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Speaking of Apps

Apps: Pros and Cons

Published February 25, 2013 2:20 PM by Megan Sutton
A recent post by The Speech Dudes entitled "There's no such thing as a free app, so get over it and pony up"  does an excellent job discussing the hours of professional time and expense that go into making a speech therapy or assessment app, as well as the unfair expectation that apps should be free. It is easy to see that professional speech therapy apps should cost more than a few dollars, but how do apps stack up to the hard goods (cards, books, games) they attempt to replace?

There are many benefits to using apps in our practice. Apps:

  • take up less physical space
  • are easier to carry around
  • don't wear out
  • can be more efficient
  • are often more engaging
  • may include built-in scoring and cueing
  • can be used for home practice/carryover
  • don't require specialty suppliers
  • are updated as information changes or technology improves
  • cost less

There are several benefits of hard materials that apps cannot replicate, especially with the way Apple handles sales. Hard materials:

  • can be returned
  • can be shared with colleagues
  • have resale value
  • are often high quality, ensured by filter of having a publisher
  • are easier to see what you're buying
  • can be used flexibly
  • require no additional hardware to use
  • don't have the limited lifespan of current technology
  • may still be around/usable in 20-30 years

After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of software and hard goods, it's up to each clinician/school/clinic to decide the right mix of materials to invest in. To help avoid buyer's remorse in an App Store that does not accept returns, it's important to read reviews, watch videos, try Lite versions, and speak with people who have used the app.  

Read the original post and comments that inspired this discussion.


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About this Blog

    Speaking of Apps
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Rehabilitation
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