Mike Sammartano

Google Slides Outside the Box

Google Slides is a web-based presentation tool, not all that different from PowerPoint or Keynote. What sets it apart though, is the same thing that sets all of the Google (G Suite) apps apart from there Office and iWork counterparts — collaboration. While the Office and iWork suites have added sharing and collaboration features, they’re just not the same as what Google has accomplished. Google Slides makes working on a document with one or one hundred other people easy. This opens up lots of doors to unique and engaging learning activities using this powerful tool.

Most people think of Slides as a tool for building and delivering presentations. I prefer to think of it as a blank canvas for critical thinking, collaborating, and communicating. When you shift your view of the tool, you realize all of the possibilities. Here are just a few “out-of-the-box” ways you can use Google Slides in your classroom.

  • Create a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story by incorporating links which jump you around to various slides. (Example)
  • Create a classification or sorting activity in which students have to organize objects on a slide. (Example)
  • Flip your classroom with Google Slides by embedding videos and adding questions. You can even control where the video clip should start and end. This works great when used in conjunction with Google Classroom. (Example)
  • Create a collaborative assignment for the entire class to work on together. For example, if you are studying the presidents and each student needs to know some basic facts, have the class divide and conquer, creating a Slides review packet. (Example)
  • Create a stop motion style animation by building a slide, duplicating it, and then making minor adjustments to the objects. Do this over and over to achieve a “flip-book” effect. (Example)
  • Create a mock blog or journal by having students keep a learning journal, with each slide being a new entry. (Example)
  • Create an eBook. (Example)
  • Add audio to slides to create an audio book, tour, or tutorial by adding links to audio clips recorded in Vocaroo.
  • Create Venn diagrams, Mindmaps, or other graphical representations of relationships or information. (Example)
  • Create mock social media profiles or conversations using templates like this one or this one.
  • Create posters or other large documents to be printed and displayed in the classroom. (Instructions)

These are just a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Remember, with the Google tools, you can accomplish just about anything you can dream up. Be creative, try and think outside the box!