Teachers wanting to incorporate presentations (ex. PowerPoints) into their classroom without reliable access to computers can have students create projects on iPads with Google Slides.

Google Slides is an online alternative to PowerPoint

Creating the Slides is quite intuitive and anyone that has used PowerPoint before will be comfortable using Slides. I’m not going to go into detail how to use Slides, there are lots of tutorials out there if anyone wants to start with the basics.

The only caveat is students need a Google account to create new presentations.

How do students get their work off the iPad?

This is a question that often comes up with iPads. At some point when the projects are done, teachers will want students to submit them.

Can students email them? Not easily. We have purposely locked down the email app for the reason that a lot of trouble could come from a student logging in and forgetting to log out of email. Unlike other accounts for apps that students might have, email is used to reset and change passwords on just about everything. Web-based email will still work, however (ex. logging into gmail through the browser).

Create a Google Folder

For any of the tools in the Google Drive suite, creating a Google folder option I think is the best for submitting work. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to https://drive.google.com and click on the “+ New” and choose Folder.
  2. Right-click the newly created folder and click on “Share”
  3. Change the Anyone with the link “can view” to “can edit” and copy the link
  4. Paste the link on your website (or use a goo.gl or bit.ly URL shortener and write it on the board).

If your website is completely public you may want to consider going with the URL shortener method since anyone from the Internet could potentially access/change/delete the contents of your folder. If you have the ability to password protect a page on your website you’re good. Or possibly post the folder link to FreshGrade or other closed system.

Opening the Google Folder on iPad

When students open the Google folder link on the iPad through Safari it will prompt them to download Google Drive even if its already been installed… a bit of an issue as there is no clear way on how to open the link within the app and you can’t add files to the folder through Safari. So here’s the workaround:

To open the link in Google Drive, after accessing the link, students can click on the address bar in Safari and change the “https://” at the beginning of the URL to “googledrive://” and then go. This will prompt them to open the folder in Google Drive where they can now add files (such as the Google Slide that they made).

Another workaround using Primary Pad

Depending on the device (or if Google Drive is for some reason not installed), I’ve found another way for students to submit their work is through something like PrimaryPad. This is an online notepad that anyone can add to as long as they have the link. The free version lasts 30 days.

Within slides, students can open their presentation and:

  1. Click on the … at the top right corner
  2. Sharing & Export
  3. Copy Link
  4. Open up your PrimaryPad URL
  5. Paste the link

Office365 will be the “official” alternative

Our district is going to soon make Office365 available to all staff and students. This is Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office, basically Microsoft’s Google Drive. Once Office365 is live, I think it will solve a lot of these kinds of problems and will work with district accounts keeping everything within our district’s ecosystem.

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