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Introducing Google Q & A

If you’ve been paying close attention to the latest and greatest apps, software, and web-based programs that support teachers in the classroom, you’ll notice a trend.  More and more of these tools – from Plickers to Nearpod – are trying to add the element of live feedback and inquiry to the regular everyday teacher presentation.  These tools allow teachers to quickly correlate classwide data into simple graphs and charts – instant feedback on strategies like openers and exit tickets.  Most recently, Google decided to get in on the fun by adding a component to their Google Slides tool: Google Q & A.

Google Q & A integrates a pretty useful interactive feature to their presentation tool which allows students to submit questions and thoughts as the teacher presents.  Of course, we all want to create a safe and comfortable classroom culture where students feel like they can voice their ideas aloud without judgment.  Unfortunately, the reality is the social pressures our students sometimes face can lead to a lot of anxiety.  So, as we work with students on gaining proficiency in the speaking and listening standards, Google Q & A allows them the ease and security of still participating and sharing ideas as they enter their minds.  Not only can students contribute, but Google Q & A includes a social-media-esque "like" button that enables them to prioritize their thinking.  Check out some of Education World's "quick and easy" recommendations below for how this technology could benefit your students tomorrow.

Using Google Q & A in the Classroom

Mid- or post-lesson inquiry.  As indicated in the video above, this is pretty clearly the intended use of this feature.  As students listen to your presentation, they might have a whirlwind of thoughts, questions, and ideas plowing through their minds.  This allows them to share them immediately.  Whether the teacher addresses these questions immediately or waits until the end of the lesson, this allows students to instantly interact with the content.

Survey.  Although this idea might be better suited to some of the programs mentioned in the introduction to this piece, if you are already using Google Slides, you could pretty easily use Q & A for a quick class survey.  Post a question on a slide and have students comment their answers.  Students could vote with “likes” if they agree with another student’s response or construct their own idea.  Give students a multiple choice question on a slide and students can comment and “like” their response.  With a quick glance, the teacher can assess student understanding and address or supplement any miscalculations.

Groupwork accountability.  If you have students working in groups, they could comment their findings (whatever your product might be) on the message board, while you float from table to table.  Not only will this free the educator from the front of the classroom, but the public nature of the task creates a natural accountability for the students.  This could be useful classwide, too.  Each table or individual could be adding a piece to the pie.  Imagine students sharing sites, quotes, and facts for a live research project.  Students could “like” the most credible sites or strongest pieces of text evidence. 

Online seminar.  Use this chat feature to allow students to discuss your presented content.  Your seminar questions could be posted to each slide and, as you move from one to the next, students could begin discussion threads, addressing their thoughts and inquiries.  They’d be just a click away from sharing evidence to support their claims, and could easily share media and content that illustrates their points.  Just be sure to make expectations very clear for assessment purposes.


Written by Keith Lambert, Education World Associate Contributing Editor

Lambert is an English / Language Arts teacher and teacher trainer in Connecticut.

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