Saturday, May 5, 2012

Using Speech Journal iPad App with Your Students

Do you use iPads with your students?  Have you tried the app called Speech Journal? It is $1.99 and worth every penny!!  My current position includes working with young adults with intellectual disabilities who are part of college inclusion programs.  I stumbled upon Speech Journal, and it has made a huge difference in our students' abilities to communicate and share experiences.  The process is simple.  Take lots of pictures of something and then narrate the story with the pictures. Our students use Speech Journal at their internships, community lessons, and social activities, but the applications are endless!  One speech journal showed a trip to a cell phone store.  The student and mentor took pictures of our student entering the store, checking out the products, and looking at the cell phone plans.  They then came back to campus where they decided which pictures to use in the journal and how the student would narrate the event.  The mentor asked questions and the student shared her responses.  Some students prefer to write out and plan their script while others prefer to just express themselves as they see the pictures.  Some mentors are move involved in the process while others can step back and just be supportive.  We have used Speech Journal as a training task reminder.  The supervisor takes pictures of the steps and narrates the process.  The student then takes the iPad, watches the Speech Journal entry, and follows the directions. Students and staff can use this app at self-directed IEP meetings, mock interviews, and football games!  One mentor showed a student the steps to making spaghetti!  He was a residential mentor who struggled with teaching students how to cook simple foods, but now anyone can pick up the iPad and follow the steps!

I like this app in particular because it works with any age student.  The sample shows a young child making a bowl of cereal, but it works for any age, including adults who are demonstrating a complex lesson.   It can work at school, home, or at a job site.  There are a few drawbacks. The final journal entry cannot be emailed because the file is to large for email addresses, but the user should be able take the finished product, turn it into an iMovie, and share it via Dropbox.  I still need to try that process out.  Also, a student can rerecord their words as much as possible, but once they are happy with the frame and move on, the student cannot go back and change anything.

All in all, Speech Journal is a fantastic way to help any child or adult with a disability to express thoughts and share stories...and it's fun!!

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