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Step up your learner comprehension with annotations in Google Drawings and Docs

Step up your learner comprehension with annotations in Google Drawings and Docs

Annotation is an essential skill that helps learners analyze academic content and develop their critical thinking and comprehension of a topic. When learners thoughtfully take notes as they read a text, analyze a document by highlighting important ideas, write down questions, identify unknown words and paraphrase sections in their own words, it helps them better understand and concentrate. Online annotation allows students to engage with course materials digitally and promotes higher learning and student achievement. 

Using online annotation in the classroom can also be an excellent teaching tool for educators, allowing them to create customized digital documents that they can incorporate into their learning activities. Teachers can integrate digital annotation into their lessons to strengthen student understanding by incorporating annotated images in Google Drawing and Google Docs. Here are some ideas on how you can use annotation in Google Drawings and Google Docs to enhance your own lessons and a guide to the steps involved in the process. 

How can teachers incorporate the use of online annotation with Google Drawings and Google Docs into their lessons?

Teachers can incorporate learning tasks that require learners to annotate a Google Drawing within a Google Doc for any subject area. For example, a teacher could first create a Google Doc containing the directions for a particular assignment. Then, they could link a Google Drawing for students to access or have a student insert their own Drawing with the desired content (such as a customized infographic, map, document, diagram, etc.), and have them use online editing tools to annotate what they are studying. 

For instance, a history teacher could post a map of the United States during the Civil War era into Google Drawings and have students annotate the document and identify critical battlegrounds or landmarks by inserting shapes, text boxes, links, and other editing tools to demonstrate their understanding. A science teacher could insert a Drawing that contains the water cycle, and have students label and explain the process in the document electronically. A math teacher could post a link to a math problem, and a student could solve the problem and annotate the steps they used to figure it out using arrows, shapes, text boxes, etc. An English or foreign language teacher could insert a short text or poem into a Drawing, and have students annotate it to identify the theme or figurative language. 

After creating the Google Doc assignment and linking the Google Drawing to be annotated, teachers could post their lesson or an entire unit that utilizes the learning activity in Hāpara Workspace. This space serves as a place for online learning to help students access online content in an organized webpage that houses all the necessary learning resources for a specific lesson, unit or project. A teacher can separate a Hāpara Workspace into four sections: 

  • One in which the learning objectives are stated so students understand the expected outcomes and goals of the task
  • A column where students can access resources such as note documents, videos, articles, etc. to help develop their understanding of the learning topic
  • A column in which students can access, annotate, complete and submit the assignment
  • A final column for rubrics or project examples so students understand the expectations of the learning goals

Steps to annotating images with Drawings in Google Docs

There are so many creative and engaging ways that teachers can have students digitally annotate online with Drawings in Google Docs, but how exactly can you create this activity? 

  1. First, make a Google Doc for the assignment you want to create by clicking the ‘New’ button on the left side of your Google Drive and selecting the blue Google Doc option. Don’t forget to title the assignment appropriately, then type the directions you want your students to follow.

2. To insert an image, click the “Insert” option and select “Drawing.” From there, you can either select a Drawing you have previously created from your Google Drive or add a new Drawing and search for Google images.

3. To add a new Drawing, select “New,” then click on the image icon (found on the far right on the toolbar) within the Drawing. You can upload an image from your computer or perform a Google search to find the desired image. Click “select” when you find the image you want to use.

  1. You can then annotate the image by inserting arrows and text boxes to label and explain ideas. Click the toolbar, and select the “Line” icon to draw arrows to label the image and write descriptions by inserting a “Text box” into the Drawing. 
  2. If you need to make any changes or corrections to your Drawing, you can go back to the document and make adjustments by selecting the “Edit” button.

Now, you are ready to begin implementing this engaging and productive tool into your classroom lessons!

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