Google Slides – More than a PowerPoint alternative

By December 3, 2015 2 Comments


A few years ago when I first started using Google Drive for my work needs I was less-than-impressed by Google Slides.  The templates offered on Drive were boring, and I just wasn’t that into PowerPoints to begin with, so why would I like Google’s version?  But, like a good convert, I used Slides whenever I had to design a report or give a presentation at a board meeting or professional development for my staff.  It has only been within the last year that I’ve expanded my thinking, and because of that, began to realize the full potential that Slides can offer.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to use Google Slides:

  • Class Blog – This is not my own idea.  I first saw the idea from Karly Moura on Matt Miller’s blog. I have since shared it with teachers from elementary school to advanced high school mathematics.  Basically, the teacher creates a Google Slides presentation (title page, direction page, then just copy/paste the next slide for as many students as you have), and shares it with the class.  Each student gets one slide to share thoughts, answers, images, reflections.  Then, students comment on their classmates’ slides, making it interactive and giving the feedback component of a blog.  I love this idea for introducing blogging, appropriate comments, etc. to a class.  Plus, it’s incredibly easy to set up and completely private to the class.  It’s also a great way to teach students about the power (and pitfalls) of collaborating on one presentation.  Invariably, someone will change the theme or delete a slide on accident.  It’s a great way to teach  how to use the undo button and Revision History.  Message me if you want some templates that have already been created.
  • Digital Portfolio – Google Slides is a great place for students to house evidence of their learning.  They can write brief project reflections, insert an image to show a finished product, or even embed a video demonstrating their learning in action.  The best part of it is that they can share the presentation with their parents and teachers so that the learning progression can be viewed as it happens.  The digital portfolio goes with the student from there on out since it’s housed in their Drive.  
  • Collaborative PresentationsThis one is pretty obvious.  However, I no longer think of them as boring.  Google’s default templates have gotten a bit better, but I love using the templates at  The best part of any Google Drive apps is the availability to work on something with someone (or lots of someones) at the same time.  It’s a great way for a team to produce a culminating project.  Plus, Google makes it easy to search and add images and videos from within the Slides tab.  
  • Unit Review – For one 4th grade classroom, I created a Google Slides template with four concepts they had just finished studying in math.  Each slide had a different topic (i.e. adding and subtracting decimals). The students made their own copy (automatically done for them in Google Classroom), then created their own content to show what they had learned about that concept. Some added screenshots from their math notebooks, others searched for images within Slides, while others just wrote brief explanations.  All students shared their reviews with the teachers.
  • Formative Assessments This can be done in any number of ways, and can even be a combination of those I mentioned above.  The teacher can create a presentation, share it with the students, and they get one slide to show what they know so far. The teacher can create a “quiz” of sorts on a Slides presentation and the students have to answer the questions somewhere else.  Teachers can embed a Google Form into Slides they are using during instruction to take a quick temperature of the class.

What are other creative ways you use Google Slides?


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  • Terrific suggestions here Janelle!
    I’m a huge fan of Google Slides, even though I use Slides as a key piece of my professional portfolio, I had not considered it as a collaborative blogging tool – very cool idea!
    In addition to your suggestions, I’ve seen, and I’ve used Slides to create differentiated, interactive, personalized e-books. Give viewers a choice that advances the presentation in two or more directions. With embedded video, and links to gaming / quiz apps, the slide deck becomes a media-rich learning experience. Students, for the most part, are familiar with creating slideshows, once they discover these other possibilities – look out! They can create their own gamified e-books using Slides.
    I also appreciate the ability to publish slides to the web. The magic comes with the ability to grab the HTML code to embed the presentation in a blog or web page.
    Good stuff here – thank you for providing this learning forum!

    • Awesome ideas, Bob! Going off your idea, we could use it for differentiated study reviews. Students choose a link to the slide they need more work on, instead of having to wade through all of it. Thanks!