Google slides is built for sharing and interactivity. One of the interactive tools is available during a presentation for audience members. This tool allows the presenter to collect questions and comments from an audience during a presentation.
Open a slide and click the “Present” button to use the Q&A application in Google slides.
Move the mouse cursor to the lower left side of the presentation and a toolbar will appear with several presentation tools. Click the “Q&A” button.
A window will open with options for audience tools and speaker notes. The audience tools tab will be selected. A view of the current slide is visible along with a preview of the previous and next slides.
This window can be used on a separate screen during a presentation by the presenter to view the questions or comments. A separate screen can also be used to display the questions for the audience in a traditional setting where the audience is in the same location as the presenter.
The bottom of the window has a button to begin a new Q&A session with the audience.
Click the “Start new” button to begin a new Q&A session.
Each Q&A session includes a link. This link is shown to the audience by the presenter or can be provided to the audience on a web page, email or even with a QR Code. The link will open a web page where they will be able to ask questions during the presentation.
There is a button on the right which can be used to turn off the Q&A session. The button can be used to hold questions from the audience until the presenter is ready. It can be used to close a Q&A session after the presentation is complete. A Q&A session automatically ends when the presentation is exited or closed. Keep this in mind because the moment the Q&A window closes there is no way to get the questions back.
The Q&A session can be resumed or a new one created as long as the presenter does not close the Chrome browser or the tab in the browser that contains the slide.
The suite of Google services is available to businesses, governments, and educational institutions. When the service is part of an institution there are additional options that can be used to limit access to content created by employees of the institution. In this example, the Q&A link is visible to members of my school district only.
The presentation can be made available to an audience that is not part of the institution by clicking the disclosure arrow next to the institution name and selecting anyone.
We will be prompted to confirm that we want to make this Q&A tool available to anyone in and out of the institution.
The permission can be changed back to the institution restriction by clicking the same disclosure arrow and selecting the institution.
The audience Q&A tool
When audience members use the link they are presented with a web page for their questions during the presentation. The title of the presentation is shown in the title bar. An input box is available to ask a question.
In this example, I am logged into my account and the Q&A tool is readily available and displaying my name to the audience.
I will get a page informing me that I do not have permission if I am not logged into my account. This only happens when a presentation requires that the presentation and audience tools be limited to the members of an institution. As a member of the district, all I need to do is click the “sign in” link to log into my account and access the Q&A tool.
Click once in the question box to enter a question. The name of the Google account holder asking the question appears next to the question. Questions can be asked anonymously by placing a checkmark next to the “Ask anonymously” box.
Questions are limited to 300 characters or less. Provide a question or comment and click the submit button.
Questions asked by you and other audience members are displayed on the Q&A page and visible to all audience members.
Audience members can give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to vote on questions.
The presenter has access to the same questions along with the audience vote for each question.
Stopping or holding the Q&A tool
The presenter can suspend or hold the questions during a presentation. This is useful for a variety of reasons. To suspend or stop the Q&A tool click the ON/Off toggle on the right side of the Q&A window. This toggle can be clicked again to resume the Q&A session. Do not close the browser tab or quit the browser because this will remove the option to resume a Q&A session.
When the Q&A tool is suspended or ended the visitors will see a message informing them that the Q&A session is closed.
Turn the Q&A tool back on to resume a previous Q&A session or to start a new session.
A selector of previous Q&A sessions will be displayed to the presenter. Click continue to open a previous session.
Saving Q&A presentation questions and comments
The Q&A tool does not provide a way to save the questions but we can save the questions using the audience link. To save the questions as a PDF or images we need to install an extension for the Chrome browser.
There are similar extensions for other browsers like Firefox. Feel free to use one of these extensions. I will not cover the installation of those extensions or tools in this post.
Go to the Chrome Store at “https://chrome.google.com/webstore” and search for an extension by a developer called “FireShot”.
Click the “Add to chrome” button.
Click the “Add extension” button.
Click the extension in the button bar to begin the capture process.
Click the option to capture the entire page when the selector menu appears.
The extension actually takes several images of the web page. I recommend resizing the browser to full screen to maximize the web page capture area. If the browser is not maximized the image captures may overlap. The image below shows an example of this overlap.
The captures can be saved as one image or they can be saved as a PDF. All the captured images are combined into one large image or one large single page PDF. This isn’t a perfect solution but this extension is useful until Google provides a save or print option for questions.
The question vote tool can be used to ask the audience questions during a presentation. Teachers can use this tool with students so students can get feedback from their classmates during a presentation. Students can provide feedback and promote each other’s comments by voting on them.