Google Slides is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s almost amazing that it comes as one of the standard free apps in the G Suite portfolio. Teachers love it because they can make fun, interactive lessons to present to the class. Students love it because they can really go for that A+ on their projects by designing effective presentations that show off their personalities and knowledge.
Because Google Slides is so versatile, it can be a little tricky to know just where to start exploring. We’ve got your back. Here are our top 5 tips for getting the most out of this great classroom tool.
1. Learn the basics together
You can make it an actual lesson in your classroom to learn the basic dos and don’ts of a slidedeck/presentation. Go through the use of colours, fonts, images, shapes, videos and animations. Have fun with going overboard so that everyone can see what you can do, but also the fact that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should.
Remember, adding in too many elements to one slide or an entire presentation can be very distracting to the message you’re trying to get across. It’s important to then look at your finished presentation as a whole. Make sure that it looks cohesive and it doesn’t get repetitive.
2. Bring presentations to life with videos
Google Slides allows you to pull a video through from YouTube or from your Drive folder. Once it’s placed on the correct slide, the video can be edited slightly so that you show only the part you want. You can set the start and end time so that only the section you need plays. You can also choose to mute the video so that there is no sound playing while you’re trying to present.
For those who want to be even more adventurous, you can actually make stop-motion animations with Google Slides. It’s as simple as taking one image or icon and slowly moving it around from one slide to the next. Then play the presentation at an appropriate speed, and your slidedeck turns into a video.
3. Integrate other apps into Google Slides
The beauty of all the Google apps is that they talk to each other. You can create original artwork in Google Drawings and insert those into your presentation straight from one app to the other. The same goes for charts created from research data in a Google Sheet. The app will automatically create a chart of your choosing based on the numbers, and then you can pull that through to your Slides presentation. The best part is, if you update the figures, the chart automatically updates too.
There are also other apps that have partnered with Google and can be integrated with Slides. Pear Deck is a favourite among teachers because it turns any presentation into an opportunity to do interactive, formative assessments. The app has also been created by educators for educators.
4. Create an ebook or a printable project
You don’t have to just make visual aids for presentations to the class. There are many other applications for this versatile product. Google Slides is often far more user friendly when it comes to making documents (ebooks, class projects, book reports, posters, flyers, etc.) that include images and text. You can place any images exactly where you want them and move the text around to create the desired effect.
It’s simple to change the size of your slides to a standard A4 or Letter shape. Just go to Page Setup and select or input the size you need. This can be done before you start, somewhere in the middle of the creation process or once you’re done. Although, it is best to do it first otherwise you’ll have to spend time moving things around on each slide once they’ve been resized. When you’re done, you can download the project as a PDF, which can be emailed to people, uploaded to a website or even printed out.
5. When in doubt, right click
All of the Google apps like Slides, Docs and Sheets are really great because they save multiple version histories of the project you’re working on. This makes them a great space to play around and try new things. You can then just restore the project to a previous version and start another experiment – all without losing any valuable work you’ve already done.
But where do you start your experiments? Easy – right click your mouse somewhere over the project. This will bring up a menu with options for what you can do on a page of your Slides presentation, or on the specific element that you right clicked on. The Help menu at the top of your presentation is also a very user-friendly source of information to get you trying new things.
Have fun with Google Slides
When it comes to getting the most out of an app like Google Slides, you may have to just get “comfortable with being uncomfortable” – according to Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning. The technology is constantly evolving and Google is always looking for new ways to improve their offering. That means, you’ll just have to keep trying new things and keep on playing with the options. It’s what we do with all of our presentations here at Mobile Guardian.
Happy exploring and creating!