How and Why to Use Digital Resources in Person

Now that many are returning back in person, does this mean organized and ready-to-go digital resources will not be used? Of course not! In this episode, I discuss how and why to use digital resources in person now that many of us are back in school, as well as various ways to incorporate them within our therapy sessions!

My top 3 reasons why I like to use digital resources in person

-#1: Eliminate the prep time of printing, cutting, laminating, and copying. Use your no print digital resources instead!
-#2: Technology is extremely exciting for this generation, so finding ways to incorporate our student’s goals within technology will allow for increased motivation.
-#3: There are so many different resources out there to use within sessions so you are able to directly target goals using digital resources while incorporating digital reinforcements at the same time.
-#4. Finding digital tools to introduce to your students may help them in more ways outside of their therapy sessions as well.

How to use digital resources in person

1. Using an iPad/Tablet:

Now that we are back in person, do not be afraid to bring out some of those same games, activities, and apps we have used during the Covid-19 distance speech therapy sessions!

2. The Digital SLP website:

Just because you are not virtual anymore does not mean you cannot use these print-free and easy-to-use resources.

3. Boom Cards:

There are several different activities you can pull up with your students to target a variety of goals. Instead of printing out papers with activities/work, you can pull up resources on the Boom Card website.

4. Digital Tools:

Utilizing digital tools, such as organizers or even annotation tools, allows you to support your students while using only digital materials.

5. Reinforcements:

You can still use the games, puzzles, or even favorite songs you found while conducting virtual therapy sessions to help target therapy goals.

Using technology and digital materials within in-person therapy sessions provides you as a therapist with an additional tool in your toolbox in order to target your student’s goals. Continuing to use your digital resources within in-person therapy sessions will also help you save time when prepping for therapy sessions while providing your students with digital tools that they can take with them to use within the classroom and at home as well.

Links & Resources

Full Transcript of Podcast: How and Why to Use Digital Resources in Person

Episode 81: How and Why to Use Digital Resources in Person

You're listening to the Speech Space Podcast, a podcast full of tips and resources for SLPs. I'm your host, Jessica Cassity, and this is Episode 81.

Hey there! Today, we're going to be talking about using digital resources while conducting in-person therapy sessions. Before we jump in, I did want to mention that this podcast is brought to you by The Digital SLP membership site, which is a site that features time-saving interactive digital resources that are all teletherapy platform-friendly. You can learn more or sign up for a free trial by heading on over to thedigitalslp.com/digitalslp. Completing virtual therapy sessions over the past year has allowed many of us to find our go-to resources along with favorite websites to utilize within our virtual therapy sessions. And now that some of us are returning back in person, does this mean that all of our new digital resources that are ready to go are not going to be used anymore? No, no, no, no, no, no. There are several ways to incorporate various digital resources in person within our therapy sessions. So they are not just for teletherapy. So today we're going to discuss why to use digital resources in person, as well as how to use those resources in person. So let's go ahead and talk about why.

The first thing that I wanted to touch on and perhaps the most obvious reason to use digital resources in person is that you already have taken the time to find these resources. You've probably tested them out. You found what works and what doesn't. So you probably have collected a lot of these resources or bookmarked a lot of these resources and you have them ready to go. So by using what you already have, you have eliminated the prep time. You don't have to print anything, cut anything or laminate or copy anything. So it just makes sense to continue to use some of your digital resources instead, just cheerly as a time-saver.

The next reason to continue using them is because our students are very captivated by technology. You know, I know that it can sometimes be challenging within therapy sessions to find motivating activities for our students. So the more motivated and engaged our students are during our sessions, the more information they are taking away from the session. You know, technology is extremely exciting for this generation. So finding ways to incorporate our students' goals within technology will allow for increased motivation.

The next thing I wanted to touch on is that there are so many different resources out there to use within sessions. So you're able to directly target goals using digital resources while incorporating digital reinforcements at the same time. So instead of grabbing materials to target goals and finding reinforcing activities to lay out on the table, you can now find all of those things in one place and have them on one device pulled up on one screen or in different tabs. I will say that I know that hands-on reinforcers might be captivating for some of your students. So of course, if that is the case for you or the student that you're working with, you know, you can go ahead and continue using those things. But the nice thing is, is that you have one less thing to prep, if your materials are pulled up on a device and then all you need to worry about is grabbing your reinforcers for the day and putting them out on the table before your session starts.

Okay. So let's go ahead now and move into talking about how we use digital resources in person. So let's go ahead and break it down into the different types of resources that are out there. So the first thing we're going to address is using an iPad or tablet. Over the past year, you know, many of us have compiled several apps and games and activities on our iPads and our tablets. We were able to share our screens with our students to work during virtual visits, which was great. But now that we're back in person, you know, we don't need to be afraid to bring out some of those same games and activities and apps. Maybe you ended up purchasing an app where you can select card decks with target speech sounds so use this app instead of tangible cards, especially at times whenever you're on the go. You know, it's going to make it much easier and you're going to have less prep and less cleaning up time after your sessions. But I find, especially if you are going into the classroom, it can help. So you're not lugging around a huge bag of materials all day long, but really it can work for any type of session. And it's going to, again, minimize the clutter and minimize the prep time as well.

Now, of course I am biased here, but I would hate to not mention The Digital SLP website. So now that you are back in person, for some of you. I guess I'm kind of generalizing there, assuming everyone is, but I know that is not the case. But for those of you that are back in person, and even for those of you that are not, you know, bring out your favorite Digital SLP materials. So if you are a member, you know, that there's a feature called "My Lists" and within that list—and within that section rather, you can create different lists. So maybe you have a list called articulation, or maybe you have a list called John B. And you have all of your materials organized into categories so they're easy to find. So just because you're not virtual anymore, doesn't mean that you can't use these print-free and easy-to-use resources. For example, say you're working on vocabulary with your students. You can pick a theme and pull up one of the virtual field trips to go along with your theme for the day, or maybe you're talking about animals, you could pull up that virtual field trip for the farm or for the aquarium, and you can watch those videos with your students as you introduce them to novel vocabulary. If you have articulation students, then you can pull up some of the gumball articulation or the spinner games. You know, there's a lot of different resources that you can use to target various goals.

The other thing is boom cards, you know, there are several different activities. You can pull up with your students to target lots of goals using boom cards. So instead of printing out papers with the activities and the work, you can pull up resources on the Boom Cards website, which gives your student's control to point and click and drag and drop items, fill in the blanks, and other things like that, assuming that you are able to give over a mouse control during your sessions.

The other thing is digital tools. So utilizing digital tools, such as organizers or annotation tools allows you to support your students while using only digital materials. For example, you might find digital graphic organizers to use in sessions when working on making inferences. Another great tool to use in sessions is a free Google extension called Kami. I hope I'm saying that right, but it's K A M I. And this extension allows you to write on any PDF, picture, webpage, and using the extension allows you to remain paperless while you're doing those things. So you don't have to print anything out. You can show your older students how to use these tools so they can learn how to take notes and annotate and highlight when they are given digital assignments within their classrooms.

So let's talk about reinforcements. If you found several games or puzzles or favorite songs of your students while conducting virtual therapy sessions, remember that you can still use these within your in-person session. So for example, you might pull up, like we have on The Digital SLP site, a game called Snakes and Ladders, and you might have your students take a turn between each question within the session, that can keep things motivating. But just, you know, find the activities your students enjoy, whether they are tangible activities or digital, are going to be the most motivating and help keep moving your sessions forward in an engaging way.

Using technology and digital resources with an in-person therapy sessions provides you as a therapist with an additional tool in your toolbox in order to target your student goals. There are so many different digital resources out there that you can find for purchase or for free in order to target a variety of goals like following directions, describing pictures, sequencing, retelling stories, vocabulary, answering and asking questions, inferencing, making predictions. I mean, the list goes on and on. Continuing to use your digital within in-person therapy sessions will also help you save time. Like we mentioned, when prepping for your sessions, which is essential because we all know that speech therapists are generally short on time. Another benefit of using digital resources in person is to prepare for future events, such as students being absent or even preparing for any potential shutdowns in the future. So, you know, you can send links to some of your favorite resources, if those are things that you're able to share with parents. For example, on The Digital SLP side, we have something called Quicklinks where you can share a link for a resource with a parent. So your student can go ahead and practice that resource at home, which is great if you know that there's going to be an extended leave of absence, or even if they're just out sick for the week. And like I mentioned, just in terms of preparing for potential shutdowns as well, it's a great way to be able to share some of the resources and activities with parents.

So I think that sums it up. I mean, you know, at the end of the day, of course, choose what works best for your students in terms of motivation. But I think that using digital resources sometimes is thought of something that you only do for distance learning. And I kind of want to debunk that myth a little bit because there are advantages to using it in person as well. What I always like to throw out there as a disclaimer, there are ways to use technology that are responsible versus those that aren't. And just a quick summary or a quick example, rather of what it might look like if not using it responsibly would be to set your student up with an iPad and walk away to catch up on some progress notes. Okay. So that is not how we want to be using digital. When we use digital, we want to make sure that it is an interactive and engaging experience. So essentially if you're using an articulation deck on your iPad, it's going to be a very similar experience to using an articulation deck that's tangible. You know, there should not be that big of a difference. I know sometimes we can get really stuck on minimizing screen time, which I am in full support of. I have young children and we do our best to minimize screen time around here. But I think when it's used in a responsible way, in an interactive and engaging way that stimulates conversation and speech and language skills, then those are the times that we don't need to worry about it so much. It's actually something that is being used as a tool and is helpful rather than serving as a babysitter. So that's just something to keep in mind that I always like to throw out there. And I do have a previous podcast about how not to use tech in speech. So I will make sure to link that in the show notes as well, because I do always like to throw that out there just as another piece of information when we're talking about using technology, especially during in-person sessions.

Okay. So I hope that you found some of that to be helpful. And like I mentioned, at the beginning of today's show, you can head on over to thedigitalslp.com/digitalslp to go ahead and sign up for a free trial or to sign up for the membership as well. If you would like to access the show notes for today's episode, please head on over to bit.ly/TSSEP81. All right, guys, have a wonderful week. I will get you on the next show.

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