I am not currently scheduled to receive an I-pad in the speech class, but I am hoping that my wish to incorporate this technology with my speech students will be granted one day :)
Over the past year, there have been many articles in the speech/language journals discussing the effectiveness of using an I-pad with students experiencing difficulties in communicating. The research literature in our profession definitely supports this as a viable method of teaching kids how to engage and communicate.
With the explosion of apps on the market, there are several websites devoted to a review of the ones related to speech/language, what specific disorders they address, and their cost. One of the more extensive websites for this purpose that I have found is GeekSLP.com. Another website that I found particularly interesting is teachwithyouripad.com. This website categorizes apps based on Bloom's Taxonomy which is a nice way of insuring that the app you download will fit the purpose of your lesson/activity for a specific group of students.
The 3 things I learned in this tool are first, how to use an app to provide motivation to communicate and how the sheer graphics of the pictures will "hook" the student into communicating about what he/she is seeing. Second, there are also apps which allow you to keep your data on each student's accuracy of performance so that not only is it a therapeutic tool, but it is also an assessment tool indicating when the student is ready to move to the next level of complexity within his IEP objectives. And third, how easy it is to open different apps for each student in a group so that each one can work specifically on their IEP objective (different apps for articulation, receptive language, expressive language, pragmatic language, fluency, voice) so there is less "down time" between students with needing to switch workbooks/sheets/books/puppets, etc. that are my current repertoire of therapy materials.
I love the idea of an I-Pad in the speech class!