Hello there! Man, I miss blogging!
I have been thinking about posting for weeks, maybe months, but finally decided today to just dive in again with no promise to myself or anyone else about anything. I am just blogging today because it makes me happy, and this topic I am going to share with you makes my life better as a teacher, presenter and curriculum writer.
Holy presentation tools, Batman! What's so exciting? Don't we all know how wonderful Google Slides are already?
Probably so, but just in case you haven't discovered this little bit of magic, let me share with you some of the secrets in my bat cave that is Google Slides. Here we go!
I love, love, love, love, love desktop design, writing curriculum, and crafting learning experiences and materials for my students. I. LOVE. IT. BUT, it wasn't until the last year that I really found a new use of a familiar tool for capturing the ideas I have, and that little discovery has been such a profound one for me.
Last year, I got the opportunity to go to TCEA 2019 where I attended as many sessions as I could on all the possible novel uses of the Google suite to take back to my campus which had just walked bravely into the world of 1:1 (one digital device per student). If you have ever been to TCEA, you know it can sometimes be like trying to sip water from a firehose due to all the links, apps, extensions and ideas the presenters there are so hungry to share. So, being that our district was focused on getting as many teachers as possible Google certification, I just concentrated my attention there. It was in a session presented by my friend and colleague, Amy Mayer of FriEdTechnology that really perked my creativity in regards to Google Slides. She always has a knack for taking the features of Google Apps and showing you the POTENTIAL that is there. Her specialty, in my opinion, is creative use of the tools within GAFE. It was Amy that made me realize that all the time I had been fighting with Google Docs and how poorly things convert into Google Docs, was time and energy wasted in the light of Google Slides. The one thing that rattled me TO MY CORE was the ability to customize the size of the slide to fit my needs. Take a look at this super short video to learn how to do that:
OH. MY GOODNESS. When I learned that, my brain was on fire. Why? Because when you work in Google Slides, you are not forced into creating in a grid. Everything you place in a Google Slide is free floating, so gone are the days of battling to insert images, textboxes and tables that won't beautifully maximize space on the page. I can insert anything I want, move it where I want, add a drop shadow if I want, and do so many more things in a Google Slide to create LOVELY documents that are printer ready.
BUT THAT IS NOT ALL.
Once I started going with creating classroom printables in Google Slides rather than Docs, I had another HUGE a-ha moment. If I create something I really like as a template, I don't have to Make a Copy or cut and paste the content on a page, I can DUPLICATE or COPY the slide itself and reuse it. That way, everything on the slide stays where it is, all I have to do is change the content and BOOM! New activity.
But, wait... there's more.
Since I figured out the potential of duplicating slides, I played around creating a variety of activities related to the same unit theme, vocabulary family or structure, and then had another simple, yet profound couple of realizations. First, I can drag and drop the pages in whatever order I want and now I have created a learning PROGRESSION within one slide deck. Secondly, and this is just from a formatting / editing point of view, if I am building a unit, I am not limited to inserting page breaks in one Doc. Each activity is automatically housed on an individual slide. So, moving the order of content is not SO MUCH EASIER than if I was working in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Yet another mind-blowing realization was this: If I build a learning progression or a suite of materials on the same content in a slide deck, I don't have 4 million different Google file names to sift through to find the activity I created. I can build a slide deck on 1st Person Verb Discovery, and add slides to that deck rather than Google doc after doc. Small thing, I know, but to me is so worth shifting to Slides for creation purposes.
And just when you think, what else could you possibly find so remarkable about using Google Slides for materials creation beyond presentations? There is still something else. In Slides, you aren't limited to using just the white space for creation. You have the presenter notes section to make notes in, jot down copying instructions, or whatever, but also... wait for it... you can put things outside of the edges of the slide TOO. Why would you want to do that? Think what your old Teacher Edition textbook looked like back in the old days. So, now the slide itself can hold the student activity, and the outside of the slide can hold text boxes where you can write notes to yourself, teaching instructions, links to related resources, or whatever else you can think of.
These are the things that most move me about shifting to Google Slides as my go-to creation platform, but what will happen if you make that move, too, is that you will discover that the tools within Slides allow you to do things that make reusing those materials, sharing and collaborating with those materials so much richer.
On that note, I am sharing some of the materials I have created in Slides knowing what I know now. Notice how easily I can control formatting. Notice how I can move slides into the order that best progresses students through a lesson cycle. Notice how I use the features of Google Slides to remind myself about how I taught or can teach with these resources. Then, imagine the possibilities!
Links to Amy's Google Slides Activity Suites
Happy Coaching and Happy Holidays!
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