Using Activities in Google Slides™ on an iPad

Using Google Slides™ Activities on an iPad

Let's take a look at the differences between using Google Slides™ on a web browser (how we use Google Drive on Chromebooks™, laptops, and computers) vs. using the Google Slides™ app on the iPad®.
The differences between using Google Slides™ on the web (Chromebooks, computers, laptops) and using the Google Slides app on an iPad.

Why Google Slides™?

More and more teachers are sharing, finding, purchasing, creating, using and delivering content for students to manipulate and create within Google Slides™. Google Slides™ acts like a freestyle canvas that will allow you to move, change, add, delete and do all sorts of things without dealing with alignment issues. Classrooms are using this as more than just a presentation tool!

Anything used and created within Google Drive™ has the ability for others to collaborate together. This is by far my favorite feature of Google! Be sure to check out my 5 Ways to Avoid Disasters When Collaborating in Google Drive post. Therefore, I create a lot of activities for my TeachersPayTeachers Store that utilize Google Suite and many of those activities are created within Slides. I have received several questions about how Google Slides™ behaves differently when using iPads so let's take a look!

The Google Slides App

It is important to note that you need to download the Google Slides app (not just Google Drive or Google Classroom) in order to access the full functionality when using Google Slides on an iPad. With that being said, the app is missing some key features that you can only get when working in the web browser.

Sharing Templates on an iPad

Depending on how you share Google files with students will depend on which app they will need to launch.

Sharing Google Slides™ Templates on iPads: Where should I go to open the Google Slides presentation when using Google Classroom, a Google Shared folder, an email or group account address, or a learning management system
Once students open one of the apps above and select their Google Slides assignment, their assignment will then launch and open in the Google Slides app as long as it is downloaded on their device.

Speaker Notes

I always put student directions in the speaker notes of my Google Slides activities. They automatically appear at the bottom of the slides when using the web.

Geometry Activity in Google Slides™ displayed on my Chrome browser
Geometry Activity in Google Slides™ displayed on my Chrome browser

However, when you launch an activity in Google Slides on an iPad, the speaker notes do not appear by default.
Geometry Activity in Google Slides™ displayed on my iPad
Geometry Activity in Google Slides™ displayed on my iPad

To turn on the speaker notes, click the three dots in the upper right hand corner. Slide the toggle next to Speaker Notes so it turns blue.

Moveable Pieces

Many creators of activities in Google Slides have moveable pieces for students to drag and drop to certain locations. Often times these pieces are on the actual slide in a designated area. For instance, my Emoji Pictograph Activities in Google Slides™ requires students to drag and drop the emojis in the gray rectangle to create a pictograph:

However, my Birthday Graph in Google Slides™ activity needed the entire slide to fit 12 columns for each month. Therefore, I decided to put my draggable pieces on the outskirts of the slide. When digital activities have draggable pieces surrounding the slide like in the example below, you will want to pinch the screen to make it smaller so all of the pieces appear.

Sometimes when students attempt to drag and drop moveable pieces they resize the image/piece by accident. This happens on the web browser and when working with the Google Slides app. Unfortunately there isn't a way to lock moveable pieces from resizing in Google Slides (yet!). Therefore, teaching students how to UNDO is very important! The back arrow in the toolbar is usually the quickest way for a child to undo their work. When using iPads, I tell students to first tap the piece they want to move , lift their finger, then tap right in the middle, hold and drag. 


Highlighting words and phrases on the iPad is slightly different than highlighting on the web browser. For instance, in my All About Matter in Google Slides™ activities, students are asked to highlight the important information in a paragraph. To highlight text that already appears in an text box you will need to:

1. Double tap the text box

2. Double tap the first word you would like to highlight

3. Pull the sidebar to the to the end of the word or phrase


4. Tap the highlighter tool in the toolbar
5. Select the color from the spectrum and then tap the exact color from the choices below the spectrum. Then tap outside of the highlighter tool to see your highlighted text.

Viewing Videos

You can view embedded YouTube videos in Google Slides when using the web browser without having to launch the presentation in presentation mode. Simply double click the video icon.

All About Matter in Google Slides™

However, you do have to launch the presentation in presentation mode in order to view a video when working on an iPad.

What is the Google Slides App Missing?

There are several key features that the Google Slides app is missing that are only available in the web browser. The ones I really hope become availble in the near future are: 

         1. the ability to do a web search within the app to add images to slides 
         2. add the Explore tool for quick and easy research. 
         3. reference tools (dictionary and thesaurus)

Facebook Live

Here is a Facebook Live I did the other day that shows this entire post in action! Facebook Live wasn't being a good friend because it kept timing out on me. This was my fourth attempt and I got cut off at the very end. Regardless, most of what I needed to say can be viewed below:

Follow me on Pinterest to get more techie ideas: