Group presentations and projects are common assignments in today’s higher education courses, especially in the collaborative settings of Elon’s classrooms. However, group presentations can be a hassle for everyone involved. It is difficult for teachers to determine if students are equally distributing the work, and busy students often struggle to find a time to meet. To resolve these issues, Dr. Antonio Izzo, a professor in the biology department, found a solution that seems to work works for all parties: Google Presentation.
Dr. Izzo’s involvement with Google Presentations began in his Biology 101 class via a class projecton proteins. Each student was supposed to make a slide on his or her specific protein, and then present it to the class. Previously, though, Dr. Izzo said it was difficult to put the project together.
“[In the past], everyone made their own slide, and then I had to collate them all into one presentation,” he said. “There would be technical problems or the information wouldn’t transfer correctly.”
After using Google Presentation, Dr. Izzo said these problems ceased. Now, he can give access to a single presentation to all of his students, knowing the presentation would be in one place and in one format. They could access it on any kind of computer and he didn’t have to collate the information in the end. Dr. Izzo loved the convenience of it, and he thought it brought a sense of ownership to his students.
“All the students had their part,” Dr. Izzo said. “I felt their contribution. They knew what the expectations were. They could grab one slide and take complete ownership of that slide.”
What Dr. Izzo also enjoys about the collaborative and open atmosphere of Google Presentation is that he can watch the work as it is happening and make edits and comments in real time.
“It fascinated me that at any given point, I could see how things were progressing,” Dr. Izzo said. “I could monitor [the work on the presentation] as it happened. If I saw trends in information they should be putting on their slide, I could track it in real time.”
Dr. Izzo said he did face one problem with Google Presentation, though – he saw one student editing his slide while the presentation was happening. But he said that was only a minor problem and overall, the program has benefited him and his students.
“[Using Google Presentation] is a nice way to highlight to students that they could use this tool in the future for collaborative presentations,” Dr. Izzo said. “It was easy. We could chat back and forth while the work is going on. This kind of tool is important.”
Dr. Izzo sees ways to use Google Presentation, and Google’s other collaborative applications both in and outside of his classroom. His senior seminar students find collaborative documents through Google useful to assemble information, especially since they cannot always meet face-to-face to work together.
Dr. Izzo also uses Google Forms, so each of his students can submit their individual set of data for a class-wide project. Dr. Izzo says that program emphasizes accountability to his students.
Dr. Izzo says that they are a number of applications that allow students to collaborate with each other easily, but third and fourth year students utilize them to most outside the classroom. He hopes that soon enough, everyone will be using them to better their classroom experience.
If you are interested in Google Presentations or another technology to could improve the collaboration in your classroom, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336.278.5006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.