Presentations are an effective way to present an idea in many contexts, whether it be at a business meeting, in a classroom to your students, or as a student, presenting the knowledge that you have learned to your classmates and professor. When I attended public school the purchase of a USB memory stick or e-mailing your presentation so that it could be opened at the new site was necessary so that it could be presented in class. The first option was expensive and easy to lose and leave behind. The second was unreliable, because if the computer at the site did not have the same version of PowerPoint than the one you made it on, the formatting would not transfer and data could be lost.
As mentioned, presentations are often used by students to convey their knowledge to the class and their professor. Often times, presentations are used by students when they are assigned a group project. While collaboration is promoted in education, finding a time when all members of a group are free to work on a presentation is difficult–nevermind transportation to a location, choosing a proper location, and multiple people having to work off of one computer at once.
Luckily, Google developed a series of programs, housed in Google Drive, that can be created online, and accessed from anywhere—both computers simply need the ability to access the Internet. Additionally, these programs can be edited by multiple users, at multiple locations, at the same time–allowing students to truly be collaborative team members with ease. Further, Google Drive features a live chat in which all team members may speak about their project–they are able to communicate just as quickly as if they were face-to-face.
In the Lynda.com course entitled Google Drive Essential Training, chapter 5 goes over Working with Presentations. It includes a total of 8 videos, spanning 28 minutes and 32 seconds, going over everything from creating and formatting your presentation to adding images and publishing and sharing your creation. However, videos 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8 alone seem to cover the basics of the program.
In the first video, Creating a Presentation and Adding Text, the narrator clearly describes how to get the presentation started, work with text, and create new slides. The video shows how you can choose from a series of templates or simply start with a blank slide. It explains how you can type text in existing text boxes as well as add more text boxes, and how preformatted or blank slides may be added to expand the presentation.
In the video Formatting Text and Changing Layouts, the audience is given an insight into the many ways the appearance of text can be changed in order to make it more appropriate for your presentation. The color, size, font, and alignment of text can all be changed simply by highlighting it and pressing the appropriate button. Additionally, text can be put into boldface, italics, can be underlined, can be given a background color, and can be put into lists by following the same steps.
In the fifth video, Changing backgrounds and adding objects, it is explained how each slide can be made more visually appealing. By right clicking on the slide and choosing “background,” the screen behind the font can be changed to a solid color, or an image from the Internet, your hard drive, or your Google drive. Additionally, directions on how to insert objects, such as shapes, equations, arrows, and callouts, into a slide are provided, as well as how to adjust their sizes.
In the video Adding and formatting images, the narrator guides you on how to take an image from the Internet, from your hard drive, or from your Google drive, and place it on a slide. Additionally, information is offered on how to adjust the size of the images once they are on the slides, as well as how to change the order of images, if there are multiple featured on a screen, so that all important elements can be made visible.
In the final video, Publishing to the web and exporting the presentation, the process of sharing the presentation with classmates, colleagues, friends, or whomever else you wish is explained. The presentation may either be downloaded as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, as a PDF, or as a graphic file (a JPEG, a PNG, or an SVG) so that it can be sent in a message to others. Or, it can simply be published to the web, allowing anyone who has the URL to it to view it as a read-only version, but still allowing you to edit it. Or, if you want to open it on your own so that you may present your work, the presentation is always automatically saved into your Google Drive. For example, below is a presentation, created on Google Drive, that is embedded. To do so, I went to the “File” menu, and chose for my presentation to be published to the web, and then I copied the embed code and pasted it on this post. Presentations may also be made accessible via the Internet by sharing the link. When choosing to share a presentation, the creator is given the option whether to allow others to be able to edit the work, or simply view it as a read-only version.
If you have ever used Microsoft PowerPoint before, you will come to see that many of the features are the same, or at least very similar—making it especially easy for computer literate individuals to start using the program. And for those who are new to using computers, Lynda.com is a great resource for not only learning about the programs featured in Google Drive but also all sorts of computer functions. Google Presentations is made to easier for new users since hovering the mouse over a certain button almost always causes a description to pop up about what the given button does when clicked. If you have any questions about Google Presentations that are not answered in this post, or want to stay up to date on any updates to the program, Google Slides Help Articles is a fantastic resource to refer to.
Please take the time to comment on this post and share your thoughts on Google Presentations. Have you ever used it before? If so, did you find it more convenient than using the Microsoft version? Have you used it to collaborate with others? If you have not used Google Presentations before, do you think you will start? In what contexts have/will you use this?