How I Use It
Part of the Google Drive toolbox, Google Drawings is an often-overlooked workhorse that can transform the types of materials teachers and students can create. I have used this tool with students to create drawings by arranging shapes and labeling imported images. By changing the canvas size, students have created digital posters and illustrated timelines by layering images, shapes, word art, and text. Using the different options for publishing to the web and saving to the clipboard, users can import their drawings into other Google apps. This is especially powerful in Google Slides. If I publish a drawing to the web, I can set it as the background in a slide using the URL. Saving to the clipboard allows me to create drag and drop slides where students can manipulate the pieces. When using these two options together, I can create a static background in one step and then layer movable parts on it in the second step. Note, this works best if the drawing canvas is set to 16:9 ratio. Like other Google apps, Drawings can be easily shared with others as viewers or collaborators.
Google Drawings is sometimes given less respect than other apps in Drive. Although the drawing tools are sufficient, they are not very robust. But rather than focusing on what the app can’t do, I like to focus on what it can do. The ability to customize your canvas size, to use the off-canvas area as a holding zone for elements that will be added later, to publish to the web and generate a URL for your drawing, to save to clipboard and import your drawing into another Google app and still retain the ability to move and manipulate images, and to share and collaborate with others. This is where Google Drawings shows its real strength and the reason why it has become one of my favorite tools to use with students. There are so many different aspects to Drawings that students may get overwhelmed if they try to absorb too much at once. I assign activities that use Drawings in different ways so that students can learn to use a few features at a time while building on skills they already have.