Google recently released an impressive new Q & A feature to Google Slides. It allows audience members to pose questions and vote on responses all while the presentation is happening. This backchannel will no doubt be of great assistance to presenters and to audience members eager to pose and have their questions addressed.
Check out Sharee Bose (17-year-old winner of Google Science Fair) demonstrating how it works.
I’ve had two opportunities to play with this feature and have seen how valuable it can be. To be honest, the first session was more of a case of wanting to try it out once I had heard about it and resulted in a mild disaster… Introducing a new tool on the last period of a Friday was challenging and led to some digital tomfoolery on the students’ part. I still managed to get some valuable data from them; I’ll take that as a #eduwin!
During this almost impromptu Slides presentation, I realised that the beauty of it is that it doesn’t have to be solely questions from the audience that you collate. What about asking them questions and generating some quality responses that you can discuss as a class? When I asked my Year Nine English class to submit a quote that demonstrates that Romeo was fickle, they kinda lost their minds. Once they realised we could break the rules and put answers in the ‘ask a question’ box they were all good. (Friday afternoon I told you!) Anyway, this feature made their thinking visible and allowed them to interact with one another’s responses by evaluating it: giving it the thumbs up or thumbs down. Some of my students chose to use this as an opportunity to ‘thumbs down’ many responses, reiterating the importance of discussing/modeling strong digital citizenship practices.
So today’s class was more prepared and I chose to use it for its intended purpose. I asked students to submit questions they had over the course of our introductory lesson on World War One. I also was interested in topics within the war that they wanted to study. In this case, there were no thumbs down and much of the class chose to participate.
In terms of functionality, the Q/A feature is really easy to operate. It can be found as an option when clicking the regular present button in Slides then clicking on ‘presenter view’ or alternatively, selecting it (presenter view) from the drop down arrow next to ‘present.’ Your students will then use the unique web page link that’s been generated at the top of your slide to begin to submit questions.
Some Brief Questions/Thoughts
- Within the school setting, the option to post anonymously deserves some consideration. While it allows self-conscious learners to post questions without fear, it also allows students the ability to post inappropriate comments with their identity hidden. Again, having conversations around and instilling digital citizenship values within your learners is important. Here are some resources from Edutopia to get you started.
- As is the case with Forms, would it be possible to automatically collate students’ usernames within a GAFE domain?
- A shift to submitting answers rather than just questions.
- I’m interested to see how this will look/feel during student-led presentations. What impact will it have ?