One of my favorite digital tools for making game-based learning experiences, quests, and remote learning challenges for my students is, without a doubt, Google Drawings. The first thing to note is that you can’t ACTUALLY draw on a Google Drawing. Ok… now that we’ve cleared that up, let me explain just how flexible it is. In fact, it actually makes feel like the sky is the limit with my creativity — not to mention the fact that it’s FREE and included in your G Suite set of tools.
Here are my top 5 reasons for LOVING Google Drawings:
- A FAMILIAR LEARNING CURVE: Because Drawings is one of the many powerful G Suite tools, you will find that your skills in Slides and Docs carry over real nicely to Google Drawings. Think about a Drawing as a single Slide. All the same parameters, shortcuts, and embedded features you love are right there for you! (Yes, the “Explore” tool is just as handy inside Drawings.)
- YOU CAN RESIZE IT TO ANY DIMENSION: Once my dear friend, Trisha Sanchez, showed me how to resize the canvas to 8.5×11″ (Thanks, Girl!), my mind was BLOWN! I totally understood that a Drawing is just as empowering as a blank sheet of paper. I wasn’t constrained to the 4:3 dimensions it gives you by default. So, now I resize it to 11×17″ when I’m designing an infographic, or 1:1 when I want a square canvas, and so on. Own your canvas and create!
- LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS!: I want you to think of a Google Drawing as a limitless stack of invisible paper. Each time you add something to the drawing, whether it’s a text box, image, background color, link, title, word art, or anything else, you are adding an invisible piece of paper onto the whole drawing. This means that you can add super cool dimensions and story to your drawing by stacking, moving features to the front or to the back, inserting a still JPG on top of an animated GIF… omg the possibilities are endless.
- THE MAGICAL GRAY AREA ALL AROUND THE CANVAS: You many think the gray area around the white canvas is just filler, but it is a canvas in and of itself. You can add text boxes and images to the gray area just like you might add to the Drawing itself. So, play with it and see how you can create a different role for the canvas and the gray area that you haven’t thought of before.
- FORCED COPIES FOR ALL MY LEARNERS: Like the other G Suite tools, you can force a copy of a Google Drawing so that your students own a copy to manipulate and make their own. This is SO HELPFUL for Google Drawings and it’s super engaging. By leveraging the gray area to hold directions and providing some structure on the canvas, you can inspire your students to create their own interpretation of the Drawing and share it with other students.
Here are some of my Google Drawing game boards and Hyper-Drawings I’ve created in the past. Maybe you have some of your own. I’d love to see them!! Comment or post on social media using #buoyup and let’s keep this convo going!