Getting Started With Google Slides
Type of technology: Website or App
SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade level: 3-12
Subject area: All
Getting Started with Google Slides
A Digital Presentation Application
Deciding what technology to use in your classroom is a little like going to the airport and trying to find somewhere to go. For the past few years, I took more domestic flights. I traveled to short destinations like multiplication.com and apps like Epic! This all done in an attempt to get my eager third graders use to using technology; and of course, to bring my teaching into the 21st Century.
This year is different though. I wanted to start traveling internationally. It’s the perfect time to go because I am teaching sixth grade students this year. You know those kids who use Instagram on the low and have adept twitter fingers. These are also the same kids who are ready for longer projects and more advanced technological challenges.
Therefore, with my apple laptop in my right hand and a mocha latte on the left, I set out to go where no teacher has gone before…ok where I haven’t gone before; and teach my students how to use Google Slides.
Searching for flights (The Lesson Plan)
I chose to use Google Slides because I thought it would a great culminating project for the Marine Life Unit I was teaching. As part of the sixth grade Core Knowledge Curriculum, the students are expected to learn how to classify marine life and understand how animals adapt based upon what ocean zone they live in. The students used the second page of this form http://mjksciteachingideas.com/pdf/LifeZones.pdf as a guide to research information about their animal. Instead of having them make a poster or write a paper, I thought they could share their work digitally and cross off standards SL.6.4 and SL.6.5 in the process!
You can essentially turn any paper project that you want students to complete into a slide show presentation. By the way, Slides can be used for a lot more than just powerpoint like presentations. Your students can create many other projects as well.
Purchasing the ticket (Set up Student Google Email Accounts)
Student emails are basically the golden ticket to accessing Google Slides. Before teaching the students how to use the app, make sure that their district email works. Their google email gives them access to all the google apps except for the actual email feature.
I quickly checked if their email worked, by having them logon to their Google Drive. The majority of the students were able to logon. For those who didn’t have an account, I simply emailed the Santa Barbara School District tech department and they created one for them. If your district does not have an email account set up for your students, you may want to create a class email that your students can access and that you closely monitor.
Checking in for the flight (Gathering Student Email Information)
Now that all the emails worked, I needed a quick and efficient way to direct students to the terminal (aka the folder) where I wanted them to house their work (more about this in the next step). In order to do this, I created a simple google form. I put the link to the form on NEO (or you could just have them type it into their web browser or click on the link from your website.) The form looked like this:
As you can see it was pretty simple. I had the students type in their email address and name. Once the students inputted all of this information, I was able to transfer the data to a google spreadsheet. This allowed me to have all their emails in one place.
Boarding the Plane (Create a Folder for Student Work)
Just like every plane has a destination and flight path, so should your students’ work. Your Google Drive will be a mess if you never use folders to organize the docs you have created. I decided to create a Sixth Grade Class Folder. Inside of this folder, I created another folder named Marine Presentations. I then shared the folder (click on the person with the plus sign) with my students by simply copying and pasting their emails into the shared box. Now they had a home for their work.
Tip: The share button will pop up once you have selected the folder.
Finding a Seat (Creating a Slide Presentation and Naming Student Documents)
Now that the folder was set up, I had the students log on to their Google Drive and click on the
“Shared With Me” tab. It was here that they would find the Marine Presentations Folder. I had the students click on the folder. From there they clicked on “NEW” and then “Slides”. This process created a slideshow presentation inside of the shared folder. Their work was automatically shared with me and I could easily see how much progress they were making on their projects.
Tip: Before you assign any work to your students, decide how you want them to name their document. This will allow you to find their work quickly and easily. I chose to have them write their first name and then the name of their animal.
Reviewing the Safety features of the Boeing 747 (Teaching Students to Use Google Slides)
If you have every been taxiing down the runway, you know that before the plane actually gets into the air, the flight crew always teaches the passengers the safety features of the plane. In my most recent flight, they actually showed us a video that included all the safety instructions. That got me thinking. Why not show a video that teaches how to use Google Slides? So, I searched on youtube and found this awesome video that details how to use the app.
TIP: Did you know that students can conduct research in slides! Many of my students used this cool feature to insert pictures, videos and to find more information about their topic. The research tab is called Explore See how to access it below:
“You are now free to move about the cabin” (Letting the kids Get to Work)
As the pilot, I took the seat belt sign off and allowed my students to explore slides as soon as the video was finished. I didn’t give them any other instructions about how to use the app. I let them explore. Very few students asked me for additional help. The video really is that clear and easy to follow. They also already knew that I expected the information from their graphic organizer to be on one or more slides.
TIP: What would a flight be without flight attendants? My flight attendants are my student tech assistants. Tech assistants help students with tech problems and questions and even make sure devices are put away correctly! I teach my tech students how to do a particular task, and then they become the experts and help others. They are priceless and keep me from losing my mind!
Flight Time (Duration of the Project)
The journey did take a couple of weeks to complete. This was due in part to the fact that I don’t have access to the Chromebook cart everyday. I also gave the students more time to explore the program. This freedom created a desire to be creative with their slides. Which took them longer to complete.
Arriving At Our Final destination (Student Presentations)
I had the students present their slides to the class. They just used my laptop so that they could mirror their presentation on the Apple TV. There were several benefits to allowing the students do this. The first was that the students were able to get practice presenting in front of a group of people using technology. (Yes, that is the listening and speaking standards I mentioned earlier!) The students listening to the presentation had to take notes using this document http://mjksciteachingideas.com/pdf/LifeZonesNotes.pdf which kept them engaged. What was even more awesome, was that students were able to learn additional features of slides as they viewed the presentation. Some students added transitions, animations and I also had a student add a few videos. My students loved Kasey’s presentation so much, that they asked her to present her slide show again! Here is a link to her presentation.
Keep in mind this was the first time that she ever used slides. I can only imagine what her second presentation will be like!
Yelping the journey (Final Thoughts)
If I had to rate my experience using Google Slides, I would give it 5 stars. The entire project actually went pretty well. The kids enjoyed using the app and were excited to create their presentations and present them to the class. I also was able to travel internationally; granted I only went to the technological distance of Canada; but hey it’s a start! I hope that you will dare to use this app in your classroom. If you do, please comment below and let me know how it went!