Tag Archives: GAFE

Remote for Google Slides

I had a remote.  I lost the remote.  I found the remote.  It stopped working.  I lost it again, and found it again, and forgot that it wasn’t working.

And repeat.

When you go somewhere to do a presentation, you never know what the setup might be.  Sometimes your computer ends up being anchored to an inconvenient part of the room and a nice person volunteers to be your “driver” so you can stand in front of everyone.  But then you find yourself using sign language or gestures that may look a bit awkward every time the slide needs to be advanced.  Sometimes you can project on to a smart board, but your touch seems to send it into some sort of frenzy and advance your slides too quickly, making everyone wait while you try to find the previous slide and they don’t even care because it’s after school and they just want to go home and you break into a sweat trying to find the right slide and end up starting all over again and going really fast while you try to come up with some banter to distract everyone from the fact that you are a Loser of Remotes and Slides and Your Sanity.

At least that’s what some people tell me happens sometimes.

“Remote for Google Slides” is a Chrome extension that allows you to use any device with internet access to control your slides.  I tried it out yesterday with my students who were doing presentations and I was pleasantly surprised to find this free tool worked so well.  It didn’t completely eliminate awkward moments as there are a couple of steps you need to do before you start (see instructions here), but the actual presentations were smooth sailing once the remote was set up.  Students could easily advance the slides and they seemed less stiff since they could move away from the projection screen as they spoke.

Since the extension requires you to use the same website on your device that will be the remote, you may want to just save the site as a bookmark to your screen.  Then, all you have to do is tap the icon and enter the PIN that is on your presentation.

There is nothing fancy about this.  You can’t use your device as a mouse, and I doubt you can click on links within your slides and then return to the presentation.  But, if you have a bare-bones Slides presentation and want to save yourself money spent on lost remotes, this might be worth trying.

UPDATE 12/7/17: As one reader pointed out (thanks, Kim Nilsson!), there is a potential for security issues when using this.  You can read this post here for more details.  Whenever you give an extension access to your account, you should remember that granting access does make your account more vulnerable.  Always weigh the benefits and risks before doing so.

How the Audience Looks When I Can’t Find My Remote (image from sergesegal on Flickr)

Google Slides Q & A

My 5th graders are polishing up their Genius Hour presentations, and one of the students was trying to incorporate a poll into his presentation.  He was just going to switch windows in the browser during his presentation, but I was sure there must be a way to actually embed one into Slides.  We did some research and found a Chrome extension for Poll Everywhere that does allow this.  However, there were still a few more hoops to jump through to accomplish it than I thought necessary, including setting up an account.

The very next week, Google announced a new Q&A feature for Slides.  “Exactly what I was looking for!” I declared, and then proceeded to try to use it.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it – and all of the articles I found announcing Q&A’s arrival failed to mention how one could actually activate the feature.  I became more and more frustrated which is taking less and less time lately as the it’s-the-end-of-the-year-you-better-get-it-done-now feeling is currently commandeering more and more of my brain cells each day.

Twitter to the rescue.  Someone quickly responded to my tweet for help that I needed to be in presentation mode to activate Q&A.  And they said it nicely, which was kind of them since I probably should have figured that out in the first place 😉

I still don’t think Q&A actually fits what my student and I envisioned, but it does allow you to ask a question and have people respond, with the responses being listed in order of popularity (the audience can “like” each other’s responses).  When you activate Q&A, a link is shown at the top of your slide so the audience can type it in to record their response.  You could also use this as a backchannel where audience members can ask questions or make comments.

This article by Jonathan Wylie gives information about how to use Google Slides with an iPad or iPhone.  You might also want to read this blog post from Google that shows different uses for Google Q&A.  To use Q&A on a desktop or laptop computer, start Presentation mode, and then go to the bottom left of the slide, where you will see a “Presenter View” option.  Click on that, and then choose the tab for Audience Tools. (By the way, there is a new laser pointer tool that’s kind of fun to try, too!)

image from opensource.com on Flickr
image from opensource.com on Flickr


Google Slides Templates

Note: Since originally publishing this post, I have added some updates, which you can find here.

Now that our campus has a set of Chromebooks, my students have been delighting in exploring Google Drive.  One tool that has been an asset is the Presentation tool also known as Slides.  Similar to Powerpoint, the Google version has a few advantages in our environment: automatic saving (extremely helpful when the network isn’t always reliable), the rockin’ Research Tool, and the ability to use Google image search within the presentation. Even more importantly, a shared presentation invites collaboration.  I’ve enjoyed having the students work on slides in the same show simultaneously, such as the metaphor presentation I’ve embedded below.

There aren’t a whole lot of themes available in Slides.  But a growing number of templates are popping up online.  You can start with Google, itself, for public presentation templates that are free to download. Another fun resource, though somewhat limited right now, is Slides Carnival.

One of my favorite templates that I’ve run across recently comes from the DavidLeeEdTech blog.  This virtual museum template is so cool!  Scroll down to the comments section on his blog to get the direct link for downloading the template.

from David Lee's Virtual Museum Slides Template
from David Lee’s Virtual Museum Slides Template

Another option is to download a Powerpoint template that you like, and then to import the slides into your Google Drive presentation.

To download most templates, you will need to be signed in to your Google Drive. If the link provided for a template does not give you a direct copy, then you may have a “View Only” version, and will need to make a copy yourself. When applicable, always leave the proper source citations for the template on the slide show, but do whatever other editing you would like once you make a copy.

Tired of the limited fonts available for your Slides Presentation? Check out these instructions for adding more.

And, if you are feeling very enterprising and graphic-designy and would like to make your own template, Alice Keeler has step-by-step instructions for doing just that.