Thursday, May 2, 2019

Upgrade Your Google Slides Image Game

Image result for chromebook png

One of my district's graduate outcomes is for students to become powerful communicators. A common way in which students are taught to communicate is by delivering in-class or screencasted slides presentations with presentation software. In my district, our software/program of choice is Google Slides.

A common occurrence when students create slides is that they put tons of text on each slide and read it to the audience. Good presentations do not happen when students read a bunch of text to an audience. As tech coach, I coach teachers to encourage students to create slides that are more image heavy where student presenters can tell a story about the images on the slide. Instead of staring at the screen, image heavy slides make it conducive for kids to use the images as reminders. They can glance and point to the screen to remember what they are going to say. This allows them to have more of a connection to the audience. Any time you have kids search the web for images, students must be made aware of copyright and learn to use creative commons and other types of legally allowed images.

To this end, student presentation slides design must change. Finding the right images is not always as easy as simply Googling it. Sometimes, kids may come across an image they copy and pasted from a Google search, but only want a portion of it. To get the part they need, kids can use the Crop Image function by right clicking (two fingers simulaneously) on the image. 


Another way for kids to up their image game in Google Slides is to use the Chromebook's built in screenshot function. Often times, kids may come across a webpage that has an image that may fit their presentation. The built in screenshot function may come in handy to this end. To do so, simultaneously hold Control (CTRL) and "the square button above 5 or 6 that looks like a rectangle with two lines" button. If you want a region of the webpage instead of the entire page, hold down Shift in addition to the keyboard shortcut command for the entire screenshot. 


Whether you choose to screenshot the entire page or just a region, on a Chromebook, the image will be saved automatically to your Files folder. Immediately after the screenshot, in the bottom right corner, above the notifications tray, a pop up will show a preview of the image with an option to Copy to Clipboard. This is very helpful because it makes adding the image to the slide easier. Click the Copy To Clipboard option and you can quickly paste it on the slide. Otherwise, you will have to use the Insert Image > Upload from Computer function to get the image to the slide. This isn't difficult, but it is two extra steps that can be circumvented. 

One of my favorite ways to jazz up a slides presentation is to insert images of people with transparent background. One way to do this is to use is a relatively new website that allows you to upload an image that contains a person and it removes the background to create a transparent background image or png. With the background removed, you can "insert" people into different scenes or backgrounds. Transparent background images of people on the slides coupled with speech or thought bubbles are great way to spice up a presentation. 

There are quite a few ways to jazz up slides presentations. The ideas mentioned in this blog post are just the tip of the iceberg, but they are some of my go-to ideas. I encourage you to use these as a jumping off point as you develop your own ideas and best practices for helping kids upgrade your Google Slides Image game.

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