Updated: Mar 25, 2021
With the 2020 pandemic came a second and third order effect of SLP-ing as we know it: a move to teletherapy and a surge in digital materials. Did you know the Five Features of a True No Print at that point? Though teletherapy is not a new concept, many SLPs began teletherapy for the first time in March. This transition left some of those hands-on, hard-copy materials on the shelf in favor of digital resources that were easily shareable in virtual classrooms. However, not all digital resources are designed specifically for, nor are they all adaptable to, teletherapy and distance learning.
Those that are? They are the "NO PRINT" resources that will ease your service provision rather than aggravate it.
So, what should you be looking for when selecting resources for distance learning?
1. Intended for Digital Interaction
ALL materials that are coined "NO PRINT" are intended for digital interaction. Whether that is annotation tools, embedded classroom tools, remote mouse control or simply your mouse control, depends on the device, platform, and application-sharing mode used. Regardless of the HOW, there is typically some element of interaction that your students will be able to engage with on a true NO PRINT. Here are a few examples: Boom Cards™ have draggable graphics, interactive PDFs have clickable buttons or checkable boxes, static PDFs have drawable or annotatable space. You can tell when a resource has been designed for digital interaction because the interaction is at the CORE of the resource.
2. FULL COLOR
Your students do not want to look at boring black and white. They are bombarded daily with video games, television, and other media with amazing graphics. If you want to keep their attention on screen, you'll want to use full color digital materials with aesthetically appealing graphics and colors.
3. ONE Target Per Page
One problem of having full color and cool graphics is that your page can get pretty cluttered if there are multiple targets displayed. That's why true NO PRINT materials limit targets to one per page. Having one target per page also makes the resources user-friendly for both you, because it makes scrolling through targets easier.
AND ONE Page PDFs
NO PRINTs have an exception to the "One Target Per Page" rule, and that's the "One-Pager." The One-Pager usually comes in PDF format and may be something like a language scene with TONS of targets or a sectioned page chock full of activities to divide up among members of a group. Also, some games with embedded targets have the targets on the game boards themselves.
4. Correct ORIENTATION
Although the One-Pager exceptions can be in portrait orientation, most other true NO PRINT resources that have intentional design for online interaction will be in landscape orientation. If you find a resource that is displayed landscape orientation, but the targets are sideways, this would not be a compatible resource for distance learning. Digital resources should just work, not be work!
5. Games with EMBEDDED Targets
Games with embedded targets are CLUTCH in the teletherapy world because there's no lost time between screen-sharing different applications. Students are also more engaged in therapy because their communication targets are tied to their advancement in the game. These games are usually Power Point format, but can be Boom Cards™ and simple websites as well.
Bottom line, a resource intended for printing is not always directly translatable to the features that make a NO PRINT time-, space-, and energy-saving for you.
-Angela C. Hancock, MSP, CCC-SLP