Google Slides for Connection and Collaboration

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Tania Tasneem

8 Science | Marine Bio | Imagineers

Volleyball Coach | Track Coach |Campus Innovation Connector | 8th Grade Team Lead

Kealing Middle School

Creating deliverable content for our students has taken on a whole new level of thought. Aside from collaborating with my PLC on learning targets and modifying lessons as we transition to standards based instruction, I find myself clouded with the possibilities of which technology platform to use for each class period. As I reflect on this past school year, I think we can all agree that there is definitely no shortage of platforms that provide opportunities for students to collaborate, connect, think critically, communicate, and be creative. I feel like I have used them all in some form or another and most recently have been trying to keep it simple and in one place by harnessing the power and versatility of google slides.

While I still use a variety of platforms, google slides is always my starting point. Much like Julie Hildebrand mentioned in her blog post, I have found that google slides help me and the students stay organized as each slide deck contains all of the pertinent information for that lesson. One of my favorite uses for google slides was creating a digital escape room and putting my bitmoji classroom to use for a review activity on tides. Another handy tool  with google slides is the Q&A function when you are presenting a slide deck for the whole class. When you click on present mode, the black presentation tool bar at the bottom of the slide has a Q&A button that allows your audience to open a new tab to ask and upvote questions during the presentation. I have found this easier to track rather than the zoom chat.

Zoom tool bar image
Chemistry slide image

Most recently, I discovered a way to use google slides as a card sorting activity for my students. I changed the page layout to 6 inches by 6 inches, but the size can be customized to fit your needs. When I shared the sorting activity with the students I shared a force copy version so that they can edit the slides as they go. As they worked through selecting the right cards, student groups then called me into their breakout rooms to verify before they started to answer some guiding questions in the daily slide deck

Finally and most importantly,  I have found google slides invaluable for students while working collaboratively in breakout rooms. Initially, I used the first slide of the deck as a way to help students pick collaborative roles when they got to their breakout rooms (my students are with the same group/breakout for 2-3 weeks) where each breakout room was working on their own copy of a slide deck. As we created student generated norms and expectations,  I started to get more comfortable with giving edit access to all students to one slide deck and  labeling each slide with a breakout room number or name so that they are only editing their own slide while I am able see at a glance what all students were working on. I was introduced to a variety of ways to continue to do this  in a more interactive way at the blended learning remix from a fellow CIC, Melissa Prepster  (see slide 4 | Frayer model) and am experimenting with these templates this semester.  While the ability to be in all breakout rooms simultaneously does not exist,  it is possible to leverage google slides in grid view to have keep an eye on student work much the same way we would physically circulate around the room to monitor if we had a station rotation or multiple groups face to face. My department chair uses google slides as group notebooks where each group gets their own copy and she monitors each notebook as a separate tab and can pop into breakout rooms as necessary to check in with her students. Our student council surveyed our students and gathered some of these ideas for overall engagement, but I appreciated their insight into using breakout rooms thoughtfully. I cannot imagine teaching my lessons without group work and breakout rooms and  the versatility of google slides means the possibilities are endless when it comes to deciding how to include them in your lessons.

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