Just add blank slides: a simple remote teaching idea

source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1428127 – this image is kind of appropriate, and it kind of makes me laugh. The expression on this fellow’s face…

If anyone is looking for a simple “remote teaching” idea, I’d love to talk with you about this simple idea:

  • take the slides you usually use for a topic/lesson
  • insert blank slides between all or most of your slides
  • send the slides as is to students (via google classroom, etc.)
  • tell the students to use the blank slides as a chance to reflect about what they learned/remember based on the previous slide

I know there are teachers out there who have been doing a great job with online instruction, and many of you are using much cooler and more specialized tools. I think the goals in the list above could be done in more sophisticated ways with tools like PearDeck, or Hyperdocs, or many other tools. But if you need a way to take slides you already have and get some remote teaching done FAST, with little further preparation, I think this idea might work.


  • here are some slides I’ve been using with a friend (hi Sarah S!) We use these slides during presentations with teachers. Our goal: help teachers understand how the 3 box model of memory (cognitive load theory) relates to choices we all make during teaching.
  • during this presentation, we stop at strategic points and ask teachers to talk in groups about how they are understanding the memory theories and how they might use the ideas in their teaching.
  • since we won’t get to talk with teachers face to face any time soon, we may be able to adapt this same set of slides quickly into a “remote teaching” format.
  • here’s the new “blank slides” version of the same set of slides. Notice that all I did was add a new intro slide (slide 1) with some generic directions, and add blank slides a strategic spots.
  • the goal: make some very quick additions to slides that I already prepared, get them out to folks and give them the opportunity to THINK about ideas in the slides. This thinking will help them make sense of the ideas and connect them with what they already know (semantic encoding).
  • the next step can be (if you have time) someone looking at what people write on the blank slides, and then following up to correct misconceptions and share great ideas you find. You could simply copy and paste some of what people write on the blank slides and make a new set of slides that includes the best ideas (anonymously or with “credit” to the authors).

I don’t have a classroom, etc. right now so I can’t try this out. If anyone out there wants to talk about this, or use it and tell me what you think, please let me know?

3 thoughts on “Just add blank slides: a simple remote teaching idea

  1. I often create a blank slide show, share it with my students via google classroom, and have them submit quotes for discussion, questions they want to ask the larger group, even links to cool articles or research they have done on their own. Teachers can determine the focus of the upload–like vocabulary, rhetorical devices, or images students have created in their own journals, memes they’ve created, or visuals found online (thinking a discussion of visual argument). The students help “teach” in this way–and they feel like contributors to the discussion and learning of all students. If students are working in partners or small groups, the weight of submission is also taken off the shoulders of students who are not as brave or confident. Plus, I get to save/file away these slide shows for future reference and as examples for the next year’s classes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *