I like my students to use Google Docs for creating visual aids. Why?
- That they cannot claim that their computer crashed (Docs is cloud-based).
- They cannot claim to have been working on something but didn’t get to finish (“Let’s look at the document history!”).
- They can share their work with me so that when giving multiple student presentations in a day, I can just bring up their presentation instead of having a lot of “down time” looking for files on USB data sticks, signing out of my email and into theirs, etc.
- That I can see how much work each student put into the visual aid (again, “Let’s look at the document history!”).
- It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles other visual aid programs have going for them, like animated content flying in, sound effects, etc. which distract and annoy. Who wants to see text type itself for a full minute while the presenter reads to you? That is a pet peeve on top of another pet peeve.
Google Docs has a lot going for it. What it doesn’t have going for it is its collection of “themes.” The term “themes” is largely comparative to PowerPoint’s “Designs.” Unfortunately, the pickings are a bit slim. It’s hard to believe that they have an LCARS template, you know? Below is a pic of their gallery. The Western one is pretty atrocious… and “Friendly” is anything but friendly.
On the other hand, any version of PowerPoint has a TON of design possibilities, along with the ability to customize the color scheme (a feature which may exist on Google, but one which I have yet to locate). Here is a small sampling from Office 2010 (I think):
Wouldn’t it be nice to have the best of both worlds? The portability and history of Google Docs and the better look of MS Office? It’s easy:
- Create a new PowerPoint.
- Find a template you really like.
- Adjust the color template or make a custom color template.
- Save the document to your desktop.
- Once you’re in your Docs area, don’t start a new presentation. Instead, use the “upload” function:
- Once you’ve located and uploaded your PowerPoint file, open the file and go to work.
Enjoy the power of Docs and the aesthetics of PowerPoint.