Using Split-Screen Activities in Speech Teletherapy
In face-to-face speech therapy, do you ever use articulation cards and a game simultaneously? Or a book and a book companion? What about a visual and a toy or worksheet?
ALL the time, right? It's second nature for speech-language pathologists to utilize two resources to create one activity. We do this all the time to target individual goals and incorporate student interests.
In fact, I’ll bet you probably never realized the ease in which you combine multiple resources at one time in face-to-face therapy.... until you began providing teletherapy. Suddenly, it's not as simple as putting two items on the table at the same time.....
....Or is it?
Here is where split-screen comes into play and makes all of your digital resource dreams come true. Splitting your screen means your computer screen is divided equally into two windows (or applications) that do not overlap. They each take up exactly half of your screen.
Here's what that looks like...
How to set up a split-screen (on a PC):
1) Open both activity windows.
2) Click on the top of one window and drag it to the middle of one side of your screen. It will expand to fill that half of the screen.
3) Select the window to fill the other half of the screen.
4) From your platform, share your entire screen (by selecting to share the desktop) so that everything on the screen is visible to your student.
Mac users- check out this post for the how-to.
I won't let myself get too off-topic, but the benefit of a second monitor does come into play for this purpose (and many others). It makes sharing your split-screen smoother and often makes still seeing your student's video still possible. If a second monitor isn’t in the cards for you right now, it can work for you with just one screen, depending on your platform. Play around with it!
Of course, you can also share two activities at once by just having two windows open at the same time and sharing the entire desktop. But why drive yourself crazy trying to resize those windows to fit nicely together on the screen, if you don't have to? Use split-screen and save yourself the agony! See how nice and neat those two windows fill the left-side screen above? Ahhh. Perfection. So now that we know how to split-screen and understand the value it brings to sessions, here are some of the specific activities that you can set up with a split-screen.
Split-Screen with Articulation Targets
For older articulation students that don't necessarily need the pictures (and might even be put off by them), splitting your screen between articulation word lists and an age-appropriate game is a simple activity that you can do anytime at the drop of a hat.
And this articulation activity is a year-round go-to for my older articulation (and sometimes language) students. The National Geographic Kids website has tons of free fill-in-the-blank stories (called "Funny Fill-Ins"). Don't forget to pair your Mad Lib-style activities with these sound-specific word lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
Split-Screen with Visual Supports
I love to pair visuals with many activities (what SLP doesn't?) and since this non-verbal communication activity comes with a PDF and a Boom Card version, I can easily share both at the same time.
For students that need a visual schedule or timer, I can present something like this countdown timer with the reinforcement or reward at the end of the session (such as this free Uno-like game on ToyTheater).
Split-Screen with Language Activities
BOOKS AND BOOK COMPANIONS! It's pretty much a given that you're going to want to reference the book while completing companion activities, amiright? I pair books on Epic! or YouTube read alouds with no-print book companions by The Type B SLP and Simply Speaking SLT on the regular.
My middle schoolers and I love traveling the country’s national parks in our sessions by pairing live webcams on the National Park Service website with this comprehension and vocabulary resource or this digital guidebook. I find that adding webcams or videos about the topic really makes the content more relevant!
Split-Screen with Pragmatics Activities
I'm sorry if I've talked about this in a million other posts, but Epic or Fail video clips from the Ellen Show are a wonderful activity for so many goals! I pair the YouTube videos with a quick and easy-to-use companion.... you can find it in my email subscriber freebie library!
Split-Screen with Students Using Alternative Communication
Last but certainly not least, AAC! Can I tell you a little secret? Even though this is my 7th year as a teletherapist, implementing AAC via teletherapy is still a challenge for me. But Angela at The Speech Serenade wrote this blog post about how to successfully use AAC with a student in teletherapy! Sooo helpful. Light bulb moment times 100. As Angela discusses, you may be able to utilize the student's actual AAC software with another activity....using what else? SPLIT-SCREEN!
For students that don't have an AAC device but benefit from picture cues to formulate simple sentences, you can use something like Smarty Symbols (shown above in PowerPoint) or Lesson Pix to create your own simple visual for an activity (such as this Make A Christmas Tree activity on ABCYa).
I could go on and on. There are a million different combinations of activities that you could utilize in teletherapy, but hopefully, this gets your wheels spinning. Split-screen may seem like just a simple little tech hack, but it is such a valuable tool to add depth to your activities by individualizing them, expanding upon them, and providing adding additional supports as needed.