Websites, social media and apps for Speech and Language Therapy

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The web

The internet can be one of the most valuable tools in your quest for information during your time at university. However, with so much information out there, it can be very hard to find the best information, or to know that you've found it when you've got it! Two documents that might help are my guide to some questions to ask about web pages and my top tips for finding information (both are PDF files).

Free online tutorials on getting the best out of the web are provided by VTS tutorials. See their relevant subject-specific tutorials : Allied Health / Health and Social Care / Linguistics / Medicine / Psychology.

Organisations' sites

Many organisations have a web presence which is worth investigating :

Statistics and other useful information

Social media

You can see the most recent Tweets from my Twitter feed on the right, which is where I update about new books arriving in the library, among other things. Many organisations are on Twitter, and even if you don't want to Tweet yourself, it is worth signing up to Twitter and following useful or interesting people. On Twitter, people and organisations can send brief updates (up to 140 characters) and often include links to news stories and web sites of interest.

For instance, you can follow me at @dhldavidb or the Drill Hall Library at @drillhalllib. Each of the Medway Universities has a Twitter account as well - see @UniofGreenwich for the University of Greenwich or @canterburyccuni for Canterbury Christ Church University, and don't forget to follow the SLT team at @MedwaySLT. Many charities and professional body have accounts as well, and it's worth keeping an eye on these for important developments and sometimes some light relief! For example, Speech and Language Therapy students may like to follow the Royal College @RCSLT and it is certainly worth keeping an eye on the RCSLT Jobs feed @RCSLT_Jobs!

Linkedin is recognised as a useful site for professional networking, and is normally kept free of the more light-hearted, frivolous updates which other networking sites can be criticised for. It is used both for keeping track of existing professional contacts and for reaching out more widely within professions to network, learn about best practice and seek advice or assistance. Google+ is often also used for professional networking, and has a presence from many professional organisations and newspapers. A useful feature of Google+ is "circles", which provide a space for online sharing and discussion amongst people interested in specific topics or belonging to particular organisations.

Facebook is often overlooked for academic and professional purposes, as it is a recreational site for most users. However, it is possible to create "secret" groups on Facebook for connecting with other students or professionals. If using Facebook, it is important to note your privacy settings - always be sure of exactly what the whole world can see. If in doubt about something, don't post it!

Many professional bodies have advice about appropriate use of social media sites. See, for instance, advice from the Health and Care Professions Council.

Apps

It is not always appropriate to use apps in clinical practice. However, there are many apps available for smartphones and tablets which can be useful for studying.

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Speed Bones and the related apps Speed Anatomy, Speed Muscles and Speed Angiology are great revision aids for anatomy and physiology subjects. They are all very cheap and also come in free ("lite") versions as well, available for iOS and Android. They work by either showing you pictures and getting you to identify the bones/organs or by naming the item to find and getting you to click on it. Basically a portable version of flashcards with a game-like feel to it. Handy for hammering home the names of all the bits of anatomy you need to remember. There are many other apps designed to help with learning anatomy, and different people will find different apps more useful than others (just like with anatomy and physiology textbooks).
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PubMed for Handhelds is a handy app which searches the PubMed database. It gives several options for searching, but the most useful of these are the PICO search, which allows you to enter keywords in a structured way or Ask Medline, which allows you to ask your question in 'natural language'. In both cases, the search results will link you to the abstract or full text of the article if it is freely available online. Available on iOS and Android.
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The NICE Guidance app allows you to access lots of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's guidance material. The content can be downloaded on to your device when you first install or update the app, so you don't need an active internet connection to use it, which is very handy. It is available for Android and iOS, but NICE recommends using it only for phones and small tablets - for larger devices such as the iPad, it is better to go to their website, as the app has not been optimised for iPad yet.
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There are many apps designed for taking notes, and Evernote is my particular favourite - I find it useful for taking notes in meetings that I attend, and many students find it useful for lecture or seminar notes. You can save or email the notes easily. There are free and paid versions available, and it works on iOS, Android and Blackberry. A good alternative is Soundnote, which you can use to record lectures (always get permission first!) and make notes that are timed to the lecture.
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