Tech to make the most of #NCLA17: Google Slides Q&A

Today’s guest author is Samantha Harlow, Online Learning Librarian at UNCG Libraries and Chair of NCLA’s newest section, the Distance Learning Section!

When presenting at conferences, engaging audience members through active learning and participation is key! At the 2017 NCLA conference, there are many presentations with co-presenters, as well as presenters using slide shows (PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc) to serve as visual aids. It can be challenging to engage audience members with two or more presenters, while also running a slide show. This is where Google Slides Q&A can help!

Google Slides Q&A is a way for “presenters to start a live Q&A session with an audience during a presentation with Google Slides. You can present questions at any time, and people can ask questions from any device.” Taken from “Accept and present audience questions.”

The way it works is that your presentation’s audience members can submit questions digitally to a speaker throughout a presentation. If you are co-presenting, one of you can speak while another monitors the questions coming in through Q&A. If you are solo presenting, be sure to look at the questions or comments at the end of your presentation.

Here’s how Google Slides Q&A works:
-Open up your Google Slides presentation and go to the Present button at the top. Click the arrow next to the Present button to go to Presenter View.
-You will be prompted to “start new” audience Q&A. Click that button.

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-You will then see the URL that your audience members can go to ask questions. Note that if you work at a Google for Education (GAFE) library or business you will need to turn the “Accepting questions from ____” to “Anyone” in order for all conference audience members to participate:

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Your audience members will then see the URL throughout your presentation, at the top of all of your Google Slides:

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Once audience members go to the Q&A URL on your Google Slides presentation, they will be able to participate through asking a question on their device:

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When you’re done or throughout your presentation, you can go to the Q&A screen at anytime, to monitor or present a question. You will find the Q&A icon at the bottom of your slides:

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You can choose to “present” a question or comment, which means it will show up in your slideshow:

Presenter View:

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Google Slide View:

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Some notes about Google Slides Q&A:
-It’s always good to check your Q&A URL on a browser in which you are not logged into your Google Account to make sure it will work for all audience members.
-Like all presentation techniques at a conference, practicing helps work out kinks of Google Slides Q&A, as well as make you feel more prepared for how the process will run.
-Audience members can ask questions anonymously, so if you have fear of audience members being inappropriate, please keep this in mind.
-This does work on mobile devices, but if people in the audience do not have a device, it will also be good to accept questions verbally at the end of the presentation.
-The Q&A questions or comments will stay in your Google Account after you finish the slide show for a couple of days, but there is no export option of questions and comments. If you want to keep the questions or comments from your session, you will need to copy and paste them into another document or take a screenshot.

More tutorials:
Video: how to use the Q&A feature in Google Slides
Google Tutorials: Accept and present audience questions

This post is part of a short series here on the TNT blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. If you have an idea you’d like to contribute, email Jenny Dale at jedale2[at]uncg[dot]edu!

New series: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference!

Good morning, loyal readers! Today marks the beginning of a new short blog series here on the TNT Blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. Speaking of #NCLA17, registration is open at We hope to see you there!

Free Friday: Creating visual diagrams with LucidChart

Lucidchart is a web-based diagramming software, compatible with most web browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) that allows users to collaborate in real-time to create flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, floor plans, Venn diagrams and many other diagram types.

flow_chart       floor_plans        org_chart

venn_diagram       mind_map

For all educational users (both K-12 and higher education), Lucidchart provides free premium accounts. Students and faculty can sign up individually for accounts with their .edu email address. 

Users are able to create documents from a template or create custom diagrams from scratch.  To begin, users just need to click on the “+ document” button:


In order to draw objects and lines; the user just needs to “select a shape” from the shape toolbox and drag it onto the page.  To draw a line, “click on the line connection of the shape” and drag the line to another shape.

To format a line, select a line and choose a line formatting option, such as line type, style and arrow type.


There is also an option to insert an image, if you would like.

LucidChart also lets you import (to Visio, Gliffy, OmniGraffley, adn AWS files) and export your diagrams easily as PDF, PNG, JPEG, VDX, or SVG files. Alternatively, you can also share files and folders for real-time collaboration.

Even if I came across this tool by accident, I’m so glad that I did – as it has come in handy for several projects.  I’ve used LucidChart to create flow charts when planning online tutorials with multiple modules.  As it allows you to lay out the module step-by-step with goals, objectives, and activities. Additionally, I imagine that the flow chart would be useful in describing the project to other team members, such as programmers should you need their assistance in building the online module.  Next, I plan to use LucidChart to create a Gnatt chart to visually diagram a project timeline.

Free Friday: Canva: Online Graphic Design Platform

If you find yourself needing to create a visually appealing presentation, social media graphic, or infographic; try using Canva.  It is a free online platform that offers a wide assortment of design tools and options, as well as premium options for paying customers.

To get started, you just need to create an account using your email account.  You also have the option to log-in with your Facebook or Google Plus account; if you don’t want to create a new account.


Once you are logged in – Canva offers many (free & fee-based) templates for you to canva_project_typesget started with your project.  Just select your project type: presentation, infographic, social media, banner, resume, and more. Canva provides the layout, and you just use the drag & drop feature to add images, shapes, text, etc. or even upload your own images/photos to customize the graphic to fit your marketing needs.


Canva also includes photo editing features, as well as other cool tools:

  • Photo straightener: Keep your photos in line with our photo straightener tool
  • Image cropper: Crop your photos for great framing and masterful composition
  • Add text to photos: Create a narrative for any photo
  •  Speech bubble maker: Give your photos a voice with speech bubbles!
  • Give your photos a delicate fade with our transparency tool
  • Photo enhancer: Enhance your photos to save any “off” shots
  • Photo blur: Add artistry to your images with the blur slider
  • Photo vignette: Grant your pictures vintage flair with our photo vignette tool
  • Design grids: Looking for layout inspiration? Try a design grid
  • Free icons: Complement your designs with the crisp lines of our icons
  • Photo frames: Add photo frames to adorn your memories
  • Web wireframe: Begin with the basics and create a web wireframe
  • Stickers: Amp up your images with some surprise stickers
  • Badges: Build a better badge with Canva
  • Add texture: Give your designs texture and feeling from our image library

To learn more about these features, visit their web site:

I like this tool, as it allows you to create professional looking graphics, without any prior experience.  Once you have completed your design project, you will have the option to save, email, or upload your graphic to your web site.  Canva also has a shared option, which allows you to be able to collaboratively work projects with your team members.

Free Friday: DIY Coloring Pages with Pixlr

IMG_1774I absolutely love Pixlr, a completely web-based image editing program that you can use anywhere that has many of the functions of Photoshop and other high-end editors. Recently, I used Pixlr to create coloring book style versions of historical images from UNCG’s Digital Collections, like this one. Students are back at UNCG this week, and apparently they love coloring! Luckily for me, fabulous staff members from UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives had already created coloring book versions of historical images, but I also wanted to figure out how to do it on my own.

After much Googling and testing out of different options, I came up with a good workflow using Pixlr. In the spirit of using Pixlr, get ready for lots of pictures below!

  1. Visit and choose Pixlr Editor.
  2. Select Open image from computer.
  3. If you’ve used Photoshop or other similar products, the workspace will look familiar to you.
  4. Once you’ve opened the image you want to work with, click on the adjustment menu and select “desaturate.”
  5. Now, in your layers menu on the right side of the page, right click and duplicate this background layer.
  6. Next, go back to the adjustments menu and select “invert.” Your image should now look like a photo negative.
  7. We’re in the home stretch now! Back on the layers menu, select the icon in the bottom left (it should say “Toggle layer settings” when you hover over it). Once you’ve clicked that, change the mode from “Normal” to “Add.”
  8. Your picture now looks like a blank white canvas. Don’t worry! It’s supposed to!
  9. Now, click on the Filter menu and select “Gaussian Blur.” Adjust the slider so that you get the level of detail you want.
  10. And now, you’re done! You should have an image that looks something like:

For our coloring station, we provided a table, a chair, some crayons, colored pencils, and markers, and we printed the images on 11×17 paper. It’s been a hit!


They like it! They really like it!

-Jenny Dale, Chair, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, September 2nd, for our next installment of Free Fridays!


Free Friday: Infographic Design is for Everyone


In this installment of Free Fridays, let’s take a look at Piktochart.  This tool makes it easy to quickly design professional looking banners, reports, infographics, and presentations.

Piktochart offers hundreds of templates that can be customizable with lots of icons, shapes, and designs that can be used.  The tool also allows you to change colors and fonts to match your theme.  So, anyone even those without a graphic design background will be able to create visually appealing content.

There are several versions of Piktochart – one at no cost and several that are fee-based. The free account does come with some limitations such as fewer templates and the Piktocchart logo at the bottom of all your creations. Piktochart also offers a purchase option for those that need to upgrade to the pro version for students and professionals.

While Piktochart is generally used as an infographic tool; however you can also use the tool to create dynamic presentations, providing  an alternative to power point slides and prezi presentations.  The tool is very user-friendly and easy to learn.  Within minutes you can be designing your own infographic and presentation slide using Piktochart.  I’ve often use this tool to create infographics; however just this week I used this tool to create a slide presentation for a student orientation. The audience loved the look of the presentation, and everyone wanted to know what platform I used to create it; as it provided a very different look from the traditional Power Point slides and Prezi presentations.

Some sample infographic templates:

infographic edu


Check out Piktochart — it’ll give you a new perspective to presenting information!


Suvanida Duangudom, Director, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, August 19th for our next installment of Free Fridays!


Free Friday: Engaging Library Users with Pokémon Go!

I’m sure you knew it was coming! Pokémon Go has exploded this month, and many libraries are getting in on the game. Whether or not you play, you can take advantage of this fad as a way to bring new people into your library  and to engage with current users!

If you’re not familiar with it, Pokémon Go is a free app-based augmented reality game that has people of all ages out and exploring their environments this summer as they capture and train Pokémon. Chances are, you’ve seen patrons with smartphones exploring your library spaces in new ways while they search for digital creatures.

School Library Journal recently published a rundown of the game, how it works, the privacy and safety implications, and ways that libraries are getting in on the trend. There are easy and free ways for libraries to get involved, including posting about the game on social media. Academic and public libraries across North Carolina are using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to post about the game while also promoting their collections, spaces, events, and services.


Libraries are also creating digital content about Pokémon Go, like the PokéGuide: Pokémon GO @ FIULibraries, as well as physical displays of collections, like the San Jose Library PokéStop featured below that showcases Pokémon themed media from the collection.


Vineland PokeStop by San Jose Library on [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Are you using Pokémon Go for fun, at work, or both? Tell us about it!

-Jenny Dale, Chair, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, July 29 for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Free Friday: Highlight and Annotate the Web with Hypothesis

Welcome to a new series here on the NCLA Technology and Trends blog: Free Fridays! For July and August of 2016 (and maybe beyond – let us know what you think!), Technology and Trends Board Members will share free tools that we use and love each and every Friday. Subscribe or add us to your feed to keep up with the series!

For our inaugural Free Friday, let’s take a look at Hypothesis! According to their About us page, Hypothesis “leverages annotation to enable sentence-level critique or note-taking on top of news, blogs, scientific articles, books, terms of service, ballot initiatives, legislation and more.” Here’s a screenshot of an annotation that a Hypothesis user added to their About Us page. Meta!


I started using this tool last summer when I was taking an online professional development course that involved lots of reading on the web – blogs posts, webpages, online articles, PDF documents, Word documents, etc. With Hypothesis, you can highlight and annotate all of these formats directly in your web browser.

I’m primarily a Google Chrome user, and Hypothesis is extra easy with Chrome – you can download a Chrome extension to launch anytime you want to annotate. In the image below, you can see the logo for the extension in the Chrome toolbar as well as the icons for annotation on the right, near the scroll bar.


Since it’s a web tool, Hypothesis works with other browsers as well – you can simply get a “bookmarklet” from their website and add it to your browser’s toolbar, then click it to launch the tool whenever you want to use it. If you have your own website and want to get feedback, you can also add Hypothesis to encourage people to highlight and annotate your site. Maybe something fun for all you usability testers out there to try!

Hypothesis does require an account, but it’s free and lets you keep track of your past annotations. You can see my annotation stream below:


The first two entries in my stream are simply highlights, while the third, from August 15, 2015, includes a highlight and my own personal note. You might notice the lock icon and the “Only me” designation. With Hypothesis, you can designate your highlights and annotations to be public or private. Public annotations are great for starting a conversation, but I often use the private setting so that I can easily keep track of my own notes.

Highlighting or annotating is a two-step process.

Step one: Select the text on the screen that you want to either highlight or annotate.


Step two: Choose either annotate or highlight. When you choose annotate, you get the option to add your notes and choose whether you want them to be public or private.


Hypothesis has been a great tool for me to use to keep track of professional reading. If you’ve tried it, share how you use it below!

-Jenny Dale, Chair, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, July 8 for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Films on Demand webinar! 6/29 at 2pm

Exploring Films on Demand: Streaming Video from NC LIVE

Do you want to learn more about NC LIVE’s Films on Demand streaming video


Participants will learn about the content provided, key features of the platform, and benefits to patrons, students, faculty, and library staff. After the webinar you should feel comfortable using the platform and informing your patrons and colleagues about the Films on Demand resource.

This webinar will be on Wed., June 29th at 2pm

If you’d like to register for this informative and FREE presentation, go to:

We hope to “see” you then!