Friday, July 30, 2010

Google Presenter

Prior to this assignment, I have used Google Presenter for a few school projects, as well as in my classroom during my student teaching internship. During some of my teacher education courses, I used Google Presenter when collaborating with colleagues on group assignments. One of the obvious benefits of Google Presenter, is the ability to have multiple people working on a project at one time, without having to be in the same place. Also, during my student teaching internship, I would often create PowerPoints to use in the classroom when I was teaching, on my laptop at home. Thus, in order to show them on the computer at school, I would have to save them to a flash drive, or send them to myself via e-mail. This quickly proved to be a hassle as I would go through multiple flash drives and/or the PowerPoints were too big to send via e-mail. Two other issues I encountered, were transferring PowerPoints from my Mac to a PC, as well as the issue of dealing with two different versions of PowerPoint (2004 vs. 2008). I would often have to spend at least 10-15 minutes revamping my PowerPoints once I transferred them to the school computer, because the templates, fonts, and pictures would not transfer well. Using Google Presenter alleviated both the problem of having to transfer my PowerPoints from one computer to another, as well as worrying about the quality of my PowerPoints once they were transferred.

The functions I like most about Google Presenter are its similarities with PowerPoint, it’s user friendliness, the fact it can be edited by multiple people from different locations, you can import actual PowerPoint files into Google Presenter, and that it can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. While it’s simplicity makes it very user friendly, it was also one PowerPoint, it has very limited theme selections, it does not have a clip art selection, nor can you add slide transitions or animations as you can in PowerPoint.

To use this software in the classroom, students would need to be able to read, they would need to have basic typing skills, experience with some type of word processing program would also probably be beneficial. Students would need to know knowledge of how to import pictures or clip art from other sources (the Web, their computers, etc.). Students would need to know how to insert and utilize text boxes, how to insert new slides, how to sequence slides, etc. Overall, I feel this software would be best utilized by students in grades second and up. I feel they would be old enough to properly use a program like this to create and share presentations.

You can share the products you create with this application in multiple ways. First of all, you can share it in it’s true form, via the internet. If you have an internet connection, you can pull up your presentation online and share it. Also using an internet connection, you can invite people to view or collaborate on your project. Secondly, you can download it to your computer and save it for use. This way you have it on your computer, can transfer it to a USB drive, etc. Another way you can share the products you create with this application is via e-mail.

I used this type of application multiple times during my student teaching internship. For example, during our social studies on economics, I used it to make presentations on community helpers, the marketplace, and money. This way, I could combine text, images, and videos, to help student better understand these concepts. I used this application during word work activities, to teach students about onset and rime, and syllable counting. I think an application like this is very versatile and can be used across all subject matter in many creative ways.

One thing a teacher could do to help students collaborate using this application, would be to assign every group member a role. For example, one student could be in charge of the slide layout, one could be in charge on inserting the text, one could be in charge of finding videos to insert, one could be in charge of finding the images for the presentation, etc. Another way, could be to have every student in charge of creating a certain number of slides in the presentation. Again, this program allows multiple people to be working on the same project as once, so it easily lends itself to collaborative projects.

In terms of organization and managerial considerations, one would be how students are collaborating on the projects; partner, small group, whole group, etc. Also, do the students pick their own groups, are they assigned groups, etc.?  Another would be the topic the students’ are focusing on for the project; are all groups doing the same topic, does each group pick their own topic, are they assigned topic, etc.? If the students are expected to work on the project on their own time, another consideration would be if all students have access to a computer.

Overall, I think this application would work wonderfully in the classroom. It’s simplicity makes it incredibly user friendly, especially for young users. It could serve as a helpful introduction to a more complicated program, like PowerPoint. Also, the ability to have multiple people working on a project at once, makes it very easy to do collaborative projects in the classroom using this application.