Friday, May 16, 2014

The use of Google Drawing to Reserach, Organize, & Present Learning in Social Studies

In Social Studies my students are learning about the Desert, Rain Forest, Mountain, and Arctic regions. We just finished learning about the Desert region and I would like to share what we did and the great learning that took place.

We started off by talking about what we think we know about the desert. The students had a lot to say about the following: lack of water, not much vegetation, lots of sad! After a brief discussion I showed them a brief "Wonder World of Science" video to provide them with some basic information about the desert region. Their task after watching the video was to show what they know by recalling information from the video, searching for information off of the Internet, and adding visuals to support the text that would be included in their organizer.

Together, we created an organizer in Google Drawing:

We chose Google Drawing because it is a nice blank slate to work with where the students have access to the built in research tool and drawing and text tools. This is simply a starting point for the students. It provides them with some structure, but they are free to manipulate the organizer to fit with their intentions.

In my opinion, the Google Drawing app doesn't seem to be utilized as much as it could/should be. +Jennifer Magiera, a leader with respect to innovative use of technology in schools and redefining the (digital) classroom, wrote about "3 Google Apps that Deserve more Love" and Google Drawing is the first one she mentions. If Jennifer Magiera agrees with me, that I must be on to something.

Here are some samples of student work:

This one is not complete...but they are working on it (note that they added a new category at the bottom):

The next step is sharing their work with their classmates (quick presentation) and then moving on to the next region of study.

The engagement and discussion I observed as the students worked on learning about the desert and demonstrating their learning was/is astonishing. They use Chromebooks to access GAFE and resources on Internet to support their learning and demonstration of learning. They do their work with purpose and know that they are responsible for explaining their thinking and the processes they followed to achieve their goal. They use each other as resources to navigate the technology and the information they come across. It is truly a pleasure to be with them on this learning journey.

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