Saturday, January 13, 2018

Google Draw - the neglected sibling




For the last several years I have been using Google products for most of my authoring needs. However, my students and I seldom venture outside of the three products that appear when you click that red NEW button on our drives.

Although I also create Forms and have my students create Sites, we have all mostly turned a blind eye to Draw. In fact, up until a few months ago a search of the thousands of documents that I have in my Drive produced maybe 50 or so Draw documents, and those were mostly simple flowcharts or places to host images that I collected to add to Slides and Docs.

This all started changing after I took the "Making Infographics" course at KQED teach. The course itself walked me through the creation process, thinking like a designer, and provided me with many resources for images, icons, fonts and color palettes. From Pixlr to build graphics, to Pexels - a great source of CC0 high def images, to Piktochart - an easy to use infographic maker, the course gave me the tools to start creating.

Now, you may be thinking what does this have to do with Google Draw? Well, once I started on that creative path, I started exploring what I could bring to the classroom. Piktochart, like Canva and Smore (two other sources for creating visually appealing graphics), have two limitations to their use in the classroom - they require an account on the platform and they do not allow multiple editors, or if they do, it cannot be simultaneous. On both those fronts, Google Draw becomes the winner; yes you do need a Google account to use Draw, but most schools have that in place. Before I continue, I do have to give kudos to Canva for two great "side" resources they have - Font Combinations and Color Pallete that you can then use on Google Draw.

Anyway, once it became clear that I would be "limited" to using Draw for creating infographics, I set about figuring out how my students could make them "pretty". Thankfully, many educators and designers have shared their own tips and tricks freely:


 Clickable Google Draw Image

Once you familiarize yourself with the basics, the possibilities that open up are endless.Using Google Draw my students and I have created posters, mind maps and trading cards like the ones you see below.

     

Using the technique discussed in "Embedding a Google Drawing with Clickable Links", I've also used it to create clickable learning paths (below) and even display the ranking system for my gamified classroom, which you see at the top of this post.


Have you found other ways to use Google Draw? I'd love to hear about them.