A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . came a wonderful app that is out of this world (pun intended, lol!). The app that I’m writing about is none other than Disney’s official Star Wars app. Though it’s currently summer vacation for many of you wonderful clinicians located in the United States, this break from providing speech therapy services gives all of us school-based speech-language pathologists the perfect opportunity to “test drive” some new apps in anticipation for the upcoming academic school year. And right now, I’m testin’ this one.
So let’s take some time to chat about Star Wars!
I have to be completely honest with you . . . I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan. And please don’t take that the wrong way because I totally respect Star Wars for it’s brilliance and excitement. The original movie was absolutely ahead of it’s time and it brings me joy to know that the Star Wars saga continues to live on and evolve for new generations to enjoy. But for some reason, it never really did it for me.
So why “test drive” the Star Wars app if you don’t love Star Wars?
Simple. Because my students love Star Wars and I love my students. Period. So that alone drives me to give this Star Wars app a go. Here’s what I think: providing speech therapy services and educating students to help them as communicators, it should never about the clinician, never ever. It’s about the client. It’s always about the client. So with that being said, as long as I’m a part of this wonderful field, I will do whatever it takes to discover new ways of motivating my clients so they can grow as communicators. And if that means learning more about Star Wars and incorporating various Star Wars-themed lessons here and there, you can bet that I’m in. I’m all in.
Remember SpongeBob SquarePants?
All of this talk about Star Wars reminds me of SpongeBob SquarePants. Back in, say, 2006-ish, every student I worked with was a massive SpongeBob fan. I didn’t see the appeal in that yellow sponge dude. I didn’t chuckle much when I randomly caught an episode on television. I didn’t think it was funny. But who cares what I thought, my students loved him so I watched the show a bunch to get the jist. I learned about characters (Sandy Cheeks is my favorite, just in case you were wondering). I learned about the setting. I learned about the plot. Long story short, I got the jist and that new information totally helped me to be a better educator to youngsters. I went all in on Bob because my students loved Bob.
From the deep ocean to deep space.
SpongeBob is still big, duh I know that, but at this very moment I would say that Star Wars is bigger. Much bigger. So because I see the trend of my kiddos loving Star Wars, it’s my duty as an educator of children to learn the Star Wars language. Han Solo. Chewbacca. The Millennium Falcon. Lightsabers. So on and so forth. Just like how I went all in to know about SpongeBob SquarePants in 2006, I’m happily doing the same thing almost a decade later with Star Wars. And my first foray into Star Wars territory is this perfectly polished Star Wars app.
Gosh, this app is beautifully designed.
From front to back, the Star Wars app is superb. In addition to keeping the user in-the-loop with the release of this winter’s Episode VII movie, it’s packed with lots of interactive features that I believe can be easily intertwined in almost any speech therapy session. And my most favorite aspect of this app is how you can take selfies with Star Wars characters.
Selfies with Yoda? Yes please!
As my buddy Jeremy and I were messing around with this app, the first thing that came to my mind was how perfect the selfies feature could be for my middle school-aged students. With a large amount of my 7th and 8th graders, I work on getting them excited about writing so we can target goals and objectives that focus on improving their written expression. But here’s the thing, most of what I’ve begged them to write about in the past, they didn’t particularly care about. And that’s a big mistake on my part because if my students aren’t excited to write about a certain topic, why would I ever expect them to try their hardest?
The Star Wars app can help.
Here’s where I think this Star Wars app could be quite powerful: with the tap of a finger, it can seamlessly create exciting visuals that just might excite even the most unexcitable 7th or 8th grader. I mean, check out this picture of Jeremy getting ready to do battle with Darth Vader. Or how about this picture of myself chillin’ with Yoda? Showing these pictures to students on your caseload and asking them to write about what comes to their minds when they see these personalized photos, it’s gonna be big! I predict these selfies to be the trampolines that can bounce them to higher levels of excitement and an overal greater love for practiing writing.
In closing . . .
Writing assignments can frustrate and bore students, but I have this funny feeling that this Star Wars app will inspire and thrill all the kiddos that I work with. I’m looking forward to trying this app out with my students and I invite you to try it, too. So, give it a go once your academic school year starts back up again. May the (speech therapy) force be with you. 😉