Sharing Online Resources? Here’s How!
Zoom. Google Meet. Adobe Connect. Anymeeting. GoToMeeting. Microsoft Teams. The list of video conferencing software for remote teaching/learning seems endless! These are just a few of the options out there and there are so many more, including platforms specifically designed for online education. Whatever virtual platform is provided to you as an educator, you still must be familiar with how to successfully present digital resources within that software. Especially in this inconsistent virtual learning environment where everything seems to change just as we get comfortable with the latest set of rules and regulations.
The intention of this blog is not to address which platform is the best; there are plenty of opinions on that subject. The goal here is to help you to use your given platform and the digital resources available to teach or provide therapy services effectively in a virtual environment. Having been an online SLP for almost 10 years, I have worked within many of the platforms listed above and a few that are not listed. As with anything, I have my favorites and the ones I hope to never have to use again. However, as long as I can present the digital materials to my students in a way that promotes a positive learning environment, my speech therapy sessions are successful.
Despite the features or limitations of the software, if you know how to present your digital materials well, you can be successful at teaching virtually. There are 4 methods generally available when presenting digital materials: imbedded, screen share, application sharing, and the use of a documentation camera.
1 – Imbedded Material
Imbedded material is the easiest to use. If your platform has a library of materials or a resource library you can access, this is where your digital resources will be stored. All you need to do is access that library within your session and the material will be available for viewing, annotating, and manipulating within the software. Imbedded materials can include documents, videos, and other interactive games or applications within the platform software.
2 – Screen Sharing
If you are not using a platform that has its own resource library, screen sharing and application sharing are great alternatives. Screen sharing allows you to display from your computer the entire screen, a specific application, or a designated window. While screen sharing, providing the student with remote access can be a useful tool. This allows students to directly interact with the materials being shared. If this is not supported by your platform (and many do not), I have found that having the students use the annotation feature to make choices is just as effective.
Alternatively, application sharing involves screen mirroring from a separate device. Screen mirroring technology allows a phone, tablet or computer screen to wirelessly display an application through your computer. There are several different programs you can use that will make this possible. Here is a link to one of these programs with a short video to help you understand this process a bit better. Screen Mirroring App I confess screen mirroring is not an area I have used frequently but I have colleagues who use this method in almost every session and find this method invaluable to their services.
3 – Using a Documentation Camera
Finally, you can share desktop activities and documents via a good documentation camera. These can be as simple as another external camera that is set up ahead of time and is directed at the area of the desktop. There are also a multitude of documentation cameras that can be purchased that are specifically designed for this purpose. Another possibility is a smart phone. With the advancement in cell phone camera quality, if the software supports its use, you or the student can use this method as a documentation camera. This is a great option when a traditional documentation camera is not available.
No matter what method of presentation you choose, practicing a new method ahead of any presentation is always recommended and best practice. At Lighthouse Therapy, we offer support with professional development regarding the use of these methods and many other aspects of online teaching. Please feel free to check out Lighthouse Therapy. As professional teachers and therapists, you already have the skills to teach your students. All you need is a bit of assistance to use that knowledge effectively in a virtual environment.
If you would like a free sample of what our professional development looks like, then check out From Brick to Click. These six video lessons equip you and your team to effectively teach online. You even get access to free downloads and resource files to help make your job easier.