Drawing Tools for Deeper Learning

Free online drawing tools are becoming more and more sophisticated and easier to use. Google Draw is a good example of an easy-to-use and versatile drawing tool. Other tools out there include bubbl.us, Gliffy, and Draw Anywhere.

Online drawing tools allow you to use your mouse and keyboard to create lines and shapes in combination with images, icons, and text. You can draw free-hand or you can grab pre-made shapes (arrows, circles, stars, etc.), put them in your drawing, and then re-size them, change their colors, and so on.


In terms of supporting students' thinking and learning, drawing tools have a number of intriguing affordances:
  • drawing tools can provide opportunities for students to process information (and play with it!) using their spatial intelligence as well as their verbal intelligence;
  • drawing tools can help students see the structural aspects of a problem, drawing attention to the key steps in a process or the key components of a system and how they may fit together (instead of getting lost in all the little details);
  • drawing tools can spark curiosity and trigger new ways of looking at material that students have already encountered in a different format;
  • drawing tools can provide scaffolding for small group and large group discussion about complex topics (e.g., as they interact with a shared drawing students can sustain a discussion about how to sequence points in a paragraph, about the stages in an insect's life cycle).

Examples of Drawing Tools in Action

Using Google Draw to scaffold thinking about how to organize ideas in a paragraph:

Using Google Draw to deepen learning about the circulatory system:

Using Google Draw to reinforce learning of stages in the rock cycle:

Tracy & Andrea's Drawing Sandbox

Michelle & Cindy L.'s Drawing Sandbox

Paul & Cindy M.'s Drawing Sandbox

Jill & Lyn's Drawing Sandbox

Anne S. & Tammy's Drawing Sandbox

Beth & Amber's Drawing Sandbox

Kevin & Anne W.'s Drawing Sandbox

Carmen & Dana's Drawing Sandbox