Live Speak Love, LLC

Lisa M. Geary, MS CCC-SLP lisa@livespeaklove.com

Simply Speaking February 27, 2012

Want to learn my newest, most fabulous idea for keeping up with data logs for each student? Read on right here!! I am very excited about this discovery, and for the potential it has to make my world a lot easier. Keeping up with the logs in the course of busy day of therapy is no easy feat. My school district requires us to keep data on all students, every time we see them for therapy. Our data is kept in computerized logs using Microsoft Excel, so all therapists are using the same log system across the county. Many times during the week I conduct classroom-based interventions and whole group lessons. Other times I have three to four students around my therapy table, making meaningful data entries/anecdotal notes difficult to write at the end of our sessions. And with sessions back-to-back with little time in between to consult with faculty, write reports, plan or even use the ladies room…life gets crazy and I often find myself playing catch-up, transferring written notes from a spiral notebook onto the computerized logs (translation: working at home long hours to keep up with data!)

So what’s the Time-saving Tech Tool? All you iPad and iPhone users might be out of luck on this one…Voice-to-text data entries using my Android phone (so far not available on Apple devices, I believe.) This idea is so simple and so ingenious, I am still overwhelmed at the significance of this discovery. WHY I didn’t think of this idea sooner is beyond me! I use my phone’s voice action feature to complete many other tasks already — why not speech-language logs??? Check out this video for a quick overview of how voice-to-text with Android works:

Using this voice-to-text feature, I can enter student therapy data into a file by simply speaking. With some students, I may input data in a quick moment in between therapy sessions, or even when walking down the hall to get my next group. With most students however, I can input the data at the end of the session during the time I would review progress anyway. A simple, “Ok, it’s Adam’s turn.., ready, listen!” And then I can speak a quick sentence or two into the phone to summarize the data (e.g., Given picture scenes, Adam formulated simple sentences using is/are auxiliary verb forms with 70% accuracy and minimal verbal prompts. Progress and strategies reviewed with student.”) To ensure student understanding, I can then  summarize the note, “Wow, Adam, that means you used those helping verbs correctly in 7 out of 10 of your sentences! Keep up the great work!”  And it’s done, all while maintaining student engagement. Students seem to enjoy this chance for extra attention, and it provides opportunity for additional review and feedback. My voice entry is saved into the document on my phone, and it’s done. I am using Quickoffice Pro to create, edit, and store and transfer student data into files. Here is a video about the features of QuickOffice Pro and the potential it has for working on the go:

Are you ready for the best part??? Here it is…Dropbox. Some of you may be using this online storage tool already, but the combination of voice-to-text, QuickOffice Pro and Dropbox is a powerful case management tool that has changed my working world. QuickOffice Pro allows you to instantaneously transfer your updated files to a “cloud” storage. With QuickOffice Pro and Dropbox, my Excel files are instantly saved and uploaded, and those same changes are automatically stored on all of my computers and mobile devices.This means that the log entry I dictated into a student’s Excel spreadsheet while walking down the hall is already updated and saved on my computer when I arrive in my therapy room. I can dictate those last few notes while waiting in the carpool line at my daughter’s school, and the notes are automatically updated and stored on my work and home computers without me even being there. The files are secure and in compliance with HIPAA requirements, with Dropbox’s 256-bit SSL encryption. Is anyone else impressed by the significance of this discovery?? Check out the Dropbox video for an overview of the possibilities:


Click here to get more info on using Dropbox.

If you are a busy therapist (like ME) struggling to meet the demands of a large caseload while still maintaining accurate, data-based documentation, then this type of tool may be just what you need. It certainly is just what I needed! Let me know what you are using to track student data — I am curious to know if similar technologies are being used. Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

EDITED FOR UPDATE:

I wanted to update that I have actually changed the office program I am using on my Android device. While Quick Office Pro is a very useful program, I did run into some difficulty with my spreadsheet template and the formulas it involved. I am now using Office Suites Pro, which preserves the formulas and transfers the documents seamlessly from mobile to desktop versions.

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9 Responses to “Simply Speaking”

  1. Jennifer m Says:

    I have been using the SLP data tracker from super duper. I like it but there are definitely some things I would like to change. I use an iPhone so this technique may not be an option for me yet but I’d love to try it once it is!

  2. [...] Like many children, my own kids used to love the book, Goodnight Moon. Definitely a classic tale, with simple pictures and a lulling rhythm that soothed my little ones to sleep as we rocked in our rocking chair. I still love that book, even though my kids have outgrown it. Times have changed; the world has changed. My kids are growing, and for at least two of my kids, picture books have now been replaced by newer, shinier things like iPods and computers.  In addition to realizing just how fast my kids have grown and just how fleeting the bittersweet days of Goodnight Moon in fact were, I’ve been recently rather amazed at how the world has changed due to technological advances. I’ve been working to incorporate more technology into my speech-language therapy sessions and even in my caseload management practices.                  [...]

  3. Barb S Says:

    Wow, this is amazing, what a great way to use new technology to make our lives a little bit easier! Does the voice-entry you make actually go into the student’s log? I would love to see the steps involved and exactly how you do it. I have an Android phone and I know I’m not using it to its full potential. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Barb – yes, my voice entry goes right into the student’s file under the correct date. I’d be happy to show you sometime how I do it. The system is not fool-proof, as the voice to text feature sometimes interprets what I say in very strange ways! I also still manually add whether the session was Group or Individual and the # of minutes provided. But overall, this system is such a timesaver and the short check/edit I do at the end of the day goes very smoothly. I did change the program I am using (Office Suites instead of Quick Office Pro,) as I found that some of the minute calculation formulas in Excel did not transfer well using Quick Sheets. But Office Suites works wonderfully! If you don’t use the Android voice-to-text feature yet for text or websearching, you should give it a try and see what you think. Even if you make voice entries into a email and then cut and paste each student’s log note from the email, that still may save you some time.

  5. [...] you know that I am an Android device kind of girl, and I have had great success using some of the Android-based features as case management tools to streamline paperwork and sync documents between my devices. I admit [...]

  6. Susan Smith Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. If I can manage to make this a habit this school year, it will change my life! I am still doing handwritten data logs on every single student I see each day. Can you share what your Excel template looks like? What I’m wondering is why you would chose to use Excel rather than a Doc or other text format. Thank you for your time and generosity in sharing this blog!!

    • Hi Susan! Glad this info is helpful. I used Ecxel because that is the template given to us by the school district. The template automatically tallied service hours and included cells for the required info needed for Medicare billing. A doc format would have made the voice to text feature easier, I believe, but would require individuals tallying of service delivery. I have also learned that Windows 10 also includes a voice to text feature, so you could use this documentation system on your desktop with a USB mic if you prefer. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
      Lisa


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