Beyond the Slideshow: Unleashing Student Creativity With Google Slides

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Eric Curts  
Google Slides is more than just a tool for traditional presentations. Learn how students can be truly creative with Google Slides for "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style stories, interactive quizzes, online comic strips, digital storybooks, video mashups, peer feedback, stop-motion animation, drag-and-drop manipulatives, formative assessment and more.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees will need to have a Google account (personal or G Suite for Education) and a Windows laptop, Mac laptop, or Chromebook to fully participate in the session.
Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Google Slides is a common tool in the classroom, but if often used for only the common purpose of traditional presentations. However, Google Slides can be a powerful tool for student creativity and communication. The purpose of this session is to show how students of all ages can use Google Slides for digital storytelling and other creative projects.

Details and examples of these use can be accessed at:

In this session we will explore the uses listed below.
Google Slides for creating online comic strips
Google Slides for creating digital storybooks
Non-linear Google Slideshows for creating “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories
Non-linear Google Slideshows for creating interactive games and quizzes
Google Slides for creating stop-motion animation
Video mashups with Google Slides
Using collaborative Google Slides for students to give and receive peer feedback on their writing
Using Google Slides for drag-and-drop activities, especially useful for younger students
Making slideshow interactive and engaging with the free Pear Deck add-on for Slides

Attendees will learn:
How to use the tools and features in Google Slides to create online digital stories, comic strips, and more.
How to use advanced linking features in Slides to create non-linear slideshows for interactive stories, quizzes, and learning games.
Multiple options for how student creations can be shared online with a broader, authentic audience


The session will cover the following information. Note: live links to the resources referenced below can be accessed at

1) Benefits (5 minutes)
The educational benefits of using Google Slides for digital storytelling and other creative works

2) Slides for Manipulatives (15 minutes)
We will test out several examples slideshows where students can drag and drop and copy and paste items from one slide to another to make creations, solve problems, tell a story, and more. The focus will be on how Slides can be used as a learning tool, and not just a presentation tool.

3) Linear Slideshows (20 minutes)
Tools, features, and best practices for using Google Slides for linear digital storytelling and communicating concept. This will include comic strips, stories, stop-motion animation, and video mash-ups. Several finished examples will be shared for participants to explore. The participants will also be guided through creating their own sample slideshow story.

4) Non-linear slideshows (20 minutes)
Tools, features, and best practices for using Google Slides for non-linear digital storytelling and activities such as “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories and interactive multimedia quizzes. Several finished examples will be shared for participants to explore. The participants will also be guided through creating their own sample interactive slideshow.

5) Collaborative Feedback slideshows (15 minutes)
We will explore how a collaborative slideshow can be used for students to write on their own slide, and then leave comments on other slides to give peer feedback on the writing of other students. We will practice this as a group to see how the process works.

6) Interactive slideshows (15 minutes)
We will explore how traditional slideshows can be upgraded with the free Pear Deck add-on. This allows students to interactively participate in a class presentation, making sure all students are engaged, able to share their input, and provide formative feedback.

Throughout the session, participants will be encouraged to test out the wide variety of sample slideshows, as well as create their own slideshows using the techniques demonstrated.

Supporting research

Google Slides provides students with an engaging, creative alternative to expressing themselves through traditional writing. The benefits of using technology for digital storytelling are well documented by research. Many of these benefits are documented in the article “Research Supporting Digital Storytelling” at

Several key benefits include:
Multiliteracy skills
Collaboration with other students
Exploring the influence of media
Development of pre-writing and storyboarding skills
Developing interdisciplinary connections
Recognition of skills in art, media production, storytelling, and project development
Engaging reluctant readers
Improving reading comprehension
Improving motivation

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Eric Curts, Stark Portage Area Computer Consortium

Eric Curts is a veteran educator who started his career as a math teacher in Ohio. After teaching middle school math for seven years, Curts became a technology integration specialist in North Canton Schools where he supported teachers in integrating technology into teaching and learning, and oversaw the district’s technology initiatives. He’s currently the technology integration specialist for the Stark Portage Area Computer Consortium (SPARCC) and the Stark County Educational Service Center where he supports teachers and all schools in the consortium through tech implementation guidance and training, and assistance with G Suite for Education tools, as well as online learning programs and other technology initiatives. He also oversees and manages the annual SPARCC Educational Technology Conference that draws educators from throughout the state. Curts is a G Suite Certified Trainer and Innovator, and co-leader for GEG-Ohio, the Google Educator Group of Ohio. He shares tech resources, including training videos, help guides and podcasts, on “Control Alt Achieve,” his award-winning blog. For over two decades, he’s traveled the U.S. to provide training, keynotes and consulting.

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