Thursday, October 31, 2013

Quick Guide to Collaborative Google Presentations

Collaborative presentations can be a great way to start using Google Drive in the classroom because “slides” act as a personal workspace for each student or group of students but with the added ability to view and even co-edit the slides of others. It’s also a great way to demonstrate the power of collaborative cloud based document creation. But remember! - Collaborative means that some decisions can affect the whole group. For instance, changing a theme impacts everyones’ slides. This is a great opportunity to discuss digital citizenship norms  and respecting the work of others. Some of the suggestions below will help you to manage a collaborative document and consider the best approach for your classroom.

Step 1 - Create a presentation

Click on the create icon from the Google Drive homepage and select Presentations. You’ll be prompted to pick a theme.

Step 2 - Create a title slide that includes directions for the activity and specifies the slide criteria

Step 3 - Make a model

I find that it’s helpful to have a slide that the teacher creates ahead of time modeling the format and content examples. You can even make a template slide and use the duplicate slide feature to provide each student with a scaffolded workspace.

Step 4 - Pre-number or Pre-name the slides (optional)
You may want to pre-create the slides and label these ahead of time to designate whose space is whose. This is handy especially for first time users.

Step 5 - Sharing

Share by email - if you have a list of every student’s email (Google Forms are great for collecting these) then you can add individual students to the presentation. Click on the blue share tab in the upper right hand corner of the presentation or right click on the file from the Google Drive homepage.

The advantage to this method is that students will have access to the document via the “shared with me” tab of their Google Drive homepage and that all changes to the presentation are tracked to the user who made them. Students who tamper with the presentation can be identified using the revision history and unwanted modifications can be reversed.

Share by weblink - if you can’t add students individual via their email address you can create a public or semi-public link that allows students to access the document anonymously.

The advantage to this method is that it does not require your students to even have a Google Account. The link can be easily shared if the teacher has a webpage or uses a service like Edmodo or Moodle. A URL shortener like or are helpful for making the links shorter in the case of teachers who do not have a classroom website. The disadvantage is that anonymous can sabotage a project if expectations are unclear and monitoring is minimal. The good news is that the revision history may allow you to restore work that was mistakenly or purposely modified.  

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