First app review! IEPPal seemed like a perfect “first” for this blog, because regardless of the area of speech/language or the population with which you work, taking data is going to be a part of it. The developers intended this for use with IEP’s, but as long as your clients have goals, this app will likely be relevant.
What It Is: A data collection tool.
Price: App is free; license is $95/year.
How It Works: Sign up online for the service at the IEPPal website and set up your techniques, schools, students, goals, objectives, and more! Be sure to check out the tutorial they offer or set up an appointment for one of their staff to walk you through it. The set-up isn’t difficult, but knowing a couple of the “tricks” (e.g. setting up techniques first) will save you time. Once you’re set up, download the app onto your iPad and start taking data during your sessions! Sync fairly regularly (I do mine about once a week). Then, go to the “Reports” section on the website, and you will be able to see tables, graphs, averages, and more.
My Therapy Applications: The therapy applications on this one are pretty clear. I use this with all of my kids, individual and group. Oftentimes, I open this app up half-way through the session and take data. Other times, I keep the apps open the entire session and switch between various goals/objectives or clients. I then refer back to the app later that day when I write my session notes. When progress report time comes around, I now have my data organized in a user-friendly, simplistic format complete with tables, graphs, averages, and more.
Pros: 1. Streamlined data–it’s all in one place in a great format. No more filing away obnoxious data collection sheets, calculating the averages of the first few sessions of the quarter compared to the last few, transferring the data to a digital format, etc. As we all know, time is money, and this app can save you quite a bit of both.
2. It’s goals-oriented. This app makes it next to impossible to lose focus of your clients’ goals/objectives, because they are right there in front of you. I’ve found this really helps me keep in mind the “big picture” during sessions.
3. There’s no caseload limit. You can put in as many clients and districts/agencies in as you would like.
4. You can personalize it beyond the IEP– for example, add in pragmatics checklists that provide qualitative data in addition to your quantitative data.
5. It keeps everything confidential–the app and website are password protected, so no need to worry about sensitive information getting accessed by anyone other than you.
6. Because of the different techniques you enter and take data under (think: placement cues, metaphoric cues, etc.), it can provide some excellent feedback as to which techniques are working best for each child.
7. IEPPal has THE BEST customer service I have ever experienced. As in, better than, like, Zappos. 🙂 They respond immediately, patiently provide informative assistance, and actually incorporate consumer feedback into their updates.
8. There’s a 15-day free trial so you can get the feel of it and see if it will be beneficial for you.
Cons: 1. Price. 😦 The app is free. The license, however, is $95/year. That said, there is a 15-day free trial, and I’ve seen a few good promos and give-aways on their Facebook page. (I got mine 50% off.)
2. I use my iPad during a majority of my therapy sessions for actual therapy activities. Because of this, taking data on the iPad can be a bit of a hassle, because I need to either switch between apps or only take data during portions of therapy when I’m not using the iPad. It’s certainly not impossible, but it can be a pain. I asked IEPPal about this, and they said that they are working on an iPhone app, so those of us who also have iPhones will be able to do therapy on the iPad while taking data on the iPhone. I am really looking forward to this!
3. No way to take notes on the app. This is a big bummer for me, because I am a big fan of qualitative notes; however, I also asked IEPPal about this, and they said they are working to add in a notes section.
Overall Rating: 4/5
The Take-Away: In a few words, this app has proved beneficial for me and offers customized, flexible options that would be useful for almost all speech-language therapists. I’ve saved time and hassle, and it’s a great tool for my not-always-organized life. The license is pricey, but so far the app is worth it. The updates they will be adding (an iPhone app, notes section) will make it a must-have in my book.