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Beyond the Slideshow: Unleashing Student Creativity With Google Slides

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Franklin 11/12/13

Explore and create: Deep-dive Creation lab
Preregistration Required
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Technology Integration Specialist
Stark Portage Area Computer Consortium
Eric Curts is a veteran educator who currently serves as a Technology Integration Specialist for the Stark County Educational Service Center in Ohio where he oversees Google for Education implementation, training, and support, as well as other technology integration initiatives. Eric is an authorized Google for Education Trainer and Innovator, and provides training to schools, organizations, and conferences across the country. Eric runs the award-winning blog where all of his edtech resources can be found, and is the author of the book "Control Alt Achieve: Rebooting Your Classroom with Creative Google Projects".

Session description

Google Slides is much more than just a tool for traditional presentations. Learn how students can be creative with Google Slides for choose-your-own-adventure style stories, interactive quizzes, online comic strips, digital storybooks, peer feedback, stop-motion animation, drag-and-drop manipulatives, formative assessment, soundboards and more.

Purpose & objective

Google Slides is a common tool in the classroom, but is 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 creative projects, and educators can create engaging learning opportunities.

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
Non-linear Google Slideshows for student choice activities
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
Creating digital soundboards with Slides

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

1) Slides for Manipulatives (15 minutes)
We will test out several example 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.

2) Linear Slideshows (15 minutes)
Tools, features, and best practices for using Google Slides for linear digital storytelling and communicating concepts. 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.

3) Non-linear slideshows (15 minutes)
Tools, features, and best practices for using Google Slides for non-linear digital storytelling and activities such as “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories, interactive multimedia quizzes, and student choice boards. Several finished examples will be shared for participants to explore. The participants will also be guided through creating their own sample interactive slideshow.

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) Audio Activities (15 minutes)
We will explore how audio can be added to Google Slides, including recorded voices, sounds, and music. This can be used to provide accommodation support, for audio-based activities (such as language activities), and digital sound boards for class transitions, games, and adding multimedia elements to live stories and content.

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.

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Supporting research

Google Slides is often cited as a powerful tool for creative teaching and learning by many of the leading educational technology experts. Some examples of edtech leaders and their relevant books would include:
Matt Miller - "Ditch That Textbook"
Jake Miller - "Educational Duct Tape"
Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith - "The Google Infused Classroom"
Bethany Petty - "Illuminate"

In addition, several of the activities and approaches demonstrated in my session are listed as positive influences on student achievement in James Hattie's "Visible Learning" study including:
Creativity programs
Reciprocal teaching
Deliberate practice
Providing formative evaluation
Writing programs
Technology in writing

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Session specifications

Creativity & curation tools
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
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 Google Workspace for Education) and a Windows laptop, Mac laptop, or Chromebook to fully participate in the session.
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.