Google Slides Q&A

One of the challenges of public speaking is staying connected to your audience and ensuring that your presentation remains relevant to their needs and interests. One strategy presenters use is setting up a back channel, where audience members can ask questions and discuss the the various points introduced during the event and the presenter can then access later. Now Google has jumped on the back channel bandwagon with the introduction of Google Slides Q&A.

To access the new Q&A option:

1. Open a Google Slides presentation and then enter presentation mode.

2. Locate the ‘Presenter view’ option from the menu bar located in the bottom-left corner of the window. You can also press the ‘s’ key on the keyboard to bring up the SPEAKER NOTES tool, then switch to the AUDIENCE TOOLS tab.

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3. Here you will see the custom URL that audiences can use to submit questions during the presentation. When active, the URL will be displayed at the top of every slide in your presentation and participants can then access the Q&A tool from any device.


Additional Options:

  • Use the slide bar to the right to turn the Q&A feature on/off.
  • If you’re using a Google Apps for Education or Work account, you have the option to restrict access to the Q&A tool to just your domain users. Otherwise, you can set the access to ‘Anyone.’


Google Slides Q&A is available for any and all presenters, so students can take advantage of this tool as well. Although, I have to report that many of my students find the laser pointer tool to have a much higher “coolness” factor. For more information, please check out the post on the Google Docs Blog, and to see Slides Q&A in action check out this video on Shree Bose, winner of the first ever Google Science Fair.



  • Use Slides Q&A to prevent interruptions from students during a presentation while still placing value on those same questions.
  • Allow students who struggle to speak up in class to have a voice and contribute to the conversation.
  • Use this tool to help students practice crafting thoughtful questions, provide constructive criticism, and model academic commenting criteria.

Google Drive – Advanced Searching

In my lesson, The Key to Keywords, one of my talking points with students was the importance of taking advantage of the keyword search tools that are provided to them inside of many of Google’s Apps. Specifically, we explored the advanced search tools available to us inside of Google Drive since this is the app they use the most in school.

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The OLD Advanced Search Tools

However, in true Google fashion, as soon as I wrapped up my lesson with students on this topic Google went ahead and changed it. Now, the advanced search tools inside of Google Drive have even more keyword presets for us to use including:

  • when the item was last modified
  • has the words
  • who it has been shared with
  • where it is located (e.g. is the item ★Starred or perhaps has been sent to the Trash)

Hopefully, now that my students know where to find these advanced search tools they will be able to take advantage of their powers to save them time and energy immediately.

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The NEW Advanced Search Tools

Information Literacy w/Google Apps (Hangout Archive)

This is an archived video from a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ session, presented to an audience of middle school level educators.


This Google Hangout Archive introduces staff to Google’s Research Tool found in Google Docs/Slides. This video also covers how to use Google’s advanced ‘Search Tools’ for students in our 1-to-1 Chromebook environment (5/6th grade) and for students in our 1-to-1 iPad environment (7/8th grade).

Duration: 11:18

How Search Works

In my lesson on the use of keywords when conducting Internet searches, I found this video by Matt Cutts. Matt, an engineer at Google, explains what Google does when a user inputs a search query into their search engine. Students don’t realize the work that goes on behind the scenes of a search engine and what they do to get the results they are trying to looking for, or how fast they do it all.

Add Missing Google Classroom Calendars

With the recent integration of calendars into Google Classroom, some of our students are seeing some of their class calendars in Google Calendar but not others (i.e. the class calendars are not visible from the Calendar web app or the iOS mobile app). Why some students are experiencing this and not others is unknown.

This tutorial will show how to force Calendar to add Classroom Calendars so that they can be seen within the web application and from the Google Calendar iOS app.

Calendar Comes to Google Classroom

Shortly after Google Classroom debuted, one of the components that teachers asked to be integrated into the app was Google Calendar. As the 2015-16 school year got underway, Classroom was still devoid of a calendar option. All appeared to be lost. But in reality, Google was on the case and in late September Google Calendar came to Classroom.


There are two ways for students and teachers to access their Classroom’s Calendar:

  1. From the ‘sandwich’ menu in the top-left corner of Classroom
  2. From the ‘About’ tab

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.21.56 PMA third option is to access the Classroom’s Calendar directly from the Calendar app (there is also a shortcut to this option under the ‘About’ tab). Any assignment that is posted in Classroom that has a due date will appear in that Classroom’s calendar. And, just as in the Calendar App, teachers and students can filter assignments by specific classes or see all of the assignments from all of their classes on one screen. If teachers do not see their Classroom’s calendar in the Calendar App, then Google suggests that they may need to “Add a post to the class stream to create the calendar.”

Finally, now that a Classroom’s calendar can be accessed in the Calendar App there are more options at the teacher’s disposal to easily share this information with parents. Teachers can open up the sharing permissions on the Classroom calendar, then embed it on their teacher website. Parents who have Google accounts themselves will have the additional option to add their child’s Classroom calendar to their own Calendar App.

If a video would help explain these exciting new developments, then I would recommend checking out these two by Jenn Scheffer:

Is It Down Right Now?

Is It Down Right Now? – Check the online status of a website.

We’ve all been there: you try to access a website and watch as the progress bar stalls in place.

  • Did I type the website address in correctly?
  • Is my bookmark out-of-date?
  • Is the website down right now?
  • Is my ISP (Internet Service Provider) working and/or is my WiFi okay?

Once you’ve verified that you didn’t “fat-finger” the web address and before you call your ISP, try browsing to ( for short). This site lists 38 popular websites, their online status, and when their status was last verified. If your website isn’t listed, then copy-&-paste the site URL into the box at the top of the page. Once you have determined that a site is indeed down there’s not much you can do about it, but isn’t it nice to know that 1.) it’s not just you, and 2.) you’re not alone.

Is it down right now site screenshot

If you’d like a second opinion, copy-&-paste the website URL into Down For Everyone Or Just Me? ( for short).

YouTube: Make your Channel work for you (Hangout Archive)

This is an archived video from a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ session at GAFE Peak in York, Maine.


This session will look at how to setup your channel so that you can begin using it to store digital media content. We will look at how to build playlists as a video textbook for students, upload videos from your class so that you can embed them into your teacher website, and create photo slideshows inside of the YouTube editor.

Customizing Google Chrome (Hangout Archive)

This is an archived video from a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ session at GAFE Peak in York, Maine.


In this hands-on session you will learn how to make Google Chrome work for you so that the apps, tools, and resources are easily accessible when you need them. Some of the topics we will cover include bookmark management, accessing tabs from other devices, managing extensions, omnibox shortcuts, and accessing the power of Google Search with your voice. Bring your laptop, mobile device, or Chromebook to the party!

Google Hangouts “On-Air”

I recently presented multiple sessions at a Google professional development workshop (a.k.a. GAFE Peak). At the same time I decided to try something new, something that was outside of my comfort zone: a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ of my PD session.

A Hangout is Google’s version of a video conference, although you can do more with the service like screen sharing, comments, and more. The ‘On-Air’ component enhances the hangout so that your live broadcast is recorded and then archived to your YouTube Channel automatically. In this way people could attend your session virtually. In my case, workshop attendees didn’t have to choose one session over another. Instead, they were able to attend one session “in-person” and then watch a transcript of another session later on.

A couple of things that you need to consider when presenting via an On-Air Hangout:

  • Before starting your Hangout, keep your audience in mind when deciding whether to turn on/off Q&A, the Showcase app, and the Applause feature. The more apps/services you turn on, the more screen real estate you use up.


  • Choose how you want to share your screen.
  • Remember to click the “Broadcast” button. Only three out of my four sessions were broadcast live and then archived to YouTube because…I forgot to click the button.
  • If a ‘live’ audience member asks a question, repeat the question to ensure that your virtual audience will hear it.

Hangouts help to convey not only the content but also the comments, questions, and debates that often take place during a lesson. The idea that we now have the technology and tools so that anyone can present to a virtual audience without having to purchase expensive equipment and/or services has great potential for the sharing and reflecting stages of learning. So, if you haven’t tried presenting or teaching via Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ might I suggest that you take that step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try.