The Dynamic Duo in Teletherapy: Screen Share and Mouse Control
Does it seem kind of like speech teletherapists have their own language? I'll admit, when I started teletherapy 6 years ago, I probably didn't know what "screen sharing" was. I couldn't have explained why "mouse control" is useful.... at least not the kind that's unrelated to management of rodents #badmultiplemeaningwordjoke Anyways, it wasn't long until I realized that these features take teletherapy to a whole 'notha level. Screen share and mouse control are more than just a couple of nerdy computer phrases, they are the secret sauce for making teletherapy interactive.
Screen sharing means you (as the SLP leading the session) are showing a window or program that's open on your computer screen to your students in real time. Students are able to see the window within the teletherapy platform, but you have the program open separately outside of the platform on your computer.
If you have one monitor, both the platform window and the window you're sharing would obviously be open on the same screen (however you arrange those two windows). If you have two monitors, you could put the teletherapy platform on your main monitor, and the window that you want to screen share on your second monitor. When you select the screen sharing feature on most platforms, you are prompted to select which window (or desktop) you'd like to share.
Most often, I screen share these 3 things:
An internet browser window (Boom Cards and other online games or books)
Adobe Reader DC (PDFs)
Once I've shared my screen, I often give the student mouse control. This means that I allow the student to have the ability to control the window that I'm screen sharing with their mouse.
For example, if you are sharing the above interactive PDF using Adobe Reader and you've given the student mouse control, they are able to click the correct bag, rather than you (the SLP) doing it. When sharing this Make A Cake activity, mouse control enables the student to be the one making the cake. If you're sharing Boom Cards, the student is able to click on answers or drag and drop pieces on the card.
Giving mouse control wouldn't be appropriate to use with all students. Some students don't have mouse control skills yet, and some students may get a little click-happy and have difficulty only interacting with the activity being used. Additionally, not all teletherapy platforms have a mouse control feature.
So do you need both of these features? Or is just one okay? What if your teletherapy platform doesn't have either one? Think of it this way.... if screen sharing is the pie, mouse control is the whipped topping. Mouse control makes screen sharing that much better. But just as no one ever needs dessert (although that's debatable), you don't need either one to do effective teletherapy. They just make therapy a whole lot sweeter.
Search your teletherapy platform's online help center to see if these features are available, and how to use them in sessions!