Over the last two days, I have discussed apps, heard about free ones that I didn’t know, and downloaded a free farm bingo game. Over the past few months, I have read research papers and newspaper articles about speech therapy, found out lots about how SLTs work around the world, discovered lots of great resources and read parents’ stories about their children’s speech and language. And best of all, this hasn’t taken hours of my time or any money. I have discovered it all through social media.
I guess many of the people reading this will already be social media converts – perhaps you have clicked on to a link to our blog on either Twitter or Pinterest?! If not, please do think about using some of these great tools, whether you are a teacher, parent or SLT.
Pinterest was something of a mystery to me until fairly recently! Really it’s like a virtual notice board. It’s very visual – you can put something in the search and it will bring up a range of pictures/icons. If something catches your eye you can click on it and look at the website it links to. If you find something useful, you can “pin” it so that you can find it again. You can follow other people too, like on most social media sites, and then it will tell you when they have pinned new things that you might be interested in. Now that I’ve got used to it, I love it! You can have as many different boards as you like, so, for example I have one board for things about speech sounds, and another for higher level language. It’s a great way to share resources with other therapists, teachers, whoever. (One small practical note – it may be obvious to everyone else but I’m easily confused and this confused me to begin with… To get from the picture which has been pinned to the actual blog post/resource itself, you need to click on the name of the website and not just the picture).
To show you a little bit about how it works, here are a few things we have found on Pinterest.
I love this – such a simple, no preparation activity for vocabulary development – as long as you have a dice to hand – away you go!
Or what about this one. Such a lovely child-friendly idea for working on prepositions and following instructions. My daughter would love doing this just for fun!
And here’s another simple but brilliant idea here – using the board game Twister in therapy!
Also, here is a list of free apps which are useful for speech therapy – I found lots of new ones here that I didn’t know.
These are just a few examples that we’ve picked out. There are many many more!
There’s so much information on the Internet that trying to find the best and most useful bits on any topic is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack! Pinterest not only helps you find the gems in the first place, it also helps you to organise them so that you can find them again.
Another great social media resource for SLTs is Twitter. On Twitter anyone can follow you and you can follow anyone. Sign up and start looking up companies whose resources you like (I follow Black Sheep Press for example), organisations who provide information about speech and language difficulties (eg I follow I Can, Afasic and ASLTIP) and individual therapists you know or have come across via the internet. Once you have found someone you want to follow, you can also see who is following them and who they follow, which will give you more ideas. Just click follow when you find a feed that interests you and their posts (tweets) will come straight to your homepage – new research, new resources etc. Personally, I use Twitter in a similar way to Pinterest- if someone tweets a link to something useful that I think I might want to find again, I retweet it, and there it is in my Twitter feed to refer back to. No printing or paper filing required!
The other great thing about Twitter is that it enables you to easily be part of a global community of SLTs. If you want ideas or advice about something, you can just ask, and someone somewhere is bound to have something to say to help you! Also there are live SLPchats every few months where you can have online discussions in real time with other therapists. Follow this feed to find out more about them.
If you’re still not sure about Twitter and how it could be useful to you as an SLT, check out this podcast from Rhiannon Walton at Therapy Ideas. I heartily recommend all of them, but this one focuses particularly on using Twitter for CPD.
Come and join the growing community of SLTs, teachers and parents using social media – you’ll find it an addictive but easy way to keep up to date with everything you want to know. The next thing you know you’ll be starting your own blog – be sure to send us the link when you do!