Here’s a scenario I’ll bet you are familiar with.
You assign a project that has some tricky technical elements, maybe involving a new program or tool. Filming a WeVideo perhaps.
Knowing this, you make sure to carefully explain to the class how to do each step (film, crop, add text), you might even say something like, “listen carefully, because I don’t want to get any questions about this part.”
After your careful instruction, you release your students to work, and immediately a dozen hands go up, asking for instructions on the very things you’ve just explained.
“Ask 3 Before Me,” was a revelation in my classroom, finally I had a method for cutting down on the amount of repeat questions and as well as encouraging students to become independent learners.
The catch is, when your students are doing some of that technical, tricky work, the information might not be so easily accessible and they genuinely need it explained again.
I experienced this exact scenario while I was teaching my students to film “How To” instructional videos using WeVideo. After my first year with the assignment, I was determined to come up with a solution for teaching the technical side of using WeVideo without having to re-explain things over and over.
That’s where Google Slides FAQ Pages come in.
Using Google Slides, Screencastify, and the “insert link” feature, you can provide your students with a directory of those frequently asked questions, and spend less time acting as an IT consultant, and more time teaching.
Here is an example of the FAQ slide deck I made for my “How To” video assignment*. For the majority of these tech questions, I was able to say to my students “Check the FAQ page” and they would be able to answer the question on their own. Brilliant!
*Most of these questions were based on the requirements for the assignment, but I also included some more advanced material for students who wanted to challenge themselves.
How to Create an FAQ Deck on Google Slides
Step 1: Create a list of “frequently asked questions” in Google Slides
You can probably guess which questions will come up the most, but it is helpful to do the assignment with your class and record the questions that come up the most to add to your list.
- Type the entire list, numbered, in a text box on the first slide.
- Create a separate slide for each question, copy+pasting each question on it's own, individual slide.
Step 2: Download Screencastify (or another screen recording app)
Of course, the answers to your questions could be written in text, but chances are it will be most helpful for your students to see you demonstrating or modeling the process on a video.
There are plenty of apps you can do this with, but Screencastify has the added advantage that all your videos are automatically saved to your Google Drive and can easily be added to the slide deck from there.
Step 3: Record!
It might feel like it is taking a lot of time upfront to get the video right (I usually have to do 3 takes to get each video right), but once you have it, you can use it again and again.
Sometimes I’ll even play a particularly important video to the entire class rather than demonstrating it (so the students don’t have to suffer through inevitable technical challenges that always seem to crop up when demonstrating something new, live.)
* You might be able to find instructional videos that answer your questions on YouTube, but I’ve found that looking up and watching the videos on YouTube takes more time than doing them myself.
Step 4: Insert your recordings into your Google Slide deck
On each of the individual question slides, click "insert", "video", and "my drive."
Your Screencastify videos should come right up, and all you have to do is select the appropriate video for the question you are answering.
Step 5: Link each question to the corresponding slide (where your video response is)
- Highlight the entire text of your frequently asked question.
- Click “Insert” then “Link” then “Slides in this presentation”
- Choose the slide number and title that corresponds with the question.
Step 6: Share the FAQ slide deck with your class!
If you use Google Classroom, you could include your FAQ deck with the corresponding assignment, or post is as a “material.”
If you don’t use Google Classroom, get a shareable link to send to your students.*
*If you are posting the link for them on the whiteboard, I recommend using a link shortener such as bit.ly so they don’t have to waste time typing in a long URL.
Step 7: Enjoy the extra time you have to focus on more important things.
And remember to give yourself a nice pat on the back too.