Last year I tried a showcase experiment for my students' projects using Photosnack slideshows, and that worked pretty well... but then Photosnack shut down, and I had to come up with something new. As often with tech-evolution, I've ended up with something even better as a result: I'm using Google Slides, and it's working great!
I'm guessing this way of using Slides could be useful to anyone who wants to showcase their students' work in a Canvas page.
HOW I DID IT:
1. Create Google Slideshow. I created a slideshow with Google Slides, and then I created a slide for each student with a screenshot of their website, plus a link to the website below the slide and a link to their blog (that line of text and links is just copied-and-pasted from the class wiki page that lists all the projects alphabetically for each class).
2. Embed Show in Canvas. I created a Page in my Canvas space, and then I embedded the Google Slideshow there, with a custom width of 600 pixels (see screenshot above).
I then used the Redirect app to make the Page part of my class navigation: the student blogs and projects are the most important content in my classes. I also embedded the slideshow in my Announcements blog (it works even at just 200 pixels wide) and in our class wiki pages. Here's how it looks embedded in the blog (which is, yes, embedded in Canvas too: Daily News):
3. Randomize! I found a great Slides Add-On to randomize the slideshow, so once each day, I randomize the slideshow. That way, there is new student work featured at the top of the show each day at random. No favorites; everybody is in the show, and the top of the show is just random.
ADVANTAGES OF GOOGLE SLIDES:
1. Easy to create. It took me maybe two hours to get all this set up for the student projects up and running so far. Some students are running a little behind with their projects, and that's not a problem; I can just add in their slides next week when they get their websites (there will be appx. 90 projects total). The whole process was much quicker than with Photosnack because of the ultra-efficient editing interface in Google Slides. (I use Google tools for all my other content development; I find all the Google tools very congenial.)
2. Easy to update. Students do change their website coverpage design periodically during the semester, and sometimes they change their project title. All I have to do is take a screenshot and replace the image in the slide or change the text on the slide as needed.
3. Easy to combine. When I do updates, I then have to regenerate the combined slideshow which has slides from both classes. It takes literally 30 seconds: just copy-and-paste the slides from Myth and from India into the combined slideshow for both classes. I am really happy about that; Photosnack did not have a copy-and-paste option like that, so last year I did not even have a combined slideshow for both classes. Now I do! And I really need a combined show; that's the one I am displaying in the class announcements blog sidebar, since the announcements are for both classes.
4. Easy to access. I've got a folder of bookmarks in my browser bookmarks bar which gives me access to the editing view and the display view of the three different slideshows (Myth, India, both classes combined). I also have a link to each student's slide in the spreadsheet I use to track all of the work related to managing their projects. So, everything is literally just a click away: slideshow edit, slideshow view, individual slides.
5. Easy to embed. I can update a slideshow in one place, it updates everywhere automatically. EMBEDDING IS ESSENTIAL. Using an embedded slideshow I can have the same slideshow for both sections of my Myth class this semester, and also use the content in multiple contexts: Canvas, blog, wiki. The embedding process in Google Slides is super easy, and I like the customization features for size, speed, and autoplay.
6. Easy to refresh. I was so glad I found that randomizer add-on! I really want the slideshow to be "fresh" and not just the same every time students come to it, especially the version that appears in the Announcements blog. I have daily announcements, and I can also refresh the slideshow with the randomizer at the same time that I do the new announcements.
7. Good model for students. I've already written up an extra credit Google Slides Tech Tip for students who want to experiment with embedding Google Slides in their own blog just like I have done at the class announcements. I really hope someone will give that a try!