From the scrap heap, to Slides

Google Slides is bringing back the tool that nobody knew they were missing out on

Google Moderator was a spectacular teaching tool in a spectacularly bad package.  That’s probably why Google scrapped it a while ago.  Moderator allowed a presenter to pose a question or an prompt, and the audience could submit responses.  The kicker was that the audience could then vote on each other’s responses so that the best would rise to the top, and the worst would sink to the bottom.  It was just really cumbersome to set up and use, and Google didn’t feature it enough to bring in a lot of users, so it disappeared without a trace, and very few people noticed.  But those who did notice were pretty sad about it.

But now it’s back, sort of.  Instead of being a stand-alone application, it is now called Audience Q&A, and it is a part of Google Slides (their version of PowerPoint).  When giving the pros and cons of why you would want to use Google Slides over the more familiar PowerPoint, the Audience Q&A should significantly tip the scales in favor of Google Slides, given how rarely most presenters take advantage of PPT’s more advanced features anyway (see: Animations).

When you play a Google Slide show, you can choose to display the Presenter View on your screen while the presentation plays.

presenter view

From there, you can start an Audience Q&A session.

presenter view2

Your audience sees a banner at the top of the presentation, telling them where to post questions.

presenter view3

Once at that URL, they can submit their questions and see previous posts to vote them up or down.  They have the option of using their Google account identity or posting anonymously.  *I haven’t seen where this option can be turned off for classroom use, if you don’t want an anonymous bonehead to derail class.

presenter view4

Your presenter view will update itself with the audience questions, moving the highest-rated to the top.

presenter view5

By selecting “Present” below one of the responses, that featured question is shown on the projection screen for deeper audience discussion, and it can then be hidden to continue with the presentation.

presenter view6

What happens to the comments/questions after you finish the presentation?

After exiting the presentation, the next time you open it with the Presenter View you have the option of continuing a recent session or starting a new one from scratch.  If you start one from scratch, the recent ones will still live in the cloud somewhere, so the data isn’t just lost. If you choose “Continue recent,” you are given a list of previous sessions in order of date and time.  Pick the one you want to continue across multiple courses, training sessions, etc. to keep going, although the original voting would still be present, making new contributions slower to rise to the top.  *I don’t know how long the Q&A stays there, and whether they will disappear from the “Recent” list, so if there are some vital questions, you would want to back those up in some other way.

presenter view7

For more information about Slides and Q&A, visit the Google Docs Blog, and/or which this video showing it in action:

 

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