Adding Google Slides™ to your Teletherapy Activity Toolbox
Remember a few months ago when I definitively declared that Boom Cards, static PDFs, and interactive PDFs are my top three types of resources to use in teletherapy? Well I've made room in my heart for another type of teletherapy activity..... Google Slides!
You’re likely already using Google in every other aspect of your life. Need directions? Google. Need a recipe? Google. Need to settle a bet and determine if Pluto is or isn’t considered a planet? Google. So let’s add, ‘Need an engaging and interactive teletherapy activity?" to that list. Google apps are full of possibilities for interactivity in telepractice. As long as you can share your screen, you can use Google applications with your students to target a variety of goals.
Before I throw around any more Google lingo, let me back up. Because if you're like me, all the Google-isms are part of what have confused you about using Google in teletherapy sessions in the first place. Ok, so here we go. If you have a free Gmail account, you have access to 15 GB of free storage in Google Drive™, which is a cloud-based storage service that's accessible from anywhere. If you have a company-owned Google account (your email ends in something other than @gmail.com but is still a Google-based account), you have G Suite, which offers more Google Drive™ storage as well as other tools for business.
Google Drive storage can be used for many applications, including your email (I'm looking at you chronic email savers) and/or files in any of the other Google applications (apps). Some of the most commonly used Google apps are Google Docs (your basic a word processor), Google Sheets (think Excel), Google Photos, Google Calendar, and-- my new personal favorite-- Google Slides, which is similar to PowerPoint. Where traditional paper resources use pages, Google Slides activities use, well, slides for lack of a better word.
Wait, PowerPoint? Slides??! Here's where we need to think beyond how many of us learned to make stale presentations using PowerPoint in high school. I'm talking about something so much more than that. When used in "edit" mode (rather than "presentation" mode), Google Slides is a blank slate of possibilities. This app can be used for engaging activities that contain text, pictures, fillable text boxes, clickable links, and movable images on the slides. Instead of saving activities to your computer, Google Slides files are saved in your Google Drive storage. No hard drive storage needed, plus they're accessible wherever you are.
Let's take a look at some of the possibilities of Google Slides and how they might look in a speech therapy resource. Most Google Slides activities will have some sort of text and/or pictures for the background. This part of the activity is not interactive, beyond just reading the text and looking at the pictures. Some resources may only have these static elements. In the activity below, the title, directions, text, and pictures are all part of the background and meant to be viewed/read.
However, the yellow boxes in the above activity are text boxes that are fillable, meaning the SLP or student can type answers in them.
Another interactive component of Google Slides is movable images. These are pictures or graphics that can be clicked and moved to other parts of the slide. In the guessing game below, the red X's can be moved to cover the people as the game is played.
Similar to interactive PDFs, Google Slides can also contain clickable links (be still, my no print-loving heart). The links might go to outside websites, other resources, or slides within the same activity. The menu page of this Halloween activity contains clickable links to each of the game boards that can be accessed by clicking the button (followed by clicking on the blue text) to go to that slide.
So how do you make awesome activities like this come to life in teletherapy sessions? Enter our good friend, screen-share. Open the Google Slides activity in an internet browser and share your screen with your student.
If you're ready to learn more about using Google Slides in teletherapy, check out these must-know tips and tricks. And learn how to take your activities even further by personalizing the slides to your students!