Many educational apps can easily be incorporated into the therapy setting and can be used to collect data, record conversational samples, motivate students or to be used as an augmentative assistive communication device. One should be cautious about the use of mobile devices as a means of AAC, unless an assistive technology assessment has been conducted and the device and app(s) are found to be the most appropriate means of communication for the student. This page includes links for finding apps as well as additional information about their use. ASHA does not endorse or suggest specific apps for use in therapy settings.
Advantages of Using Mobile Devices and Apps in Educational Settings
- Improved communication—E-mail allows for timely and efficient communication with students, families and colleagues. However one does need to consider that all e-mail communication has the potential to be a part of the educational record that can be used in any due process proceedings and should be made available for parent review upon request.
- Cost and time saving —Textbooks are being published electronically reducing printing costs and saving the environment. This is a considerable expense for school districts. An iPod touch may cost less than the cost of one textbook.
- Progress monitoring—Apps are available that track progress allowing the SLP and the student the ability to evaluate progress and celebrate success.
- Adaptability—can be programmed and restricted for use in the educational setting.
- Motivation—Students enjoy using these products. Anecdotal reports suggest a higher rate of student involvement in their education on some basic research studies.
- Funding—Funding is emerging in the form of grants to fund both the hardware and the apps for use in the school setting.
- Written language—Writing apps, such as Story Kit, have the potential to facilitate written language. The POGO sketch/stylus that can be used as a pencil to write notes on the devices.
- Writing IEPS—There are apps that capture signatures using the POGO stylus allowing the IEP to be completely electronic thus supporting a more green environment and reducing costs, However, a system needs to be established to ensure secure access and storage of these documents.
- Internet access—These devices provide efficient access to the Internet and all of the great technological resources available in that context.
- Literacy—Many apps facilitate literacy development. A large library of books is available to encourage reading.
- Support tools—Apps have been developed for students with autism for schedules, timers, symbols and ABA instruction.
- Games—Game apps are great rewards and may be used for language stimulation activities.
Disadvantages of Using Mobile Devices and Apps in Educational Settings
- Initial cost—districts would incur initial costs to provide the devices, wireless Internet as well as costs to train staff, students and potentially families in the use of the devices. Additional costs are incurred to access apps.
- Connectivity—A Wi-Fi network is often required, however, more schools are providing wireless access to students.
Blogs About Apps
The ASHA Leader and Leader Live Articles About Apps
We wish to acknowledge and thank Todd Wingard for his contributions to this information and to Sally Paulding and Mary Ann Abbott for their expert review.