If you are anything like me, you have looked for workarounds to add audio to Google Slides for some time. I have embedded Soundcloud links, created YouTube videos with dummy thumbnails. I have even reverted to Powerpoint too. Well, those dark days are coming to an end. On April 2nd, Google announced that they are adding the ability for users to embed MP3 and WAV audio files from Drive into Slides. (For a more granular how-to from Google, click here.)

This update to Google Slides could be huge for language educators: walkthroughs, overviews, student presentations, collaborative presentations, story telling, listening comprehension practice and much, much more. I’ll outline over a dozen ways that language educators can put this new function to use in service of student learning.

  1. Ask all students in a class to respond to a visual prompt. Include all or some on a single slide.
  2. Ditto for a text prompt.
  3. Have students create descriptions or narrations of picture sequences. These could become multimedia graphic novels.
  4. Have students imagine the next scene in a story (board).
  5. Have students create “two truths and a lie” narrations based on a picture prompt. Then rely on classmates to determine which scene is being described.
  6. Mix and match or drag and drop audios onto the corresponding scene.
  7. Create a  flip-grid where student create and drop audios onto certain spaces. These can be imaged as rhetorical spaces–I know, I want to know, I wonder–or grammatical ones–present, past, subjunctive, etc.
  8. Have students create next level scrapbooks that include photos, videos and audio narrations.
  9. Create audio enhanced choose your own adventure stories. The add-audio and internal hyperlinks in Slides would combine to make this possible.
  10. Have students drop audios onto a template–a map, a home, a campus, a city, a landscape–and describe either what is is or what they do there.
  11. Similar to the scenario described above, drop audios onto a map–macro or micro–and have students describe populations, issues, areas, habits, traditions, customs, etc.
  12. Use this new function in Slides to create an interactive picture book based on an existing story.
  13. Use this new function in Slides to create an original interactive story book.
  14. Use audio in Slides to save periodic pronunciation samples over the year.
  15. The G Suite announcement states, “Short audio clips can grab attention…” Use this newly added function to bring music, mantra and more in the classroom.
  16. The G Suite announcement goes on to say, “…longer (audio clips) can set the tone for the entire presentation.” For language classes, this means songs, snippets of speeches and so many other possible resources.

Each of these uses above are easy to make work from any device: phone, tablet, computer, voice recorder. The simplest workflow that I have found for teachers and students looks like this.

This release is scheduled for a gradual rollout in different domains over the course of the month. I have not had the chance to experiment with it yet, however I am really excited about the possibilities to share my voice and find new ways for my students to share theirs.

As functions become available, I will describe more cases and add further details to the ones above.


For more on ways to include original audio in language classes, explore:

All About Academic Audio

Reading Aloud: Finding and Producing ‘Audiolibros’

Pronunciation Practice with Soundtrap

Spanish Class Soundtracks With Soundtrap

Sell It With A Song

Podcasting in the Modern Language Classroom