Teletherapy Hacks: Don't throw your books away! Use them as Virtual Backgrounds

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When transitioning to teletherapy I struggled with incorporating books into my virtual sessions. I was able to screen share and watch videos of books on YouTube but then my clients were unable to see my face. This made things difficult when I would pause to use a facial cue or a prompt for my client. I found that they were missing the cue or couldn’t see my face. 

Lightbulb! I have an idea.. Why not use the books as a virtual background? This way my clients can see the book AND me!

I will warn you now, It does take some time to prepare but it is definitely worth it in the long run! It has been a game changer for all of my sessions.

Here is the step by step process on how to use books as a virtual background: 

Step 1: Take a picture of each page with your camera phone. Make sure you have good lightning and no shadows on the book. I hold my phone horizontal and take the picture. 

NOTE: If you have a flip/flap book, I used tape to hold the flaps open and then took a picture.

Step 2: Email those images to yourself.

Step 3: Open your email and save those images to your computer. 

Step 4: Open PowerPoint and insert each image to the slides, one page in the book per slide.

Step 5: In PowerPoint you can now edit those images. Rotate, crop and resize the image to fit the PowerPoint slide (widescreen 16:9)

Step 6: Once that is done export the file and save as individual JPEG.  

On a Windows PC: File-Export-Change File Type-JPEG File Interchange Format

On a Mac: File-Save As- Format- JPEG

Step 7: Upload each image as a virtual background onto your platform (Zoom, Google Meets, ETC.)

Step 8: Navigate from slide to slide using your arrow keys to “turn the page” or open the flaps.

TIP: On Zoom you are able to split the screen so that you can see your client and your book, no problem! You just need to adjust your view on Zoom. 

Now you have the opportunity to be as creative as you want. Interact with your client and the book! If you are looking to do more with the book you can use green pockets and pull items out of the pockets or use a green stick and have characters or items come in and out of the book. Or just use the book as is!

Now your books come to LIFE! 

See the virtual background in action!

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