Monday, April 30, 2012

Click n' Talk and Talk'n Photos Apps

On Saturday, I presented at a wonderful, well organized Autism Resource Fair, sponsored by Autism Allies. I was asked to give a general overview of the iPad and how it may be beneficial for individuals with autism and to highlight some apps. I had a difficult time deciding which apps to highlight in the category of augmentative alternative communication (AAC). This group of apps gets a majority of the press coverage related to individuals with special needs. The obvious choice was Proloquo2go. This app has received a great deal of attention, rightfully so, as it is a well designed, useful app. It comes with a large price tag. Many have pointed out that in comparison to other comparable AAC devices which we're thousands of dollars, $189.00 seems very reasonable. Yet, in the world of apps, this is very steep. I decided to highlight Proloquo2Go and My First AAC which has a more moderate price point of $24.99. As I was preparing the presentation, I received an email from a colleague about two apps that were free for the day. I downloaded them and tried them out. I then added them to the list of AAC apps. I really liked this price, free! Even now that the sale is over, the apps are only $2.99.

The apps are Click n' Talk and Talk'n Photos. They were developed by a school district in Minnesota. The district supported a group of teachers who wanted to develop an app to meet a specific need and the results are wonderful. AAC is only one of many possible uses for these apps. 

In ten minutes, I created a simple communication board for snack time using Talk'n Photos. You can add text and audio to the picture. Each photo is 2x2 which is quite standard. You can use your own photos or import from the web.  The grids are three across and unlimited vertically. I added messages with "I want" along with the name of the food. When you select a message, the screen stays on the grid page.  To leave an album, an arrow at the top is selected. As a communication device, this is an easy, affordable start.

Talk'n Photos Album Page, I created the Snack album, the other two are examples that came with the app.

Talk n' Photo message page.

Talk n' Photos can support many other objectives.  Grids could be created for vocabulary building, language concepts, social stories, sequencing a self help routine and visual schedules.  I hope to share other examples as our staff begins to use the app.


Click n' Talk is a little different from Talk n' Photos in presentation.  The grid is similar but when you select a picture, the selection enlarges to the entire screen, the picture needs to be selected again for the message to play.  Arrows allow you to navigate between photos.  This app may be better suited for social stories and customized books.  I created an art and snack album.  I added numbers to request a quantity for snack. 

Album page, I created an Art and Snack album.  The Milo album is a sample story that came with the app.
Snack Album page, when you select yogurt the next image will appear. 

Here is a link to a video showing a student using Click n' Talk.  I hope to post more examples soon.  Please share how you are using these apps with young learners or learners with special needs.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Doodle Buddy iPad lesson ideas: Creating templates using stamps.

The stamp tool on the Doodle Buddy app, is an easy way to create simple worksheets.  To encourage fine motor practice, I often tape pictures to a large whiteboard and create templates similar to the following examples.  This post illustrates how you can use Doodle Buddy stamps to adapt these whiteboard activities for the iPad.  The stamps work well for working on the concepts of big and little because you can adjust the size of the stamp.  You could create a template for sorting zoo and ocean animals.  Sequencing and counting can also be targeted skills.  I am sure you will think of many more applications!  

Begin by choosing the stamp icon. In this menu you can choose the stamp and the size of the stamp. To draw the path, switch to the chalk by selecting the chalk icon. On the new menu, select the chalk icon at the top of the menu, you can adjust the line width and color using this menu as well.  In the previous Doodle Buddy post I suggested taking a screen shot to save the template.  Another option is to select the wrench icon.  In the new menu, select "Save to Photo Album".  

To use the template, select the tic tac toe icon, then photos, then the picture of the template.  I recommend locking the screen orientation at this point so it is not turning as the student is trying to complete the activity.  If you want to save the student's work, select the wrench and then "Save to Photo Album".  To clear the template for additional use, select the trash can or gently shake the iPad. 

Here is an example of a sequencing template.  

Here is an example of a counting template.  

There is a post on the ASHAsphere blog that highlights the use of the GlowColoring app to spice up worksheets used in speech therapy.  How are you using Doodle Buddy to create templates?  What other apps are you using to create templates?  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doodle Buddy Bingo

Doodle Buddy was the first free app I put on our iPads. It is a drawing app with templates and stamps.  It is a coincidence that when I did my very first search for preschool iPad lesson plans, I came across the site, Apptivities, and a lesson plan using Doodle Buddy. This lesson plan provided a spring board for several other ideas that I will be sharing. I went to some of my favorite free printable sites and took screenshots of tracing worksheets and mazes. While at the DLTK's sites, I thought about all the laminating film I have used to create thematic bingo cards and realized that Doodle Buddy would be a great way to play bingo that would not require laminating film. These instructions are intended for a small group session of bingo using 4 iPads. 
Open Safari on the iPad and go to the DLTK site.  Follow the instructions for creating a thematic bingo card. The example was made using the spring vocabulary.  Take a screenshot of the finished product. To take a screenshot on the iPad, click the home button and power button at the same time.  The picture will be saved in the iPad's camera roll. Repeat this process on each iPad, using the same theme, so that you have a different board on each device. Print the calling sheet. 
Repeat the following steps on each device. Open the Doodle Buddy app. Select the tic tac toe icon. Select the photos icon. Select the bingo board. Display the board in portrait orientation and lock the screen orientation. 

Assist each student to choose a stamp to use for marking the board. Use the calling cards to conduct the game. Have fun. Use the trash can icon to clear the board for the next group. BINGO!

iPad Project

My job is always interesting. I have been an early intervention teacher for 18 years and am amazed and often overwhelmed by how much there is to learn. Technology has always been a necessary part of my job, especially assistive technology. With all of the new technology available, I have recently found myself a new role in our Early Intervention department. It is a very unofficial role, one I was initially reluctant to tackle but have come to enjoy. I am acting as a technology guide, researching and exploring how to use technology to enhance our effectiveness as early interventionists.  This blog will give me a forum for sharing thoughts, resources, questions, frustrations, failures and successes regarding technology integration in the field of early childhood education.  Let me give you a little background on the iPad project that started this entire journey.
Two years ago my co-worker shared that she was writing a grant. She was proposing a purchase of 20 iPads for use in our Early Intervention department. She asked me if I would assist with coordinating the implementation once we received the devices. I agreed without putting much thought into what that would involve because I didn't think we would get the grant. A portion of the grant application required her to develop a plan for staff development. She wrote that if we received the devices we would share our learning with the other staff in our district and with other area Early Intervention departments.  We received the grant. My computer served as the syncing station and our department was the first in our school district to purchase apps through the volume purchasing program. I worked with our Technology Department staff to sync the devices, purchase apps and document purchases.  There were many obstacles and it took us awhile to get the devices into the hands of our staff. This was Phase 1 of our iPad project.
Phase 2 involved researching and selecting quality apps. This phase is ongoing as there is a constant stream of apps available in the app store.  Phase 3 involves using the iPad to enhance teaching and learning. I found many resources for guiding me along in Phase 2. People have developed and shared lists of apps specific to the toddlers, preschoolers and children with special needs.  I also found many helpful app review sites.  Based on the abundance of resources to assist in Phase 2, I was very surprised when I started searching for resources to get started with Phase 3 and found very little.   I continue to search for and create examples of technology integration in early childhood.  As part of our promise on the grant application, I have been presenting on what we have learned.  I hope others to do the same so that we can build capacity in our field.