context for speech and language development: • Does it have a narrative structure that can be used for intervention, considering Story Grammar Marker® or Braidy the StoryBraid® as a tool (this includes apps that allow you to make your own choices such that a story unfolds)? • Does it provide or allow you to interact with informational language...

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November 20, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Stories of Turkey Day

P is For Pilgrim book linkTechnology, as always, can help us bring contexts to the table, including the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Here is an updated list of tech-based visuals and interactives that can be used to elicit narrative and expository language using Story Grammar Marker®, ThemeMaker, MindWing’s narrative and expository maps, magnets, and the SGM® iPad App (still on sale through November for $14.99 in celebration of ASHA Convention). Epic! Books for Kids: This terrific resource offering free educator accounts and a huge variety of e-books (readable on iPad, web or Apple TV), offers some great contexts when you search for “Thanksgiving.” Among these are P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet (Crane/Urban), an alphabet book for all ages. Consider using this book to explore two different settings: past and present...

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