Tag Archives: presentation

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.

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How the Audience Looks When I Can’t Find My Remote (image from sergesegal on Flickr)
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TED Ed Club Video Guides

TED Ed Clubs are one way to encourage students to speak about their passions.  In a recent e-mail from TED Ed that was chock full of resources, there was a reference to some video guides that are posted on YouTube to help speakers refine their presentations.  You don’t need to be in a TED Ed Club to access these videos, and they give some great advice on the different parts of a great presentation.

Kudos to Timmy Sullivan, the student who speaks so eloquently in each video.  I definitely think these would be great to show students who are making any kind of formal presentation – including Genius Hour reports.

Click here to go to the Video Guides.
Click here to go to the Video Guides.

Sway

My days spent at #TCEA16 last week were motivating and extremely inspiring.  This week, I would like to select a few highlights to share with you.  Today’s post is about Sway, a presentation tool.

Sway is a tool from Microsoft that some might call PowerPoint on Steroids.  Sway is free, but you will need an Office or Microsoft account to use it on your Windows 10 computer, iPhone, or iPad.  It does not appear to be available on Android or Mac.

The presentation I saw about Sway at TCEA was called, “Walk This Sway,” which you can find here.  One of the unique things that sets this slide show maker apart from others is that it allows you to create a horizontal or vertical show.  Shana Ellason, who spoke about Sway, provided this example of a horizontal presentation. According to her, Sway provides a lot of content that makes it easy to use to create interactive multimedia presentations.  It also allows for easy collaboration.

We tend to use slide shows more as collection tools than presentation tools in my classroom, but I can see how the novelty and unique features of Sway could be used to add “pizzazz” to a student’s research report.  If you’re tired of Prezi, Glogster, Powerpoint, and Google Slides, you might want to try Sway instead.

Microsoft Sway

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.

Adobe Voice

Screen shot from the Adobe Voice presentation of a group in my 5th grade GT class.
Screen shot from the Adobe Voice presentation of a group in my 5th grade GT class.  Inspired by this quote.

A couple of weeks ago, Adobe released a new iPad app called, “Adobe Voice.”  It reminds me a bit of Microsoft’s Photo Story – a free piece of software that allows you to create a video out of images.  Like Photo Story, Adobe Voice allows you to add photos, text, narration, and music.  However, it does give more options for where you can find your photos.  You can do a Creative Commons search, use your own, or even choose from a library of icons that is provided. I imagine the Creative Commons search is where the 12+ rating comes from on the iTunes store.  However, my students didn’t run into any inappropriate images during their projects.

The first group to use Adobe Voice in my classroom was a pair of my 3rd grade GT students.  They were trying to synthesize one of the ideas they had brainstormed for solving the problems of noise and mess in the cafeteria.  After consulting with a couple of “expert” principals, they realized that we were lacking some student leadership in the lunch room, and created this presentation to pitch a proposal to our principal for having student monitors during meal times.

They were under a time constraint, so they did not delve into many of the creative features of the app, but they got their message through quickly and effectively.

Last Thursday, I met with my 5th grade GT students for the final time.  Because they have been with me once a week for two years, I wanted to get a sense from them of what they felt was the one “takeaway” they got from being in my classroom.  (In Kaplan language, this is called the “Big Idea.”)  I gave them full freedom to cull through my Pinterest Board of Favorite Quotations. I asked them to choose one that they thought exemplified the message I wanted them to carry with them for the rest of their lives.  Then they were asked to create an Adobe Voice presentation built around that message, giving examples to support it.  Here are a couple of their videos (unfortunately, embed codes for Adobe Voice do not work on this WordPress blog):

“Make” – The students used pictures: from their Genius Hour presentations, of their Character Trait Floor Plans, of MaKeyMaKey, a project from our Global Cardboard Challenge, a drawing from our Squiggle Challenge, and of Cubelets.

Change the World” – This one came from the pair of students who created the Lego Stop Motion film and scavenger hunt/quiz for Genius Hour.

You can view all of the presentations on our class blog post.  I loved the variety, and the multitude of perspectives.

A couple of things you should note if you are using Adobe Voice:

  • You will need an Adobe (or Facebook) account to login in order to upload your videos.
  • You can share the videos through e-mail and social networks, but there does not appear to be a way to download the video to your camera roll or to export the file.
  • In order to embed the video in a blog post, you will need to access it online once it is uploaded, and then get the embed code (also, the free WordPress hosted sites will not work with the embed code).
  • Check to see if the image search is blocked by your district filter.  If so, students will need to have images ready on their camera roll or to be able to take pictures while creating.

Here are a couple of other online articles about Adobe Voice: from CNet,  from EBHS Professional Learning.

Some Genius Tweaks to our Genius Hour

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(If you are unfamiliar with Genius Hour, be sure to visit my Genius Hour Resources Page.)

One of my many goals for rebooting Genius Hour this year was to help the students to create more engaging presentations.  Their passion just wasn’t coming through when it came time for them to share it with their peers.  It intrigued me how, during a reflective discussion about a presentation, many students would suggest making it more interactive or entertaining.  But a few weeks later, when it became their turn to share their own learning, their presentations would follow the same already-determined-to-be-unexciting formula.

This school year, I was determined to change this.  I believe that it was because of some of the change that I made that last week, I was rewarded with some of the best Genius Hour presentations I’ve seen since I started doing GH several years ago.

Change 1: My 4th grade GT students, who had never done Genius Hour before, created proposals for their projects – and then the class voted on them.  I was a little hesitant to try this idea at first, but pleased with the results.  Several proposals were voted down the first time based on the criteria we came up with (will the researcher learn anything new? will the class learn anything new from the presentation? will the class be able to use this new information in a practical way? is it interesting?)  Then the students went back to the drawing board and came up with better ideas, which were approved.  No feelings were visibly hurt, and the topics that seemed weak to me were also the same ones that didn’t receive enough votes from the class.

Change 2: To give my students ideas for alternative methods for presenting, I pointed out that I pretty much never use Powerpoint to give them new information – nor do I talk at them for 20 minutes or longer spouting facts.  Then, I gave them the Show What You Know paper to spark some new ideas for sharing their learning.  When they realized there were so many other options, suddenly Powerpoint lost its popularity.

Change 3: I gave them some tips from the SlideShare presentation, “What Would Steve Do?”  (“Steve” is Steve Jobs.) Specifically, I told them to work more on creating a visual story than on a slide show with bullet points.  And – now this is the big one – I emphasized the importance of rehearsing.  After looking at the SlideShare myself, I realized that this was a major weak spot in my classroom.  Students would spend several days on research, several days on creating the presentation, then – boom! – they would inform me they were ready for an audience.  “From now on, we are giving equal time to all three,” I told the students.  “As much time as you spend on research, you will spend on production and then on rehearsal.”

The first 2 groups were ready to present last week – and, wow!  They blew me away with their creativity and polished performances.

Group 1 presented on “How to Take Better Pictures.”  They first shared a poster with information using examples of pictures and a timeline about the history of the camera.  Then they involved the audience by having a game show to review what they had learned from the poster. They performed like real game show hosts, and used an iPad with the Game Show Sound Board app to make it sound realistic.  They had a name for the show (3,2,1 Snap!), a catchy intro, and even a commercial and poster advertising their show!

Group 2 presented what they had learned about Mars.  They did a well-scripted, well-rehearsed play that involved scenery and props, included a salt-dough representation of Mars, and invited the class to fill out a Venn Diagram comparing it to Earth!

After the two groups were finished, we reflected on both presentations as a class, and the students took notes on what they thought did or did not work.  I told them that I would hold them accountable for those notes.  Whatever they felt needed work in the first two presentations, they needed to be sure to improve in their own.

This was the first time that I saw the entire class engaged in someone else’s projects.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

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Haiku Deck

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figurative language slide created with Haiku Deck, quote from Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt

Many of you are probably familiar with the iPad app, Haiku Deck (options for editing on the web are coming soon).  It can be used to create presentations (similar to Powerpoint, but more graphically appealing, in my opinion), and is very user-friendly.

One of the things that I like about Haiku Deck is that it does not allow you to add huge blocks of text to your slides.  This is good because too much text makes for a very boring presentation. (Take a look at “What Would Steve Do”, #3 as supporting evidence for this.)  I also like the ease with which you can find images to punctuate your text.

My 4th graders are reading Tuck Everlasting, and discussing the figurative language in the book.  Usually, when I first introduce figurative language, I ask them to find examples for each type (simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and personification), and share with the class to show their understanding so I can quickly gauge if there is a need for more instruction.

Yesterday, I thought, “Why don’t I let them type their examples in Haiku Deck?  Then they can learn the app, and show what they know about figurative language at the same time.”  And, yes, I was in the middle of the lesson when I thought of that.  To be honest, I’ve done the lesson for so many years, I was boring myself – which does not usually bode well for keeping the student’s attention.

In 5 minutes, I was able to show the students how to create a slide, add text, select an image, and share the product.  Once all of the products were in, we played a quick game to identify the type of figurative language as I showed each example on the big screen.

While they were working with their partners, I heard one student say, “I love doing this!”

I love that they were engaged and learning, and all it cost me was about 10 minutes more than the previous times I’ve taught that lesson. Now, they have a new digital tool in their belt that they can choose from when they write their own examples of figurative language.

slide created with Haiku Deck
slide created with Haiku Deck, quote from Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt