At one point, creating a PowerPoint presentation to show to the class was cutting-edge classroom technology.
Those days are gone, and now, online presentations enable so much more for students.
Google Slides, the Google Apps solution to PowerPoint, opens this classroom staple up to vast possibilities. With real-time collaboration, connection to other Google Apps and the ability to embed presentations in websites, students can do so much more than “make a PowerPoint.”
Here are some ideas to harness the Google Slides greatness in your classroom. (Note: “Google Slides” is the name of the app, but “presentations” are what you create in Google Slides.)
1. Shared presentations: This is one of my top five go-to techy classroom techniques. It’s easy, it’s quick and it connects students’ work. Create a Google presentation and then create a slide for every student in the class. Share the presentation with students (with a link or by e-mail … use the blue “Share” button) and assign each student a slide number. Students can use it as a quick “do now” activity, as an exit ticket or other type of formative assessment. They can also use the search when inserting images to find a picture relevant to the topic at hand. When finished, let them scroll through other students’ slides (and add comments!) or display on a projector.
2. Screencast videos: Google Slides is the key that makes for great screencast videos. (Screencast = recording video of your screen with audio from a microphone to create a video presentation.) Use a screencasting tool. I like Snagit for the Chrome browser … install the extension AND the app to make it work. Students can create a presentation in Google Slides and then record themselves presenting it. Snagit uploads the video directly to their Google Drive account, so the video can be shared with a link or embedded on a website.
3. Animation: This is a great hack (i.e. non-traditional use) of Google Slides that could take some time to complete but yield amazing results. Check out this video, where the creators made an impressive animation with 450 slides in a Google Slides presentation just by clicking through the slides quickly.
4. Global shared presentation: The shared presentation in No. 1 doesn’t have to stay in the confines of your classroom. By sharing that presentation by link or e-mail with classes in your city, country or beyond, fun and meaningful interactions can occur in real time. Find a class to share learning (Twitter or Google Plus are great for this … see how I’ve done it on this conference session page). Then start sharing insights together — reports on the weather, photos of surroundings, reactions to content learned in class, etc. When students see someone else making changes to a presentation in real time from another part of the world, it’s a real “It’s a Small World After All” moment!
5. Story books: With Creative Commons photos at their disposal, students can create great story books using Google Slides. Find these images by inserting an image and clicking “Search,” or go directly to search.creativecommons.org to copy and paste images over. (Make sure they’re giving attribution and a link to the original image!) Images can drive the story or vice versa. Students write and create, and when finished, they can share their storybooks or embed them in a class website.
6. Vocab alive: Turn vocabulary lists into an engaging, meaningful learning activity with Slides and images. Using the same tactics for finding photos from No. 5, students can illustrate their vocabulary lists with beautiful Creative Commons images. Connections in the brain with new words are stronger if they’re paired with an image. Those presentations can be displayed for class or saved for personal study.
7. Integrate other Apps in Slides: The various Google Apps can support each other. When creating a presentation in Slides, students can create an image in Google Drawings and copy it into a Google Slides presentation. This also works for charts created in Google Sheets. Add some data to a spreadsheet and create a chart, which can also be copied into a presentation.
8. Virtual tours with Google Earth: Google Earth’s street view is a visually stunning experience, giving users a first-person view of life from the streets of cities around the globe. Google Earth is great for giving virtual tours, but there’s a simpler and faster version of it. Take screenshots of scenes from Google Earth and paste them in a Google Slides presentation. Add a title and/or some text description. With lots of slides, a virtual tour can happen quickly and meaningfully.
9. Video galleries: Sometimes, a quick video is all it takes to make an idea clear. Students can find useful videos on YouTube (or other video sites) and embed those videos in a presentation to create a collection of visual ideas. YouTube videos are pulled in simply by inserting a video. Other videos can’t be embedded like YouTube videos, but there are options. Make a quick screenshot from a video and link it to a video (on School Tube, Teacher Tube or another site) by clicking the link button in the toolbar.
10. Quick blog: Blogging is a useful reflective activity that can generate a lot of online conversation among students. A quick, simple version of blogging can be created in a Google presentation. Create a shared presentation (see No. 1 above), and have students write a short “blog post” in their slides. They can even add images (see No. 5 above). When complete, students can read each other’s writing and write comments on them using the comment button in the toolbar. Conversations stay grouped together when students reply to each other using the “reply” button. This creates meaningful conversation with very little prep time.
[reminder]How could you see these ideas being implemented for your learners? How else can you use Slides in the classroom?[/reminder]
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