Google Slides is a unique creature in the G Suite set of tools. It’s way more than an oral presentation program. Educators and students with open minds can use it for stop-motion animation, as a brainstorming template, to recreate the social media experience, and more.
Google has added a feature to make it even more powerful — and to make learning more accessible.
That feature is live closed captions. Google Slides will listen to you speak through your device’s embedded microphone and transcribe your words in real time to display on the screen. It was a passion project for two Googlers — one with hearing loss and another with an interest in accessibility.
Check out this video that shows how live closed captions work:
Important points to note (as of publication of this post):
Having live closed captions in Slides can help you and your students in lots of ways! Here are 6 ways to use it:
This may sound like an obvious one, but maybe it’s not. You’ll certainly know if you have students identified with hearing difficulties or students learning English as a new language. However, some students might not be identified and could use the additional support. Plus, some students without any identified special needs might find it easier to process what you say if it’s on the screen.
You don’t have to teach with multiple slides to get use out of live closed captions. If you want to use them to support the learners mentioned above, just make one slide. It could be an image, a graphic or a chart you’ll refer to during class. It could simply be a title for what you’re doing in class that day. What’s on the slide doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that having Slides running lets you use the live closed captions. Use it for the captions, not for the slides. (Idea by Joe Marquez (@JoeMarquez70) during a #DitchBook Twitter chat)
Your live closed captions can’t be accessed by people in other locations through Google Slides. However, you CAN make a video recording with a screencasting tool like Screencastify (screencastify.com). Record what you have to say while sharing the screen with your slides and captions. That will preserve them for later. Students can create video presentations this way.
If you plan to share a screen with slides during a live video call (Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc.), you can easily add live closed captions with Google Slides.
Have students run live closed captions (whether they’re using slides or not … see No. 2 above) while they practice speaking. They could practice pronouncing new vocabulary words to see if Slides closed captions can determine what they’re saying. They could practice an oral presentation and see how well they’re pronouncing words for audience understanding.
Here in Indiana, when school is canceled due to snow, some schools don’t have to make those days up if they can provide instruction and learning digitally that day. They’re called “e-learning days”. Teachers could provide live instruction via video call (see No. 4) or recorded instruction (see No. 3) with easy Google Slides closed captions.
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