What is your tech IQ?

Jan 22, 2013   //   Academics, Blog, Technology

by Kathryn Wage

Few of us have escaped the impact of smart phones, tablets, computers or e-readers in our lives. Even if you are one of the few who have avoided owning these devices you are confronted by the fact that your doctor, your teacher, your family, and your support system all rely on smart technology to an increasing degree.

One of the most promising areas where technology has had an impact is in learning environments. Just a few years ago it was rare to see a teacher or therapist with a tablet computer or smart phone using it for teaching or for therapy Today the world of educational has been revolutionized by technology. There are hundreds of thousands of apps for education and therapy with more being created daily.

The word app is a noun, and it’s short for “application.” Application in this case refers to a software application — in other words, a software program.

How have apps and smart devices changed the classroom?

If you have school-age family members you might have observed that teachers have at their disposal books, videos, learning apps, tests and more, all available through a variety of devices for their use. Gone are the days when the VCR was the high tech piece of classroom equipment. Now teachers are being encouraged to incorporate cell phones and tablets into their classrooms since so many of the children have access to these devices. Even social networking apps such as Twitter are proving helpful for students to communicate with their teachers and with experts about the content of assigned lessons. Now you can “Tweet” major authors and scientists, ask your questions directly. And they respond!

At the California Learning Connection both Speech-Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists use smart phones and tablet devices daily for many aspects of their work. The therapy schedule is available and coordinated with the office network. Email and texting are available instantly to communicate last minute changes. There are record keeping apps that help track a client’s responses in a therapy session. Recording apps can be used over time to either video or voice record a client’s progress. There are an ever increasing number of apps that have been created to practice skills that therapists teach ranging from fine motor skills to higher level language tasks. Best of all, most are free or at very low cost.

Apps and technology will not take the place of the human interaction and the art of therapeutic intervention; but when used wisely, they can make the teacher or therapist more effective by offering more opportunities for practice and learning.

Center For Communication Skills, Speech & Language Pathologists, Fresno, CA