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Google Drawings

Google Drawings is a virtual board that allows users to create content by drawing, pasting images, linking videos and websites, and inserting text, shapes, tables, and other content onto a page in Google Drive. Users can create flow charts, diagrams, concept maps, visual storyboards, original art, and more.  This app is available free of charge to anyone with a Google account. Users can collaboratively work on the same Drawing at the same time. This means students can collaborate on the same drawing from different computers at different locations. Drawings can be shared via a link or embedded into a webpage (by selecting “Publish to the web” in the file menu). Collaborators can edit and leave comments on the document.  If you are looking for a tool to help engage students and foster collaboration and creativity, this is a great tool for students to visually construct and demonstrate their knowledge.

Tool Snapshot

Price Free
Learning Social constructivism
Ease of Use ★★★★☆
Privacy ★★★☆☆
Accessibility ★★★★☆
Class Size Unlimited
ISTE*S Knowledge Constructor, Creative Communicator, Global Collaborator
FERPA/COPPA No FERPA/COPPA policy found. Check with your school IT administrator

Impact on Student Learning

Because of its design students are able to collaborate, create, communicate, and engage in learning.  What is particularly great about this app is that it allows students to work on the same document at the same time from different locations. They can edit, add, remove, and comment on content simultaneously. This app really has the ability to place students back at the center of their own learning.

Ease of Use

This app is incredibly intuitive, I was able to navigate around it and produce the products that I wanted with no prior introduction to the app via tutorial or help desk. This app can be accessed through any browser and on any device with internet access, but it is much easier to edit the drawings on tablets and computers because of the larger screen. It is free and easy to access for anyone with a google account, which is a major plus in my book.

Accessibility

This is app is very accessible for screen readers and braille displays, Google provides several pages of step-by-step directions to enable these adaptations in Google drawings.

Class Size

This app doesn’t have a set number of individuals who can use it, and it is free. Honestly, depending on your particular project there really isn’t a size limit for this app, although I probably wouldn’t recommend having 400 people editing one drawing.

Privacy

This is really the only downside to Google drawings that I can find. Google does not break down exactly what information they collect from which apps, but their overall privacy policy and terms of use is enough to give one pause when deciding whether or not to use this app. They collect data from you once you have an account. Google also assures users the content in Google is their own, but later states that the content also belongs to Google which certainly makes for a bit of copyright confusion in my opinion. I will note that if you are using Google Drawings through Google Apps for Education the privacy policy is more protective for students.

Google Drawings Overview Video

Image preview of a YouTube video
Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-uvHf

***See video transcript here***

Google Drawings & the SAMR Model

Learning Activities

Math 

Have students present statistical information in graphical displays and link outside sources to their page. Or, use Drawings for geometry lessons - have students manipulate the shapes to determine what characteristics remain constant for each shape and which ones can change (e.g., a rectangle vs. a parallelogram vs. a trapezoid).

Science 

Have a group of students research and compile information on a particular topic, including images, graphs, videos, websites, and text, and present it to the class.  Ask the audience, community members, and/or parents to leave questions on the page for the student presenters to answer.

English/Language Arts

Have your whole class deconstruct a character, scene, or book together by producing a visual storyboard or comic strip with images, and linked videos, text, and other resources explaining historical relevance, imagery, character development, etc… that can be shared with the class at the end of the lesson.

Social Studies

Have students create an interactive timeline compiling images, videos, text and other resources explaining how events contributed to one another and progressed over time. Students could also annotate an image deconstructing how different aspects of the image illustrate different themes in that time period.

Other

Create a visual board about a field trip or vacation. Have students prepare a drawing to introduce themselves to the class at the beginning of the year. Create a visual organizer before writing a paper and have other students provide comments and feedback. Google drawings is a great tool to create and alter graphic art.  

Resources

Google Drawings Basics (by The Bespectacled Librarian)

Image preview of a YouTube video
Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-FIIu

Research

Harmon, O., & Szarka, R. (2018). Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises. Journal of Economics Teaching, 2(2), 68-78.

Ward, A., & Blanchfield, M. (2018). Undoing “Banking” Education: Using Google Drawings to Strengthen Engagement. Art Education, 71(5), 27-33.

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