Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Make Presentations Interactive with Google Slides Q & A

Innovative educators are always looking for new ways to make their presentations interactive so their audience is involved. They use tools like PollEverywhere and techniques like peer instruction. You can read about those ideas and more here: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2014/08/5-ideas-to-make-lectures-and.html. 

Now Google has released a tool that will make being a presenter and an audience member more fun, engaging, and meaningful.  The tool is called "Slides Q & A." It allows your audience to submit questions and empowers other audience members to vote those questions up or down.  

Here's what that looks like:

Innovative educators who are frequent presenters, and their audiences, will LOVE this tool because of all the problems it solves and options it provides. Let's take a look.

  • Get insight into what your audience cares about
    When an audience member asks a question, other audience members vote questions up or down. Presenters can sort questions by popularity focusing on those issues that are of concern to the majority of participants.  
  • No more run on questions
    We've all been at presentations where an audience member raises their hand and rather than asking a question they blather on, frustrating the audience and never getting to the point or the question. This ceases to be a problem for two reasons.  One is that there is a 300 character limit. The other is that since the presenter sees the questions in advance, they can skip those that tend to go nowhere
  • Include more voicesTypically we only hear questions from audience members brave enough to ask. Slides Q & A removes the element of fear and empowers even the most introverted member of an audience or class to ask their question.  
  • No more dumb questionsI know. I know. We like to say there are no dumb questions, except sometimes there are. Save the question asker embarrassment and save the audience frustration by ignoring dumb questions. 
While typical Q + A is what users will initially focus on, the tool can be used in other ways as well.  For example, The presenter can pre-populate the presentation. They might include questions, options for the audience, or checks for understanding.  

Here are some ways each can be used in a presentation.
  • Questions
    You've given this presentation before and you know what questions generally come up. Pre-populate the presentation and let your audience let you know which ones they want answers to. 
  • Audience choice
    Make your presentation choose your own adventure. Perhaps you are sharing tools to strengthen the home-school connection. There are many to focus on, but you don't have to choose for your audience. Let them vote on what they are most interested in. Start with the most popular and work your way through the others based on audience interest.
  • Check for understandingYou know what you are teaching and where students may get confused. Pre-populate your presentation with questions that enable students to indicate what they still don't understand or need help with. You can break the class up for small group or individualized instruction based on their targeted needs.  
If all these cool options weren't enough, Slides added another cool feature. A new laser pointer.  

So what do you think? Are you excited about these new possibilities? Are there some you have thought of that I haven't? If you do, please share in the comments.  

And, now that you're excited about all the things you can do with the new Slides Q& A I bet you want to know how to get started. For that check out Alice Keeler post which you can access here http://alicekeeler.com/2016/05/05/google_slides_questions. 
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