U P D A T E
THE FIVES CRITERIA
FOR EVALUATION AND SELECTION OF TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES IN SPEECH-LANGUAGE (AND OTHER) INTERVENTIONS
BY SEAN J. SWEENEY, M.S. M.ED., CCC-SLP
What are the FIVES Criteria?
Some time back, when I started my blog, I wanted not only to share resources but also help professionals decide for themselves what resources were adaptable for use in interventions. I came up with the FIVES criteria as a model for these kinds of decisions, and since then have presented it at various conferences in addition to writing about it for ADVANCE’s Speech in the Schools Blog. When it was conceived (made up!), however, it was meant to relate to my posts on interactive websites and web-based creation tools (Web 2.0), at that time, the only real game in town for tech integration. Our world has changed dramatically with the advent of the iPad and mobile apps, and the FIVES criteria has needed to do so as well, chieﬂy with regards to the F, which has changed from “Free,” to “Free or Nearly Free,” and now indicates that our choices should be “Fairly Priced.” (See next page...)
PLAY WITH TRAIN SCHEMA USING FIVES-FRIENDLY APP TOCA TRAIN
PHOTO TABLE LITE ALLOWS YOU TO INTERACT WITH PHOTOS ON ANY TOPIC
FIVES-FRIENDLY WEB TOOL DOMO ANIMATE- A SIMPLE WAY TO CREATE LANGUAGE-BASED ANIMATIONS
All Rights Reserved. Sean J. Sweeney, CCC-SLP
Why “Fairly Priced?”
I have been really happy to be asked if SLPs and other educators could use the FIVES model in their own presentations and training with their staff. Though FIVES is really geared toward understanding how to apply those “re-purposed” apps that were not speciﬁcally designed for speech and language intervention, it can also be considered when making choices about purchasing dedicated SLP apps. In the case of SLP apps, which can cost between $1.99-49.99 or more, it is even more important to be thoughtful about the issue of pricing.
At $39.99, this app is a perfect example of a (still small) investment that is fairly priced. Custom Boards provides you with a quick and simple way to make a visual for any context, utilizing its library of 13,000+ symbols or by easily adding images from the web. This app can serve the same functions as software costing over $300.*
The initial trend of free apps has created an expectation about pricing that isn’t always reasonable.
The Historical Perspective The web has always been a free treasure for our world; in some cases Internet access has been deemed a human right. When presenting Internet-based resources to educators and SLPs, naturally we expect those to be free. However, there are a number of subscription or membership-based services on the web that SLPs should consider, including Brainpop (though your school might have a subscription, making it free to you) and xtranormal. When mobile apps came along, many of them were initially free too. Apps produced by large companies naturally feed into other aspects of their services, so “free” is a reasonable price point. Unfortunately, this trend has created an expectation about pricing of apps that isn’t always reasonable, especially with regard to dedicated speech-language apps. This is a topic that is frequently discussed in speech-language circles; see this terriﬁc post by The Speech Dudes.
Keynote is Apple’s version of PowerPoint. Presentation tools such as these can serve as both productivity and therapy tools. Keynote can be used to create and display visuals during therapy, and as a creative tool, it can assist with helping students convey information and create books. With its powerful features and syncing capability (automatic sync to iCloud for use on Mac, easy export to PPT), Keynote is more than reasonably priced at $9.99.
Skitch allows you to annotate any image or map, providing endless contexts for language therapy. All this for the price of $0! For this useful app, we should be willing to pay a few dollars. However, we shouldn’t expect to pay a premium as we are providing the therapy activity through our creative use of the app. Partly because it is distributed by a large company and linked to another service (Evernote), Skitch has a lower price. Bonus for us!
*Author has developed apps for Smarty Ears, publisher of Custom Boards, but does not receive any share in the proﬁts of this app.
Let’s break down “Fair...”
When considering whether pricing for any app is “Fair,” we can take a number of factors into account: 1. Design and Usability-What an app looks like strongly inﬂuences its function and how likely we are to use it. The app’s overall “look and feel” and theme also impact how our clients will respond to it and its “engagement factor.” iTunes gives us a basic overview of how an app will work, but I strongly recommend going beyond the iTunes app description page in your consideration. Many SLPs review apps via blogging and other platforms, and these posts are easily accessed with a Google search on “[name of app] app review.” Additionally, many video demonstrations, tutorials and reviews are freely available on YouTube. Check there so you can get a visual overview of how the app works, in order to decide if it meets your needs. 2. Content- The question of content is really a consideration of how much mileage you will get out of the app, as well as the effort you will need to invest to integrate it in your work. iTunes descriptions should indicate speciﬁcs about app content (number of questions, language structures targeted, etc.) and if the app allows you to add your own content, this is certainly a plus. Allowing users to add their own content to apps in the form of photos and text makes an app more costly to produce, but pays off in happy users who have limitless contexts for employing the app! Your content consideration should also include whether the app is a dedicated and ready-to-go resource, or one which you will need to employ creatively. For example, an app such as Puppet Pals (Free, with $2.99 Director’s Pass allowing you to add pictures from the camera roll for use as settings, characters and props) requires some imagination on the clinician’s part. The app will not even remotely structure a session, as some dedicated SLP apps do. Rather it is up to the clinician to guide the context, the process of creating an animation, and the product, as well as the speech and language that can be elicited from the student as the app is used. Creation tools such as Puppet Pals tend to be priced fairly in the neighborhood of $1.99-4.99, as you pay with your creative efforts for their integration.
Go beyond the iTunes description to decide if an app is worth purchasing for your population.
All4mychild’s Bag Game is a great example of expandable content. Not only does it provide a good amount of content for a very cheap $1.99, but it also allows you to add pictures from the camera roll to use in the game. This opens up a door to unlimited vocabulary and content.
S O ME APPS, S UCH AS TACTUS’ L ANG UAG E THERAPPY L ITE, ERIC S AIL ERS ’ STORYPALS A ND HAMAG UCHI A PPS’ BETWEEN THE L INES LIT E, ARE AVAIL ABL E F REE O R AT L OWER C O S T IN VER SIO NS WITH L IMITED CO NTENT AND F EATURES F O R YO U TO T R I A L .
T H E S I S F LE X I B LE ( N OT S IL E N T)
Please feel free to spread the word about the FIVES criteria with attribution to me and my blog, as others have done. I have been happy to see educators outside the ﬁeld of Speech-Language Pathology modify the framework with respect to the s. I have seen it changed to “Special Education,” but in my own work have also presented it as “Speciﬁc” (i.e. speciﬁc to the goals and objectives you need to address in your interventions). I have also changed it to “Social” for the themes of the Social Thinking® Providers’ Conferences.
Visit Sean’s growing FIVES-Friendly Resources on Pinterest.
What is “Fair?” (cont...)
3. Analog vs. Digital- A third price-related factor to consider when looking at apps is the “analog vs. digital” issue. I have seen colleagues spend tons of money buying books, ﬂashcards, games, or other therapy tools from catalogs and exhibit halls, then balk at an app priced at even half that of a similar “real object.” We should consider whether we would spend the cost of an app on a similar analog book, game or toy, and that gets us in the ballpark of an informed decision. Analog tools are needed in our profession, and have some advantages digital tools lack, e.g. the ability to lend or share it with a colleague. Some clinicians would never think an app could replace one of their tangible tools, and that’s a valid preference. However, digital tools bring a bit more to the table in terms of the potential for engagement. We do worry about the permanence of apps in that they are software, and our previous experience with software is that it becomes outdated. This problem may be somewhere in the cards as we move forward, but the current state of apps for the foreseeable future is that they are updatable software. Not only are updates pushed out to bring the app in line with operating system and device upgrades, but app updates also provide us with new features. Our real objects never do that!
FILTER WITH FIVES • APP ADVICE’S APP LISTS AY • MOMS WITH APPS’ APP FRID SPECIALS • APPS GONE FREE • IEAR • YAPP GURU • SEARCH FOR WEBSITES TAGGED “INTERACTIVE” (WITH AN ADDITIONAL TOPIC TAG) ON DIIGO OR DELICIOUS • KINDERTOWN • COOL TOOLS FOR SCHOOL WIKI FOR WEB-BASED CREATION TOOLS
Would you buy an analog (real, non-digital) tool that serves a function similar to an app? What would you pay for it?
FIVES is designed as a tool you can use to ﬁlter through all that is “out there” in the world of technology. Many resources list great educational (or re-purposable) apps and websites. Keep your eye on these and decide which are Fairly Priced, Interactive,Visual, Educationally Relevant, or Speechie (or all 5)!
I, V, E , A ND S !
Interactive elements bring a technology resource beyond quiz or drill-style interfaces to tap thinking skills, decision-making, and creativity. Interactivity allows for many stopping points to elicit and scaffold language targets involving vocabulary, sentence structure, and narrative. Creation tools are also interactive, and the process of creating a comic, storybook, or other product is often a language process! Find interactive websites by Googling “[Topic] interactive.”
BBC SCHOOLS’ EARTH, SUN AND MOON WEBSITE
SEQUENCE DIRECT IONS WITH MOVE THE TU RTLE
EATING OMIC-CR ROBUST C PIXTON WEBSITE
VIRTUAL-VISUAL FIELD TRIP S VIA GOOGLE EARTH
Technology allows us to make abstract concepts and vocabulary Visual for our students who struggle with language in the classroom. Google Images and other topic-speciﬁc resources put visual supports at our ﬁngertips, where previously we might have had to spend time tracking down paper pictures. Many apps also provide (or let us create) imagery that is speciﬁcally related to the curriculum.
SEEK AND FIND SERIES MAKES VERBS VISUAL
FOTOPEDIA APPS PROVIDE G REAT VISUA LS
L THINGDOM- MIDDLE SCHOO PLAY WITH GENETICS KIDS
GEOGRAPHY DRIVE- TRIVIA WITH A LANGUAGE TWIST
LEAFSNAP-FU N, INTERAC TIVE FIELD GUID E TO TREES
Why not use classroom topics to make interventions Educationally Relevant, and fun too? Apps and interactive websites can make this a snap! Technology can help us provide a context to use for developing key language underpinnings. See the work of Barbara Ehren on educational relevance.
Apps that are Speechie target or can be used to target clinical objectives. Apps that provide a context to develop auditory comprehension, vocabulary and word retrieval, sentence, narrative and expository formulation, speech production and social interaction are Speechie.
TARGET TEXT STRUCTURE WITH BRAINPOP’S APPS
ER CIATION, OTH TARGET ASSO KERPOOF WEB SKILLS WITH
APPS SUCH AS BAMBA BURGER ARE SEQUENCING CO NTEXTS
FIND M O RE A B O U T TH E FIV E S C RITE RIA AN D T E C H I N T E G R AT I O N AT
email@example.com Twitter: @speechtechie Facebook: www.facebook.com/SpeechTechie Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/speechtechie
About the Author: Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology consultant working in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, MA. Sean spent over a decade in the public school setting serving in the roles of SLP and instructional technology specialist. His blog was inspired by the combination of those complementary vocations and a desire to empower those in his field to employ technology in their work. Sean currently consults to and presents for local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. He is a frequent presenter at ASHA and has participated as a speaker at the regional Social Thinking® Providers’ Conferences. Sean is a regular columnist for The ASHA Leader. His blog, SpeechTechie, won the 2010 Best New Edublog Award and was a finalist in the Best Ed Tech Blog category in 2011 and 2012. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.