Creating mini-lessons using Google Slides in 6 easy steps

Google Slides is one of my everyday go-to tools in Google Apps for Education (GAfE) and Create interactive mini lessons using Google Slides Google Drive. It is so versatile and easy to use. As an educator, it makes it easy to put together and distribute information and content. It is also a great app for students to show evidence of learning or to curate a portfolio.

One way to use Google Slides is to create mini-lessons that students can go through at their own pace. They are also useful in ‘flipped classrooms’ and other blended learning approaches.

Mini-lessons are presentations that contain content that students need to know and include some sort of navigation, like a menu, and, ideally, some sort of activity, like a quiz, for students to complete to check for understanding.

Below is a sample mini-lesson designed for illustrative purposes and below that are the 6 easy steps to creating your very own mini-lesson as well as a video tutorial. The content in this mini-lesson has been copied from Wikipedia (not recommended!)

6 Easy steps to create a mini-lesson

1. Create your Google Slides presentation

Login to Google Drive and create a new Google Slides presentation.

2. Write your content

Don’t forget to leave a menu slide so you can go back and create your menu links when you have completed your content.

As well as text, you can include images, videos and links to external content.

As this is intended as a mini-lesson designed to be consumed by an individual rather than a presentation, you can include a lot more text than you normally would in a presentation but be careful about making it look too crowded.

3. Create your menu

Once you have completed your content, go back to your blank menu page and add buttons for links to the different topics in your mini-lesson.

To make your buttons clickable go to:

Insert > Link… > Slides in this presentation > Select the slide to link to

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

4. Add your “return to menu” button

Create your return to menu button using shapes or inserting an image into one of your content slides. Insert the link to your menu slide:

Insert > Link… > Slides in this presentation > Select the slide to link to

Copy your button to the other content slides

Note: ideally, you would add the return to menu button in the slide layout in slide master view. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, when you view the presentation normally, the link is not clickable.

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

5. (optional) Add a link to the student activity

For example, this could be a link to a quiz created in a Google Form.

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

6. Distribute your mini-lesson

Test your mini-lesson first to make sure all the links are doing the right thing.

There are different ways you can distribute your mini-lesson. These include:

  • Use the “Share” option to email a link recipients
  • Use the “Publish to the web” options to embed the presentation in, for example, a blog or Google Site

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

Video tutorial: Creating interactive mini-lessons in Google Slides

 

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More Google Apps magic on more platforms

As the Google Drive and Google Apps for Education (GAfE) suites have matured, so have the available compatible apps across mobile platforms. This means you can do more on-the-go and using whatever device available than ever before. It also puts the power of GAfE in the hands of more people as they can be accessed on devices across many price points. And, of course, the More Google Apps magic on more platformsapps are free.

It is important to note that not all ‘smart’ devices can access Google Apps effectively – read the post Does Google Apps for Education play nice with BYOD? for more on this. It also has ideas on how to breathe new life into old technology.

Also, the mobile apps tend not to have all the features of the browser based versions; this can be an advantage. Fewer features can sometimes mean greater productivity, particularly for people distracted by ‘bells and whistles’ like hundreds of fonts (yep, that’s me!). You can potentially use the desktop versions through the Chrome mobile browser but I have personally found this to be a frustrating experience.

Sometimes, the mobile versions liberate you to do things that are difficult on a desktop or laptop. Have a look at the post Create a comic in 3 minutes or less with Google Slides (with bonus puppies!) for one idea using Slides on an iPad.

Below is a quick reference table for many Google Apps across devices. It has already changed from when I first put it together as the mobile apps have improved. Some of the mobile apps are closer to their browser based counterparts than others. You will need to do more research to find out specifically what won’t work on the mobile apps. (I tried to find the definitive Google list but I was unable to).

The great thing is most apps retain their collaborative and commenting ability.

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Picture books made easy with Google Slides

Who doesn’t love a picture book?

Growing up, the range of story books my generation had available to us was limited compared to today. Amongst my favourites as a child were Where the Wild Things Are and The Rainbow Serpent. Oh, and of course, there were the amazing Dr Seuss books.

One of my favourites from my son’s younger years is Stanley Paste. I love the illustrations and the story always makes me cry!

Of course, the range these days is immense and so diverse. I love this list of the best picture books of 2013. Some of them look amazing.

And, these days, we have so many options to create our own story books. And not only that, we can even publish them, digitally or on paper. Picture books are a great way to encourage students of all ages to express themselves and to collaborate. Personalised story books are potentially a great way to encourage reluctant writers and readers.

As a GAfE user, I decided to create a picture book template using Google Slides and made it available on the Google Drive template gallery. The dimensions are industry standard 8×11 size. The template comes with instructions but…. stories don’t need to come with rules!

Research story book design, experiment with fonts, colours, backgrounds. Try clip art, photos, drawings (both digital and hand drawn). Just jump in and create!

Below is a preview of the template. To find it, click on the link below:

https://drive.google.com/templates?q=picture+book&type=presentations&sort=hottest&view=public

Like the template? I’d love to hear how you put it into action. Use the comments below or contact me using the link to the right.

Story Book Template Preview; click to find on Google Drive template page.

A preview of the picture book template created using Google Slides.

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Which Google app works where?

A lot of us have discovered the awesomeness that is Google Apps. As the Googleverse evolves, more and more options are becoming available across different devicWhich device works with which Google App?es and operating systems. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to keep track of what you can do with which device.

This can be especially tricky when trying to manage a Google Apps for Education domain in a BYOD (bring your own device) environment. Which operating systems work best? And which are best avoided?

To help unravel the functionality and compatibility puzzle, I have put together a simple document. It shows the equivalent Microsoft Office applications and a grid showing the functionality across operating systems.

Click here to see the Google Apps Compatibility Across Operating Systems document.

I have been fortunate enough to have tried almost all the platforms and apps, excluding Mac OS. I would have to say the least Google friendly is Windows mobile/RT. I don’t know if that’s just my experience or consistent for everyone.

Recently I revitalised some old Windows laptops by replacing the OS with Linux Mint. What a pleasure Google Drive is to use in the Chrome browser! I highly recommend a Linux Mint install for old, tired Windows hardware.

Do you disagree with any of the information in my compatibility document? Then click on the ‘contact me’ link to the right of this post to let me know or post in the comments below (after all, Google is all about collaboration, right?)

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Google Apps Tutorial: How to use slide master in Google Presentation

I’m a big fan of Microsoft PowerPoint. It has so many powerful features making it far more than the tool for mass boredom that it is usually (ab)used for. To be honest, Google Presentation is very basic in comparison. The great thing is, like many other Google tools, it is constantly evolving and improving.

In this tutorial, I show you how to use one of the most recently added features, slide masters, to quickly and easily liven up your Google Presentation.

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