Teacher Review for Google Drive

Slides permits seamless group presentations but teachers need to monitor student interaction

Nathan L.
Classroom teacher
Calvert Hall College High School
Baltimore, MD
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My Grades 9, 10
My Subjects Social Studies
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Small group
Student-driven work
Whole class
Great with General
How I Use It
I break students into small groups (3-4 students each) and have each group create content in a Slides presentation that I shared with the entire class. Since I "own" the Slides presentation, I have a lot of oversight regarding who has access to the file and I can review previous version of the file (especially if something gets deleted on accident). Slides has the functionality of a PowerPoint presentation but allows the groups to work on the same presentation simultaneously and dramatically cuts down the time it takes for short presentations. I can finish an entire class' group presentations (with one slide per group) in 20-25 minutes of class time, because there is very little down time between each group. They don't need to fumble around their email or with their flash drive to find the most recent version of their PowerPoint presentation. I just hit the space bar to go to the next group's slide. I then give comments about the kind of content they included on their slides and about their presentation style. These short presentations are scaffolding for larger, more involved project presentations later in the year. The quality of my student presentations has improved significantly in the last year because of these quick, one or two day assignments.
My Take
Google Slides can be used to create dynamic multimedia presentations and foster student collaboration. The presentations can have pictures, links, videos and most other forms of digital content, although I tried to embed a photosphere and couldn't get it to work so I just created a link to it. The Slides files are entirely cloud-based and any number of people can work on them at the same time. For instance, students can work on a presentation that they've created and share it with me to get some optional feedback or as part of their grade. Slides isn't specifically designed for an educational environment, so it requires significant student monitoring (especially early on). Depending how you share and set up the presentation, the students might be able to edit the sections that have been reserved for others. They can learn some good lessons about digital citizenship (in this case, collaborating in an online system without interfering in others' work) but the teacher will need to make such expectations clear and monitor proper usage herself. I would be excited to see a Google Add-on that allowed me to share a specific slide in a larger presentation instead of always sharing the entire thing with every contributor. As it stands, this kind of digital collaboration seems most appropriate at the middle/high school level (I teach high school myself), where students could be expected to understand the appropriate boundaries.