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5 Unusual Ways to Use Google Slides

I went all through school using PowerPoints. Google Slides is essentially a cut-down version of PowerPoint but there is something different about it. Maybe its the potential for collaboration, the speed at which slide decks can be made, or maybe the fact that it is web-based. I am not sure but it just seems better than using PowerPoints. No matter the difference, using Slides has opened up new ways that I can engage students.

Most of these unusual ways to use Google Slides didn’t occur to me until I started using Slides instead of Powerpoint. Every teacher can improve their teaching not necessarily having to find new tools. Sometimes, all it takes to reengage students is using a familiar tool in a new way. Here is a list of unusual ways I have used Google Slides for things other than a “stand and deliver” direct instruction. #4 is the only item on the list that I have not personally tried. All the rest I have tried in some capacity with success.

5 Unusual Ways To Use Google Slides

#1 Visual flashcards

Images are powerful tools in all types of subjects. In using Google slides, the students can make their own visual notes in order to help them understand ideas and concepts. Collaboratively, they can use it by putting all the collections altogether and they can build a kind of class library that is easily shared and stored to be reviewed later.

#2 Collecting research “note cards”

The note card system is very useful for the students when collecting information for a research paper.  I have used this system to mimic information collection instead of physical 3×5 or 5×7 blank index cards. I used to have students use the cards to collect the information from sources and the citation. It was tedious and laborious work that today’s students simply don’t have the stamina for. I can’t blame them. When using Slides for “note cards”, students write the complete information regarding the magazines, books, or films, etc. on the slide. They also include the citation for compiling the bibliography and entering footnotes.

I built a brief guide addressing common student questions. You can find it by clicking here.

#3 Collecting images with citations

Citing the images in a proper manner is a key skill in 21st century. By using the “title only” side, the students should be able to build a visual bibliography in which they can store the images together with accompanying citations. This is ideal when students are putting up group projects. All of them can edit the presentation because all of them have an access to it. Moreover, the students may include relating notes regarding the images.

#4 Digital workbooks for elementary school students

This type of project is primarily geared towards the elementary students. Google slides can be used in sharing and creating a digital workbook such as hyperlinks, videos, imagery and places where students can write their response and they can fill in the blanks. It can then be left on Slides or printed out as a PDF. I have seen some pretty cool workbooks teachers made using Google Slides.

#5 Engaging the audience with the Poll Everywhere add-on

This type of system will give opportunities to every class to participate in the discussion. With the help of Poll Everywhere, you can maximize the student engagement and exchange of ideas. This is done by asking the audience some questions regarding the topic. Their answers can be collected in real time through the use of Twitter, a web browser like Chrome or mobile phones. Then, you can see all the responses live in the Slides presentation. Many are already familiar with Poll Everywhere but you can set it up so that it is built into the Slide presentation. You never have to switch tabs or windows to go back and forth.

These are the five unusual ways in using Google slides that can help you reengage students in some of the most difficult parts of the year. You take a familiar tool and simply add in an additional feature or do it slightly different. The students won’t freak out on you because of a new tool and you can give them a tool they can use for things other than PowerPoint 2.0.

Question: Do you know of any tips or tricks that can make using Google Slides better?

6 responses on "5 Unusual Ways to Use Google Slides"

  1. Hello MJ. Terrific post! I’ve helped students create personalized e-books. Readers can choose unique directions to their reading experience because links direct them through different slide pathways. I also use Slides to document and share my professional goals and professional learning. I embed the decks in my blog. Updating the slides means viewers see the most current information. I love the clean look of embedded presentations! Thanks for providing this learning / sharing forum.

    • Great suggestions! I didn’t even consider the role it can play professionally rather than teaching. Having the #Schoologychat topics as a Slides was a great idea for working collaboratively. I never even considered using them for goals. With the ability to easily embed, they are great for that! Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  2. My 6th grade students love using Slides to make flashcards, especially for vocabulary words. I also use Slides to play Jeopardy with my students as a review game: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1XmY-psf_rE85txtyTcdCKrGeH4X-_GRtYa5xIgK6qI8/edit#slide=id.p

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