Nearly a year ago, Google Docs announced the launch of the stand-alone drawing tool. Instead of opening a normal Google Doc and inserting a drawing, Docs offers the option of opening a single drawing that contains all the sharing and collaborative capabilities of the typical Google Doc application.
To create a collaborative Google Drawing, simply click Create>Drawing. The interface for this drawing tool is nearly identical to that of the insert-able Docs interface. However, there are additional saving and sharing options. To share, users simply click on the appropriate button near the upper-right corner of the window. Options are available to share with others to view or edit. One may select collaborators from their email list or simply open the drawing up to those with the link or anyone.
Once a drawing is shared, users can alter and contribute their own ideas to the drawing. The chat feature that’s available for all Google Docs is also active here. So, collaborators can discuss changes and additions to their drawing. With text, shape, and insertion tools, users can create rich diagrams that go beyond simple drawings. These drawings can stand alone with a unique URL or be downloaded for use elsewhere.
Ideas that would make this collaborative tool useful include…
- Students collaboratively create a timeline, including images with the dates on their graphic.
- As a fun alternative, a chess or checkers board may be set up that players can easily manipulate play pieces. Almost any simple game board could be created using Google Drawings.
- Seating charts or other organizational diagrams useful to classroom management can be created and shared.
- For an interactive whiteboard that’s truly interactive, share a Google Drawing with students and allow them to contribute in real time, keeping them engaged throughout a class discussion.
- Since these docs are embeddable, teachers could embed a drawing in a blog post or on their websites as a brainstorm activity or message board.
- Save chart paper and dry-erase board space typically reserved for parking lots or other brainstorms by sharing a Google Drawing with students to edit.
- If you have more ideas for Google Drawings, add them by editing here and see the results below:
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.