Just Google It! Google offers simple, free tools for sharing, organizing and interacting with student materials. See if they simplify your school year. App-titude
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App-titude  |   September 01, 2015
Just Google It!
Author Notes
  • Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” sean@speechtechie.com
    Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and consultant to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie, looks at technology “through a language lens.” sean@speechtechie.com×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / App-titude
App-titude   |   September 01, 2015
Just Google It!
The ASHA Leader, September 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.20092015.np
The ASHA Leader, September 2015, Vol. 20, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.APP.20092015.np
As your students head back this fall, it may be time to Google-enable your speech room.
Many speech-language pathologists tell me they’re already using Google Apps for Education when I conduct technology training around the U.S. and Canada. And Google itself states that subscribers number in the millions of students and educators, from the elementary school level on up.
Typically rolled out by school district technology administrators, Google Apps for Education is a suite of tools—word processing through Docs, a presentation creator in Slides, and other features—you can access from any device, anywhere. Students and staff access these via a free login.
As a school-based SLP, you stand to benefit from this acesss, given your role in assistive technology and using iPads and other tech tools in treatment. So start the year armed with knowledge of how these features may help your students, and perhaps advocate for their use.
Six aspects of Google’s tools may help facilitate language development, organization and executive-function skills, and access to curriculum content.
Drive it: The Google Drive feature provides a cloud-based (accessible from anywhere via login) storage space to automatically save created documents, photos and other school files. So now students who often “lost that paper” have a locker they can open anytime on the web or via free iOS and Android apps to access their materials.
Organize it: Google’s sharing features allow teachers, SLPs and other staff to provide assignments and resources to students digitally. Students, in turn, can “hand in” any document via Google. Taking paper out of the equation reduces the amount of materials students need to organize. Plus, you can set up folders in Drive to organize and categorize materials. More teachers are using the more recently released Google Classroom feature (also available through apps for iOS and Android), which gives them more control and automaticity in organizing, collecting and providing feedback on assignments.
Feed it back: The sharing features in Google Docs and Slides (each with separate free apps for iOS and Android, integrating with storage space in Drive) allow you to deposit documents directly in others’ Drives. Teachers and other students can provide feedback on a document: You simply highlight a word or sentence and insert a comment. Through Google Apps, SLPs can use treatment time to consult on students’ written language assignments.
Draw it: SLPs can support the writing process by helping students to create graphic organizers that promote language organization. In Google Apps, you can easily create a “Google Drawing” in Drive or insert a Drawing directly into a Doc—a function that is not yet available on mobile devices. Use Drawings to support thinking and connections between ideas and to advance students’ understanding of, for example, grammar and expository text structure.
Manage it: Google Apps provide access to the widely used Google Calendar (with free apps for iOS and Android), thus potentially preparing students for the workplace as well. SLPs can use Calendar to promote time management, planning and organization.
Extend it: Google Apps works well with Google’s free Chrome browser, with free extensions available in the Chrome Web Store. Popular extensions include the wonderful Read and Write for Google, which provides free text-to-speech for Google Docs and web pages, and other tools by subscription. Educators may claim a free Read and Write for Google subscription, which includes highlighting and vocabulary-development tools.
Check out additional available extensions such as webpage annotator diigo, a great tool to couple with teaching research skills and strategies, or Ginger, a spelling, grammar and rephrasing tool. Lists of Chrome extensions relevant to assistive technology are continually updated, such as this one provided on the Teaching through Technology website. You can access your favorite Chrome extensions when you sign in to the browser on any personal computer.
Want to learn more about how Google Apps work? Check out Google’s self-paced interactive learning site for lessons on using Docs, Chrome, Calendar or other tools. Then, applying your unique SLP lens, see just how much these tools can help your students this coming year!
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FROM THIS ISSUE
September 2015
Volume 20, Issue 9