Chain Letter Link Up

This post is brought to you by the word:

suite [sweet] /swit/

noun

1. a number of things forming a series or set.
2.a connected series of rooms to be used together: a hotel suite.
3.a set of furniture, especially a set comprising the basic furniture necessary for one room.
4.a company of followers or attendants; a train or retinue.

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No, you’re not in high school again and yes, you read the title correctly! I’m happy to participate in this great idea, but let me explain what’s going on. An SLP blogger, Teach Speech 365, started a chain letter, of sorts, of SLPs who blog. She created a series of questions and then asked some SLPs to respond on her blog, then they were to have 2 new SLP bloggers respond on their blogs and so on. Somehow I got asked to participate and so here we are (thanks for inviting me, Mary).  Many of the SLPs have posted free downloads from their blogs and/or TPT stores but I don’t have any such thing. However, if you keep reading, one of my blogging SLP friends has a potential gift for you! I’m hoping you’ll take some time to visit Teach Speech’s site and track through some of these blogs to find new ones you like!

Wait, did you hint that there’s a giveaway??

Yes, I did.  Sean graciously provided a code for the Mr. Reader app. I’ll give it away randomly and to be entered to win you need to leave a comment by January 1st citing how you keep up with technology without becoming overwhelmed!

I’d like to thank both of my participants for responding to this during the busy holiday season. Without further ado I’d like to (re)introduce you to two bloggers I really enjoy:

Blogger #1: Sean Sweeney

1. Your name, email, blog address, link to TpT store if you have one
Sean J. Sweeney, www.speechtechie.com
2. When and why did you start blogging?
I’m coming up on my 3 year anniversary on SpeechTechie.  I first became interested in blogging when pursuing my 2nd master’s degree in Instructional Technology.  I did this program online through a local college and it involved a lot of writing, which I really enjoyed.  At the time, a few of my friends were using LiveJournal and so I started keeping a personal blog there, goofy stuff about TV and travel, etc. After being an SLP in the school setting for about 9 years, an opportunity arose to take a position as an Instructional Tech Specialist in the Middle School setting in my district.  While there, I started reading a lot of tech blogs and using Google Reader extensively to follow these.  I missed my day to day work as an SLP and the tech integration I had done in that role, so I decided kind of impulsively to start a blog to share ideas about these tools. I was really inspired by Richard Byrne’s Free Tech for Teachers, but wanted to do something that of course showcased websites through a “Language Lens.” I toyed with the idea of calling it SpeechieTechie, and am glad I didn’t! Too many “ies”=overly cutesy. I had no idea the response would be so positive.  When I started, I only knew of about 3 or 4 others blogging about SLP work-Barbara Fernandes and Eric Sailers among them.  It’s great that there are now over 70 blogs in the SLP Blogs Bundle!

3. What is your favorite population to work with?
Elementary- High School Language and Social Cognition are the areas I feel most passionate about.

4. How much time per week do you spend blogging and/or creating materials?
I aim for 1-2 posts a week (been a little under lately but that’s definitely a goal for 2013), and I’d say the writing itself takes about 1-2 hrs weekly. However, I probably spend about 3 additional hours weekly reading blogs, twitter, and other resources to get ideas that can be “re-purposed” in the form that you see on my blog.  I also blog for other people and do some writing that takes additional time, as does corresponding with people who ask questions, etc.  So, I’d say about 5 hours total.

5. What’s your favorite topic to create materials for?

Technology, clearly! Lately I have been focusing on iPad apps as there is obviously a huge interest in that area, but I also want to keep letting people know about what’s available on the web. You’ll note that I often don’t write about dedicated SLP apps (I do think they are terrific and I helped make some at Smarty Ears and also present on dedicated apps). However, I do get more excited about helping people think outside the box when applying apps, websites and technology in our work.

6. What’s the best thing about blogging?
My blog has clearly been gratifying to me and has actually become somewhat of a business of its own, opening the door to consultation and presentation opportunities that have allowed me to create my own job, to some extent.  But the actual writing is a process I love, and it’s immensely rewarding to see and hear that people are reading and finding the information helpful.  So, it helps me feel I am making a difference not only for other professionals, but for kids who struggle with language and learning disabilities as well.

7. Do you have any blogging tips?
Hmmmm.  Well, keep it brief (I don’t always succeed on this one).  Use the technology well by providing links and images.  Avoid drama and controversial topics, unless you like that kind of stuff (I do not). Schedule posts ahead of time so that you can write when you have time, and publish regularly.  No idea is too small.
8. Add a question and answer of your choice. OK…How can SLPs keep up with technology without becoming overwhelmed?For this I will again mention the SLP Blogs Bundle (you can see a video tutorial at that link) and Google Reader, which syncs with iPad apps such as Mr. Reader, which I have provided a code for as part of this response.  There are lots of great SLP bloggers writing about tech and non-tech areas in the bundle, and Reader lets you give it all a quick skim.  The starring, tagging and sharing functions within the app will help you organize and access the information when needed, as well as connect you to colleagues (even just by sharing a post via email) that will help you see the value of being involved, even receptively, in social media.

Blogger #2: Shareka Bentham

1. Your name, email, blog address, link to TpT store if you have one

Shareka Bentham, speechreka@gmail.com,  www.easyspeakideas.blogspot.com, @speechreka on twitter

2. When and why did you start blogging?

Started out in 2010, just wanted to share some of my ideas and the crazy things I did in therapy, with others.

3. What is your favorite population to work with?

Children with complex communication needs

4. How much time per week do you spend blogging and/or creating materials?

blogging- not as much as I used to. Probably once a month now, hopefully more often in 2013. Creating materials probably 3-4 times a week.

5. What’s your favorite topic to create materials for?

AAC!

6. What’s the best thing about blogging?

Seeing the feedback from others who have tried out your materials/ideas

7. Do you have any blogging tips?

Keep it simple and don’t bite off more you can chew. I still am yet to write a blog post that I promised ages ago. Life happens. Oh and have fun with it! 

8. Add a question and answer of your choice (can be speech related or not).– What is your favourite thing to blog about? Mine is making therapy functional.

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Please drop a comment to share how you keep up with technology in this tech filled world! You could win a Mr. Reader app on January 1st!

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11 comments on “Chain Letter Link Up

  1. Shannon Giles says:

    I use google reader to keep up with all my favorite SLP blogs!

  2. Brenda says:

    I also use google reader. Thanks SpeechTechie!

  3. Sallie says:

    A couple of years ago I found Sean Sweeny’s blog and with his direction to google reader, I found an easy way to keep up on technology.

  4. Rose says:

    I buzz the tech section of apps such as Pulse, Flipboard and Reeder when I have extra time online. I’m not a blogger myself, but I try to help point other teachers toward easy ways to use the technology our district provides them.

  5. Denise Durbin says:

    How do I keep up? Yikes- I don’t feel like I do most of the time! Thanks to recently using twitter to follow slpeeps I have been introduced to so many fantastic ideas! Now I am going to go see what google reader is!!

  6. Harriett Hughes-Rex says:

    I received an iPad from my school. I use facebook to like SLP sites. I use Pinterest where I send info to my iPad from really great Speech boards. I also follow Playing with words 365 & Sean Sweeney’s Speechtechie emails. Another thing is attending workshops. The NE one in West Orange had a presenter with useful info on Speech Language Apps.
    It is tricky keeping up though since I am an old Dinosaur speech therapist who started with no computers. My own sons help me as do my own students. I will now have to check out Google Reader more intently after all these comments. I must say it keeps my mind humming!

  7. Julia says:

    I use key search terms to look for new IPad apps (e.g. “questions” or “AAC”) in the App Store.

  8. I started my blog about airflow and prosody last Oct. These aspects of speech fuel communication and language development but get obligatory mentions at best in the literature. I admit all the tech developments that fuel social media feel more obligatory than fun for me. On the other hand I’ve found so much info and positivity in your blogs which I wouldn’t be aware of if I hadn’t ventured onto Twitter. I also write about books that I love to use in therapy.
    I work with children who have multiple challenges. About half my clientele are hearing impaired in addition to having motor, cognitive or behvioral issues.
    It takes me about four hours to write a blog. The little book reviews take a few minutes.
    In my work I create units around any story, topic or exercise that I use so that everything we do is reinforced in different contexts. It’s deeply engaging in the context of therapy, but I wouldn’t do it for a blog.
    I enjoy writing and the blog provides a place to write about the things I think about while doing therapy.

  9. Daylinda says:

    My favorite blogs to follow that have consistently given me great ideas and leads to new SLP relevant stuff are GeekSLP and Speech Techie. I have also started checking out Pinterest and will likely get on google reader as well :)

  10. art a Whirl says:

    After looking into a handful of the blog posts on your blog, I truly appreciate your way of blogging.
    I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back
    soon. Please visit my web site too and let me know your opinion.

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