Creating Narrated Slideshows with Google Tools

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Mike Petty.

Last fall our high school purchased Chromebooks and the new principal set high expectations for more project-based learning and technology integration in all subjects. As the instructional technology coordinator for the district, this was great news for me! This school year was a ton of work, but we’re now wrapping up what was certainly the best one of my career.

Over the past several months I’ve often been asked by teachers for presentation options beyond PowerPoint. They wanted something that can be shared beyond the classroom, but that isn’t as involved as a full video project. To meet this need, I outlined a process (and made some tutorials) to make simple narrated slideshows using Google Tools. They are like presentations that present themselves.

The process uses Google Slides and WeVideo and can be completed using Chromebooks or laptops. You can also make them with a desktop computer as long as you have a microphone.

Here is an example of one of these narrated slideshows.

And here are the steps, each with a video tutorial showing the process.

Step 1: Create your slideshow in Google Slides and download each one to your device.
Step 2: Log in at WeVideo and put your images from Step 1 into a video.
Step 3: Record your narration for each slide.
Step 4: Publish the video to Google Drive where you’ll be able to share it with your teacher.

After using this process with several classes I’ve learned a few tips.

  • It helps greatly if the teacher works through the entire process first. I suggest creating your own example to show the class so you’ve seen every step in detail.
  • Relatively short slideshows of 6 to 8 slides work best the first time students work through this process.
  • Students need to be reminded that steps 2 – 4 will take awhile the first time they do this project. They must pace themselves accordingly on step 1.
  • WeVideo adds other files or folders to Drive and students often share the wrong one with their teacher. Remind them to test the file before sharing. If it plays as a video, that’s the file they should share. (And to help avoid some of this confusion, if your students have access to Gmail, tell them they will receive a notification when their video has finished processing.)
  • Yes, you can easily record narration and make a video using PowerPoint. I prefer using WeVideo as outlined here, though, because it is a great introduction to using a video editor for more involved video projects. It’s also prefered because it works on Chromebooks.
  • Since the free WeVideo accounts are limited to five minutes of export time each month, students should not publish until they are sure the slideshow is how they want it.

Mike Petty is a Google Education Trainer and the instructional technology coordinator at LakeVille Community Schools in Otisville, Michigan. He is passionate about inspiring students and teachers to reach their potential by using simple, powerful tools. You can follow him on Twitter at @mpetty39. He blogs at Classroom Games and Tech and


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