Mimio, Promethean, SMART . . . all powerful and effective tools for designing activities for your Interactive whiteboard or projector. But easy?? This one is debatable. I have worked with many teachers who are reluctant to use these devices because they simply don't get the software that runs them. Truthfully, the time it takes to create these lessons is often just not worth the time it takes for your students to actually do them. Then there's the whole matter of where to save those lessons once they're made. On your computer? In the cloud? On the server somewhere? With so many reasons not to do it, it's no wonder many people are just using their interactive devices as really, really expensive whiteboards or projectors. But what if there was something simpler? And something that you already knew how to use? And something that's saved . . . in your Drive . . . forever?
Google Drawing, one of my very favorite tools in the Google Apps suite, is the perfect platform for creating interactive lessons. First of all, the gray space around the "canvas" is actually useable. Throw words, shapes or images out there for students to "grab" and drab onto the workspace. Second, the canvas itself can be made into any size you'd like. Square, tall and skinny, long and lean; whatever size you need, it can be made. Finally, because Google Drawings are collaborative AND cloud-based, you can share your creations with your students, your teaching partners, or even the world.
While I am going to explain how to create a lesson designed to be used on an interactive whiteboard-type device, the same "interactive" activity could also be assigned to individual students using a shared link or even through Google Classroom. All of the Googley sharing rules apply here - just share!
To create an interactive lesson, here's what to do:
**It might take a couple of tries to get the hang of where to click when dragging shapes around the screen; just be patient. Your students will figure this out quickly!
Here are some other sample activities I have used with classes - grab your very own copies by clicking on the links below: