Google Slides is such a versatile tool in G Suite (Google Apps). It goes much further than creating a slide presentation to show on the screen to the entire class.
Mix in images — the visual tools that make instant connections in our brains — and you’ve got an engaging activity in the making.
I want to show you two brand new tools that will mix those two elements — slides and images — in ways that you haven’t been able to in the past. They’re quick and easy to use if you have the Google Chrome browser on your computer or Chromebook.
DriveSlides is a Google Chrome extension created by Alice Keeler and me. We created this extension to pair with our new book, Ditch That Homework. (For more information about Ditch That Homework, visit DitchThatHomework.com.)
Note: Are you thinking, “Wait a second … I don’t even know what a Chrome extension is!”? Don’t worry! They’re easy to use and I’ll show you what to do step by step. You will need the Google Chrome browser for your computer (laptop, desktop or otherwise … doesn’t matter) or Chromebook. If you need to install it, click here (it’s free). It’s my favorite way to surf the Internet.
Here’s what DriveSlides does: It uses a folder of photos in your Google Drive. It creates a new Google Slides presentation and adds each photo in that folder to its own slide in the presentation. (i.e. A folder with 15 photos has 15 slides … one for each photo.)
This makes creating presentations with images super easy. It does all the photo uploading, adding and sizing for you.
It also lets students pull in photos of their work — or of the content they’re studying — and add text, speech bubbles and comments. The sky’s the limit with this tool, and I’ll share several ways you can use it in the classroom later in the post.
How do I use DriveSlides?
Want to see how this tool works? Check out this step-by-step tutorial video that shows you how to do it, start to finish, click by click.
Here are links to the two Chrome extensions mentioned in the video:
Or follow these directions:
2. Go to your Google Drive (drive.google.com). Create a folder for images to go to in Drive and name it something related to the activity you’re doing.
Pro tip: You can have all of your images automatically saved to that folder you just created. Right-click (or two-finger tap with Chromebook or Mac) the Save to Google Drive extension in the top right of your browser. Choose options. Change the destination folder to the folder you created for this activity. (Just remember to change it to a different folder next time you use the Save to Google Drive extension!)
3. Start finding images. Some suggestions for places students can search for images they have the rights to use:
- Creative Commons search (search.creativecommons.org)
- Google Image Search with (In images.google.com, after you’ve searched for something, click the “Tools” button, then “Usage rights”, then select “Labeled for reuse with modification”)
Note: If you’re doing this from Google Images, you’ll want to click on the image you want to save to see the full-size version of it. Then right-click (two-finger tap) this bigger one to save to Google Drive. Otherwise, you’ll save the smaller thumbnail-sized image, which won’t look as good on the slides.
5. Put images in the right folder. When done, go to your Google Drive and click “Recent.” Find all the pictures you just added. Hold in Shift and click the ones you want to use to highlight them. Right-click one of those files and click “Move to …”. Select the folder where you want the images moved (or create a new one). Then click “Move here.”
Pro tip: If you used the previous pro tip and you set where you wanted Save to Google Drive to put your images, you can skip this step!
6. Run DriveSlides. Open the folder with your photos in Google Drive. Click the DriveSlides icon.Voila! Your slide presentation is created.
Are there other ways to get images on my DriveSlides slide presentation?
Definitely! Here are a couple of ways.
Option 1: Use the Google Photos app. If you’re going to shoot your own photos on a smartphone/tablet/iPad, the Google Photos app will automatically upload photos taken on that device to your Google Drive. (Be sure that smartphone/tablet/iPad is connected to WiFi.) Shoot the photos you want and then, once the photos are uploaded to the Google Photos folder in your Drive, jump to step 5 above.
Option 2: Use the Awesome Screenshot extension. It’s a pretty easy extension to use. (Here’s a video tutorial if you’d like to see how to use it step by step.) You can install the Awesome Screenshot extension by clicking here.
You can take a screenshot of your device (a picture of what’s displayed on your screen). With Awesome Screenshot, you can even add things to that image like:
- drawing with a pen
- boxes, circles and arrows
You an also crop the screenshot you just took. Once you’re done, you can save the image right to your Google Drive. (Once you click “Done”, choose “More options …” and “On Google Drive”. You’ll give it permission to access your Google Drive account and then Awesome Screenshot will save your image to Google Drive.
When you’re done saving screenshot images to your Google Drive, you can jump to step 5 in the DriveSlides instructions above to add those images to a slide presentation.
Is DriveSlides the only way to add images to slides?
No way! Alice Keeler, with whom I co-created DriveSlides, also created a different Chrome extension: SlideShot.
Once you click the SlideShot extension icon and turn it on, SlideShot will automatically take a screenshot of your screen every minute until you finish. When you click “Finish”, it will add all of those images to their own slides in a slide presentation (much like DriveSlides). You can even click the SlideShot icon and have it manually capture a screenshot whenever you want.
This is a great tool to help students reflect on their work or show their work for the day. They can revisit the steps they took to complete an activity. They can also see how they’ve used their time during the day since SlideShot will take screenshots every minute.
How can you use DriveSlides or SlideShot in class?
There are tons of options! Here are some ideas. If you can think of another way it could be used, please add it to the comments below, and check there to see if anyone has suggested something you could use!
1. Lab reports — Students could take pictures of what they’re doing in a science lab (or in any class that does labs). With the Google Photos app installed (see above), students take images of their various steps with a smartphone/tablet/iPad. (Be sure the device is connected to WiFi.) When finished, they move the images they want into a folder and run DriveSlides from there.
2. Field trips — Take the lab reports idea above beyond the school! Have students take images of a field trip. When they return, they can run DriveSlides from a folder with the photos to put them all on slides in a slide presentation. Then, they can add text and annotate the images to explain what they learned.
3. Reflection on work — Students can use the SlideShot extension to take a screenshot of their work every minute and put them on a slide presentation. They can then go back over their work for the day, reflecting on what they did and what they created/shared.
4. Quick photo-based reports — Students can easily create a quick text-and-images report in a slide presentation with DriveSlides. They gather images (see the DriveSlides steps above). Then they create a slide presentation using DriveSlides. In the presentation, they can add text and annotate the images to explain the concept of the day.
5. Take photos of student work for peer review — Take photos of student work (projects, written activities, anything in the real, non-digital world). With the Google Photos app installed, those images are automatically uploaded to Google Drive. Use DriveSlides to create a slide presentation of all of those images of student work.
Pro tip: Share that presentation with students in an announcement or assignment in Google Classroom. In the presentation, click the blue “Share” button and “Advanced,” then choose “Anyone with the link can edit” or “Anyone with the link can comment.” By giving anyone the ability to comment, students can jump to each other’s slides and peer edit by adding comments. By giving them the ability to edit, students can jump to each other’s slides and add text, images and other elements to work collaboratively.
6. Step-by-step directions with screenshots or photos — Give a step-by-step explanation of how to do something online. Use the Awesome Screenshot extension (above) to take pictures of each step. Add those screenshots to slides with DriveSlides to provide a step-by-step tutorial.
7. Photos of math problem step by step — Let students take a deep dive into a math problem. By adding screenshots or pictures of each step of a math problem, they can explain each step in detail in a DriveSlides presentation.
8. Storytelling — Let students create a story, finding images to illustrate it with one of the image sources listed above (i.e. Creative Commons search, Photos For Class, Google Images). They save the images, then use DriveSlides to put them all on individual slides. They can then write the story by adding text boxes to each slide.
9. Finding example images of a concept from class — A picture is worth a thousand words. When students find example images of what you’re studying in class, they see that subject in a different light. Have them find six, 10, 15 … any number of images that are relevant.
10. Bell ringer activity — If you’re about to dig into a new topic in class, have students do a little research of their own first. Have them find some images and and important facts about that topic on their own. Students can save those images and create a slide presentation with DriveSlides. Then, they can add the facts with text boxes.
Question: How can you see DriveSlides or SlideShot being used in class? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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