Some digital tools are really fun to explore. I was delighted with the discovery of Google Slides as a student resource when I attended an Electronic Village session at TESOL 2018 in Chicago. Since then I’ve had two of my own students collaborate using Google slides: they’ve done joint a presentation and they’ve co-created vocabulary flashcards.
The flashcards have been an ongoing project. It began over the summer when students had more time to review and less time to meet with me for live classes. Here’s what has been helpful.
1. Setting a weekly target. The students haven been reviewing old vocabulary by using our notes to create slides. Each student is responsible for creating 5-10 slides a week. They’ve been able to keep pace during busy weeks. They decide how many slides they can handle.
2. Using a consistent format. I select the words to review and assign the cards by writing a student’s name in the notes under the slides. The first slide has the key word and part of speech provided. Students must complete the next slide with the definition (from our notes), an original example, and a suitable image.
3. Keeping pace with corrections and revisions. I check students’ work each week and offer my feedback in the notes under the slides. The students are then responsible for correcting their mistakes in their examples.
4. Making the effort to combine writing, reading, speaking, and listening. I’m strongly recommending, but not requiring the students to record their corrected slides. A single recording might be for 5-10 words: students first say the key word and then read their model sentence. I provide audio feedback, in which I note any pronunciation mistakes and give my model for them to follow. I also sometimes add commentary on the context or their chosen image, so they gain some listening practice in this step. My students have been submitting their recordings via Dropbox.
5. Reminding students to review all the slides, not just theirs, but in small doses. The collection is growing, so there’s a lot to look at. If the students review corrections and revisions each week, they stay up to date. I’ve suggested studying several slides in one sitting and not scrolling through thirty words in a single day.
I like that the slides are on-demand and easy to edit. Student have the option of downloading the file for offline use, but either way, they’ll have a study resource for the future.
I do wish that users could easily add audio to each slide online. To my knowledge, this isn’t possible yet. The multi-step process I’ve experimented with is to use a free voice recorder like SpeakPipe, record through your headset, get a link (which may be temporary), and then insert a hyperlink on an image or text on your slide. An offline alternative is to download Google Slides and import the file(s) into editing software, where you can do a voice recording for all the images. For more info on this possibility, search for a YouTube tutorial on importing Google Slides into iMovie (or other editing software of your choice).
What have you done with Google Slides? Feel free to share.
Photo credit: Flashcards, Cards, Paper by AnnasPhotography. Retrieved from the Creative Commons at https://pixabay.com/en/flashcards-cards-paper-1591812/.