Google Slideshows and Videos

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For the average web-surfer, hitting an unexpected slideshow on a website is usually considered unpleasant.  Savvy opinionated web-designers and developers say people do not want to have to click multiple times to access content on a page, and also object to auto-progressing slides that distract them from whatever they came for.  Some of the arguments seem obviously true, and are made more pointed when the automated slideshow advances too slowly or too quickly.  Particularly from a "search marketing" perspective slideshows are not helpful.  Research supports these claims- but as a generalization.

Sometimes slideshows (also known as "carousels" or "sliders" or "decks") are expected and desired by users, particular when multimodal learning rather than text reading is required, or when the initial attention for a page is "scanning" or "viewing" rather than "reading".  Young people spend much more time viewing video than older folks, and their capacity for focus is still developing.  Providing information in a slideshow can help students engage with material. The one thing we can apply from the slideshow-detractors above is that content placed BELOW a slideshow will probably be missed ... it is a different level of attention.  An argument can be made that slideshows should end with links to read more, so that viewers expect to have to read and prepare for it.

Google Slides are a particularly useful tool when embedded in your class website, because of how easily they support the things you want to do as a teacher. 


Here are some other advantages of slideshows over word documents, web pages, or PDFs when presenting online material (adapted from marketing with slideshows)

  • They are easily edited and revised. Changes require nothing more than a revision of the original PowerPoint file - no need to change the web page or re-print the PDF or upload something new.
  • They can embed active links which send viewers to specific pages or multimedia resources on the web.
  • A single slideshow can be used in many ways: on a webpage, displayed in class, or with narration added for videos.  Individual slides can be extracted as images.
  • Slideshows are quick and easy to build.
  • Unlike a video, which users have to watch at the pace of narration, slideshows can be scanned at a student's pace.
  • Google Slides can be collaboratively developed, with commenting (like GoogleDocs) to indicate issues or to-dos.
  • Google Slides can be developed on all platforms - no problems when converting from Mac or Windows, Android or iPad, Linux or Tablets.


Here is some advice for making slideshows.  There is much more detailed advice in the Use Guides below.  Easy to say, hard to do sometimes!

  1. Keep it short. If people cannot read through your presentation in three minutes or less, you're going to have a high abandonment rate. If your topic is too complex to be abbreviated this much, break it down into smaller sub-topics and devote a slideshow to each one.
  2. Use larger fonts. Remember that your presentation will be shown in a significantly reduced size when it's embedded on a web site. Any font smaller than 18 points is not likely to be legible.
  3. Economize on words. Because your fonts are so large, you don't have a lot of space for your content. Your goal is to have the message on each slide short enough that the viewer can absorb the slide's meaning in little more than a glance.
  4. Do not embed links in your first three slides. You normally want to withhold any links until the very end of your presentation. You don't want someone clicking on a link halfway through your presentation so that they leave your slideshow without finishing it.

Disadvantages of Google Presentations

  • No way to put in automatic page numbers.  Don't waste time looking!  Of course, that could change.
  • You can’t highlight everything in a slide (CTRL-A) and then change the font color for everything at once.  Select text boxes one-at-a-time, while holding CTRL, to be able to batch-mode change their font-color. 

What's Below

The videos above left talk about ways to use Google Slides in classrooms.  They are optional, but worth watching.  The examples below show three learning modes:

  1. Basic, well designed slide show to convey ideas (by Google)
  2. Slideshow designed for deeper learning with consistent layouts and links to videos (by Bram & Jane)
  3. Slideshow designed for interactive learning, with exercises to help attain concepts (by Bram).

You'll have an opportunity to try out one of these modes in the Apply section, and also get help getting control of Google Slides.

Apply Activities: 

After reading the LEARN Tab, you should:

  1. Understand the benefits of slideshows, when designed and used properly, versus Video or Web Pages.
  2. Know some of the benefits of Google Slides.
  3. Know some tips for making effective slideshows.
  4. Have some ideas for using slideshows in the classroom.

For your APPLY task, FIRST, you will develop an effective Google Slide presentation using available features choosing one of 3 Tryout Choices below.

SECOND, you will ALSO do a blog post, and embed your slideshow or video in the reflection blog post.  That's easy - just click the INSERT menu item when you are adding the post, and choose from Google Drive (choose Presentation) or chose YouTube.

Tool Tryout: 

Option 1:  Redesign a text slideshow, adding illustrations.

  1. View an example of a simple slideshow about Illustration Types (by Bram):
  2. View an example of a much better slideshow (by Google):
  3. Choose one of the two starters, make a copy (File / Make a Copy), and create a version with illustrations, fonts and layout that conveys the ideas more effectively, as Google's example did:
    1. Slideshow 1:
    2. Slideshow 2:
  4. Proceed to Reflect - Required Blog Post.
Teach Tryout: 

Option 2: Create a Concept Attainment Slideshow 

A concept attainment slideshow is not only a presentation (as in the examples in Activity 1) but also includes "categorization" exercises and perhaps a self-test applying these categories to real life. Make one for your internship class.  It can be as simple as six slides (presentation, first question, right answer, second question, right answer, summary).

  1. Read about Concept Attainment. Optionally, view a Prezi about Concept Attainment (go Full Screen).
  2. Explore a model Concept Attainment Slideshow on Customer Service vs. Professionalism (by Bram):
  3. Pick one small concept, for your internship, with two or more categories (e.g. reptiles or amphibians? democracy or dictatorship? noun or verb?)
  4. Create a slideshow from scratch that presents, then gives a sorting / categorization exercise, and maybe also a self-test.
  5. Proceed to Reflect - Required Blog Post.


Advanced Tryout: 

Option 3: Make a Narrated Slideshow Video

Although Powerpoint allows narrations to be added to individual slides, Google Slides require external audio management and production as a video.  For this activity,  create a Webquest or ePortfolio Introduction using a slideshow.

  1. View this example slideshow | video pair to see how animations (displaying one bullet at a time) support narration.
  2. Create a simple slideshow (5 slides max) about your webquest (if you are making one) or about one of your teaching units (for your ePortfolio).
    • Keep slides VERY SIMPLE (few words, great images) but animate your bullets.
    • Add the things you will want to say in the comment box below each slide.
  3. Choose a Screencasting Tool.
  4. Record your narrated screencast (view slides in Present mode so animations work.)
  5. Publish your video to YouTube (both programs do this). Use the YouTube link in your blog post.
Reflect (Required): 

Post To Blog

  1. Using your personal ePortfolio Blog, write a few sentences about your impressions and experiences with this tool or technique.
  2. Embed the slideshow or video in your blog post. If a slideshow, decide whether to advance it automatically, how large to make it.
  3. Submit a link to your Blog Post as the assignment.
  4. Cross-post the link to the class website, and ask other students to visit and comment.
More Resources: 



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