Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Google Drawings with Chrome Remote Control for a Kickoff Activity

At my high school of 2000 students, we have adopted many common classroom structures so that students moving between classes will not have to do any more code switching than is already required of them by the subjects themselves. One of these structures is a kickoff activity that begins immediately at the start of class before any preamble.

In physics, we frequently ask our students to draw annotated diagrams. 'Draw an annotated diagram,' is one of the common prompts on IB exams, and we use the kickoff as an opportunity to practice doing this. Since we are one to one with Chromebooks enrolled in our GAFE domain with Teacher Dashboard sitting on top, we ask them to use Google drawings to make their annotated diagrams. It is amazing what the students have learned to do by layering simple shapes and extending line segments.

With the Teacher Dashboard Chrome extension that allows for remote control, and snapshot-viewing of student browsers, we can see what the students are drawing as they draw it. Toward the end of the kickoff, I will scan the student drawings (all visible on a single web-page as thumbnails), identify very quickly what misconceptions exist in the class, decide if I must re-teach the concept altogether, or simply pick my focus for a debrief.

For example, today I asked students to draw free body (force) diagrams (example above) of two steel marbles; one dropped from the height of one meter, the second launched horizontally from the same. Since the prompt specified that both objects should be in mid flight, many students (including the one who did the drawing above) aired a common misconception that the horizontal force lingers after launch. I decided to focus my debrief on that exact misconception because I quickly identified that 15 of my 32 students held this belief.

There are still things that are better drawn by hand than with a mouse. For now, to maintain a digital record of all student work, we ask students to use the built-in camera on their Chromebooks to take snapshots of their drawings and insert them into a document, site or blog.

Email me if you would like more information about how to take advantage of Google Drawings and Remote Control of Chromebooks at


  1. Мне легче писать по-русски. Очень близкие темы, поэтому решил написать. Я преподаю физику в Нижегородском государственном техническом университете (22000 студентов).
    У нас есть видеоканал, на который я выкладываю свои ролики по физике http://Youtube/com/KOHOHOB. Студенты выкладывают свои ролики на видеоканале университета
    Под веб-камерой рисуем от руки рисунки прямо в Youtube.
    Yам можно подумать о каком-то совместном проекте, который поможет нашим студентам работать в одной команде. Сравним наши программы по физике...

    1. Here is your translated comment..
      "I find it easier to write in Russian. Very similar topic, so I decided to write. I teach physics in Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University (22,000 students).
      We have a video channel on which I post their videos on physics http://Youtube/com/KOHOHOB. Students post their videos on the video channel of the University
      Under webcam draw freehand drawings directly in Youtube.
      Yam can think about a joint project that will help our students to work in a team. We compare our programs in physics ..."

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  2. Alexander, thank you for your response, and thank goodness for Google translate. I checked out the first link, but it was bad for some reason. I could see the second one, however. Your university has made available many resources to the students through video. Fantastic.

    You mentioned a collaborative project for Physics. We will begin a month long project in Physics on energy conservation or maybe global warming. Perhaps our students could exchange videos?


    Александр, спасибо за ваш ответ, и слава богу для Google Translate. Я проверил первую ссылку, но это было плохо по некоторым причинам. Я видел второй, однако. Ваш университет сделал доступными многие ресурсы для студентов через видео. Fantastic.

    Вы упомянули о совместном проекте по физике. Мы начнем месячного проекта по физике на сохранение энергии или, может быть глобальное потепление. Возможно, наши студенты могли бы обмениваться видео?

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