The task was clear – collaboratively create a series of webinars to investigate the role of technology in DP classrooms. Sounds easy enough if the two developers are in the same school, but the challenge was distance. One of the developers was in Vienna and the other in India.
Without online technologies the task would have be impossible. First the outline for each webinar was created during Skype sessions using Google docs. The 3.5 hour time difference was relatively easy to overcome and discussing the outline in Skype while simultaneously editing the outline in Google Docs was straight forward in spite of the geographical distance.
However, the actual making of the presentation of the webinars would have been impossible without Google Slides. The overall plan for the webinar slides were set out in Google Slides and divided between the two developers. Both could see online how the development was progressing and also make suggestions on the various frames in the notes section of each slide.
However, how can you communicate with the other developer when they are not online and you need a quick opinion? Only one effective way – a Whatsapp (or SMS) on the cell phone. A quick message in Whatsapp with the slide number and question and the answer appeared quickly either in a reply in Whatsapp or directly in the slide on Google Slides.
The next concern – what will happen when the slides are exported into PowerPoint? Actually, this part was a surprise. Very little change was needed. However, an even bigger discovery was made. When the webinar was downloaded, the file was far more sluggish to edit in PowerPoint than it was in the original Google Slides. The ease of creation and development meant Google Slides won hands down and even to the point of considering to use Google Slides for future presentation development.
On reflection Google slides offers a new opportunity for creating learning activities that involve collaborative research and presentations. The task, process and collaboration need to be well-defined and organized. Even the actual delivery of the presentation can even take place collaboratively even though the two persons are a half of a world apart.