Google Slides: Your Answer to Collaborative Synchronous Work

By Linor David

With Google Slides you can create template slide decks that encourage collaboration. By creating templates, students can follow along – you provide the backbone to support students in creating, researching, and presenting. Working together on slides is an interactive synchronous classroom activity that can be done over and over again to build skills and learn new subjects.

Transcript – Google Slides: Your Answer to Collaborative Synchronous Work (click to open)

Hey my name is Linor David and I’m a professor in the School of Community and Health Studies at Centennial and I want to share with you how I’ve been using Google Slides in my classroom I think you know as we’re teaching more online while looking for ways to engage students, work on collaboration, have them feel like the classroom is kind of both as fun and creative when it can be and I found that Google Slides have been have been really helpful for working on collaborative projects with students.

I’m so so what you see in the page in front of you is like what you get when you first open Google Slides and you know this this is not very engaging to me when I look at it but Google Slides, when when you work at it you actually can create all sorts of good layouts and ways that it ends up looking good and working well for students and so the first thing that I like to do when I’m working with Google Slides is to to start with something easy so always scaffolding in in classrooms.

And in doing something easy I just want students to get familiar with using Google Slides so that they feel comfortable with it, they are able to access their Google Drive and things that I share with them and so it’s a very low stakes intro and in this one I am asking people to introduce themselves and some place that they’re connected to so we’re looking at sustainable community development what is important to you. And I like to start with an example so this is my slide and it has my name at the top and then it has the picture and then it has a little paragraph explaining it and so then the students know what’s expected of them and this slide deck I’ve put the names of all the students so that they know which slide is theirs and then they can fill it in and you know what is great about Google Slides is it is a really good example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts so on its own you know each slide is is a small taste when you bring it together you see you know a student that’s interested in Yellowstone Park and someone else from South Africa and another student talking about Trinidad. It really starts to to create this very lively and connected feel about who’s in the classroom and and what they’re doing. So so this is using Google Slides individually and I I usually don’t because you know you have a class of 50 it gets very like unwieldy for everyone to have their own slide so normally what I would do is one of two things either I make a slide deck for a group of students to work on or I make a slide deck and then each slide has a group of students working on each slide.

So this is an example of a slide deck where each group of students had a slide to work on. So group one was working on natural capital, group two one physical capital and you can see how in this slide deck i have a few different things that I want them to do on each slide and I tell them what they are on the slide which is very important and then I’ve used color to to make it just a bit more interesting to see and then the last thing that I like to do in my slide decks that I want from a friend of mine is to bookend it. So put something at the end of it so students know I have gotten to the end there isn’t another slide that I’m looking for I’m not going to add a slide on by mistake this is the end of the slide deck. So what it looks like once everyone’s filled it in it looks pretty great we have pictures people’s examples and then the slide deck can then be used for students for studying and for reviewing because it has all the information in it. And I would normally just put the number of breakout rooms for the number of slides that I wanted and then tell people you know if you’re in breakout room one you’re at topic one, so pretty simple and easy and in the end it looks really nice and students feel like ‘wow we’ve just created this great thing.’ I also will will create a slide deck and then you know have students work on a slide deck so you know there were maybe five or six different slide decks with different cities that students were looking at and then you know you would put your group members and you would fill it in one thing that I really like to do with Google Slides because I think that the white just looks really boring and also when there’s a lot of different groups it could get you get confused with who’s who is. I always just change the background, I often change the background to the light background add it to the theme and then it just looks a lot better as students are doing it.

Another thing I like to do is make sure there’s space for pictures in your in the slide deck and then I also think it’s important to to add like some different elements so one thing that I’ll do is add a timeline so that students can figure out a timeline or ask people to to put some different types in but then also have a space for pictures so that if it gets a little bit it gets students more interested as they’re doing it instead of them just being expected to write a paragraph for everything. And what that would end up looking like is you know, a slide deck where they explore the issues, we have a nice little timeline, we have examples of influential people, a link for video and it’s created a really complete picture of something and it’s engaged students not just in writing but also in looking for videos you know searching maybe for organizations as opposed to just Wikipedia and each group has a very nice-looking presentation like this at the end.

So that’s what I wanted to share with you about how I’ve been using Google Slides. I think it’s a great tool I really encourage you to play with it, add templates to it and and and use it as a really powerful tool to get students collaborating and working together. My experience is that students always enjoy putting it together and the bit of creative process that goes along with it so I imagine that that your students will too.