Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Essential Skill for SLPs: Saving Images from the Web (iOS Edition)!

Cross-posted from SpeechTechie

In a related post, I described the important skill of saving images from the Web on standard laptop and desktop operating systems (i.e. Mac OS X and Windows whatever), which SLPs would need to do in order to create visuals using web images and utilize the features of inserting images in many web tools (e.g. Glogster, Voicethread, and countless others).  I thought it also would be helpful to cover the much simpler steps of saving images using iOS devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch.  This is a necessary sequence of steps if one wanted to use images saved from the Web in creation apps such as Comic Life or LifeCards (two apps I will describe in greater detail at a later time).

1. Open the Safari app and navigate to Google (or use the Google search field in the upper right corner).  Write the topic for the image you want and tap Images in the left sidebar.

2. Tap the image you would like to use and then tap Full Size Image.  In some cases, Google redirects to the page that the image is on, and you don't need to tap Full Size Image.

3. To save the image (to the Camera Roll, accessed in the Photos app on every device), tap and hold the image.  You will see a drop-down menu appear, choose Save Image.

4. While on this page, you should copy the URL of the image in order to cite it, according to guidelines for Fair Use of copyrighted materials in education. To do so, tap and hold the URL, tap Select All, then Copy.

5.  If the app you are using allows you to insert an image, this function is usually prompted through the icon that looks like mountains with a sun in the background (who knows why, perhaps because Cupertino is in the California mountains??), like so:

Using Comic Life here...

Tapping this icon allows you to access your Camera Roll (where you have just saved the photos, aka Photos app) and insert the image.

In some cases, you may wish to take a screenshot of what is on your screen and use THIS as an image.  This is done by pushing the Home (right below the screen) and Lock (at the top of the device) buttons simultaneously.  Your screen will flash and you will hear a "camera" sound.  This saves your screenshot to the Camera Roll and it can be accessed in the same way as described above.  

Hope this is helpful!

Monday, July 25, 2011

AbcPocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words

App Name/Publisher: abcPocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words/Published by Apps in My Pocket Ltd.

Description: Phonics application that targets letter sounds for the 20 letters of the alphabet and letter diagraphs. Application demonstrates proper letter formation. Children can trace letters to practice their letter formation.

Therapy Use: Therapists can use this app to target the following skills: literacy, phonemic awareness, letter identification, sound symbol relationships, diagraphs, letter formation, blending, decoding and spelling.

App Benefits/Likes: App allows option to customize for individual children. App provides practice with both upper and lower case letters. The app provides a cursive writing option. The app has an option to turn on/off feedback for accuracy of letter formation. In addition to targeting letter formation, the app targets decoding of early words.

Cautions: Children with fine motor needs may become frustrated unless the formation accuracy is turned off.

App Summary

Skill(s) Targeted
Fine motor planning
Fine motor control
Letter formation

Age/Grade Levels Targeted
Early Elementary (Grades 1 – 3)

How to Activate
Hold and drag

Type of Device
iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad


Would you recommend this app?



Reviewed by
Deb Tomarakos, M.A. CCC/SLP

Review Date

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Organizing My Apps

(cross post from www.speechgadget.com)

I have hundreds of apps for my iPod and iPad. I have so many uploaded on my iPad that during therapy sessions, I found I was wasting time scrolling through pages of apps. I also found that some of my clients thought it was visually stimulating to quickly scroll through the pages of apps. Talk about a session quickly spiraling down the wrong path.

I knew that the best solution to my disorganized iPad was to take some time to organize my apps into folders, however, I never seemed to have the time. Given the slower pace of summer (and given the fact that I currently no longer have a house to clean), I decided to take some time to organize my apps. I was surprised to find that my organization task took much less time than I anticipated. I also found that the most difficult part of my task was deciding how to group the apps. I began my organizing by dragging and dropping the apps on top of each other right on the iPad. The iPad did the work of creating the folders and even naming the folders. I then took some time to rename the folders. I am sure that over time I will move apps around, create new folders and maybe even rename some folders. For the moment, however, I am pleased with the way the apps are organized. Now that I have everything in nice, neat folders, I figured I would spend a few post sharing my folders and apps.
If you would like some more information on how to organize your apps into folders, here is an article that Sean Sweeney shared with me from lifehacker.com

Before I share my organization system and my apps, I must insert a little disclaimer. Owning an app, does not equate recommending an app. There have definitely been times when I purchased an app, only to use it and decide I didn't like it. I also own apps that my children have downlaoded and I have never used, particularly apps that are in my games folders. That said, I view this list as nothing more than a simple list of apps that are on my iPad. It is not necessarily a list of apps I use, or apps I think others should use in therapy. Over time, I hope to be able to review many of these apps and post those reviews here on the site.

App List by Folder

Entertainment Folder
Game Center
Google Books

Dragon Dictation

Reference Folder
Google Earth


So that is my beginning list of apps. Over the next few weeks, I will continue to post more about my folders and apps.  If you have an awesome way of organzing your apps for therapy, or for personal use, we would love to hear from you.

Friday, July 8, 2011

No wifi? (Mostly) No Problem

I had a reader over at SpeechTechie who recently contacted me with a question.  She (very admirably) planned to purchase an iPad for use with her students with autism, but had NO interest in employing it for her own personal use (so, even more admirable).  However, she works in a school with no wireless internet available to students or teachers.  Her question: should she proceed with buying this iPad, and would there be enough apps that function without wifi?

The question was illuminating to me because I have to admit I am totally spoiled.  Not only do I work in a district with ubiquitous and pretty reliable wifi, but our IT department also embraces teachers using personal iPads to connect to the Internet. I previously received a similar question (to which I do not really know the answer, as the politics and other factors are different in every district): how to convince the powers that be to allow teachers connecting personal devices if they are not so liberal in this regard. I always need to remind myself that not every district has wireless.  Additionally, and perhaps because of this, I realized I didn't know in general how many apps that are useful to SLPs require wifi to function (function meaning to be used in activities with students, not to back up data or update the app, tasks that can be completed when wifi is available).  Unfortunately, upon examination, it appears that the profiles on apps in the iTunes store do not indicate which apps require wifi, at least not universally.  So, I turned to the power of the the PLN (Personal Learning Network) and threw the question out on Twitter.  Here's what ensued:

So, this was a very helpful discussion for me (and I hope to this reader, who has since purchased the iPad!), the upshot being that the vast majority of apps that are of interest to SLPs do not require wifi to function. The ones listed are really exceptions to the rule, though of course this list is not comprehensive and will likely continue to expand. Really, only apps that need to pull live content (audio, video, text, pictures) from the web in order to function would be useless in a school without wifi. For many other apps, one needs to have a connection to the Internet to build libraries or update, but the app would be useful. The reader brought up the point that we perhaps should indicate here on TxApp411 if an app requires wifi, and I will be mentioning that to the other editors here. Thanks for your excellent question!

Sean J. Sweeney CCC-SLP