Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Creating Dynamic Interactive Student Work Spaces in Google Slides

I use Digital Interactive Notebooks (or DINs) in my ELA classroom.  In this blog post, I am going to share one of my secrets for creating dynamic interactive student workspaces in Google Slides.

I want you to see your Google Slide as a blank canvas.  Ask yourself, "What do I want my students to do on this slide?"  If you can imagine it, you can make it!

But after you have created your amazing student workspace, how can you keep your students from moving parts of or deleting your masterpiece?  Trust me, they will!

Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, but one of the best tricks for creating your own dynamic interactive student workspaces involves altering the background in Google slides.

When studying fiction, I created an interactive Plot Diagram for students to analyze the parts of a short story we were reading.  After spending time creating the slide, I definitely didn't want my students to move parts of the diagram around.  What a mess that would be!

Keeping a digital interactive workspace intact takes 2 easy steps!

First, make your slide a jpeg (or a picture).

You might be thinking, "What, you can do that?"

Yes, you can!

With Google Slides open, select the slide you want to make a jpeg.  Then,
1. Click on File
2. Select Download, JEPG image (.jpg, current slide)

Now just select where you want to save it!  Easy Peasy right!

You're halfway there!

Once you've converted your slide into a picture, you can upload it back into your slide.  Now you could just click Insert, Image and then upload it from your computer, but your students can still (and will) delete it.  What I prefer is to make the image the slide's background.

To make your image your background, create or select a blank slide.

1.  Click on Background
2.  Select Image, Choose Image
3.  Locate and Upload your image in Drive or from your computer.

Ta-da!  You have created your perfect student workspace!  You can now layer on top to create text boxes for students to write in, or you can create a moveable, interactive worksheet!

Here are just a few examples of some student workspaces I created for my DINs.

Remember, your slide is your canvas and anything you imagine, you can create!  After you have created your masterpieces, come back and share with us some of the ways you were able to be Google!

Contact me by email at teacherdigitaltrends@gmail.com
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  1. Hi there! Thank you for sharing the information about creating an interactive notebook! I have been exploring this concept over the last three months and I wanted to share a trick that I use when creating these activities.

    Instead of saving the images as a background image, instead you can click on 'View' and then click on 'Master'. Within the Master Slides you can change the layouts. This means that in real time, these items are changing on the slides that you have created for your students, but you don't need to go through the hassle of saving the slides as images. Another bonus is the fact that if you make a mistake it can be easily fixed and the backgrounds come out more crisp and clear!

    I started out using the 'save as image' method for the first while and then learned this technique and I am absolutely loving it! Let me know if you'd like clarification on the process!

    1. Cool. I'll check that out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. So, can you build this as you go? I know often with Google, once students start working on something even if you alter it, they cannot see the changes. Can you clarify? I am loving this idea, but creating this will take lots of time.

  3. I create before hand. It is some work up front, but I rarely stand at the computer, I'm never searching last minute for something to do and once it's done I just need to tweek it and I'm ready to go the following year. :)