February 5, 2014

Drawp for School: Unleashing Students’ Creativity

This blog was first posted on Jen’s Blog.

The next session I’m attending is given by alumna of my institution, Ransom Everglades School, Ana Albir. She is presenting on the iPad Application, Drawp (Free). Drawp for School is an app that has been in development for seven months and drawn out of the previous app, Drawp for Families ($4.99).

Drawp Sharing Screen Shot

Drawp Sharing Screen Shot

The nice feature of Drawp is that it allows young children to share content without the need of an email address (an issue for students under 13 years old).

Why Drawp?

Students like to share their work and the ubiquity of tablets makes a new arena of creation and different needs for sharing. A drawing or project on an iPad can’t be sent home at the end of the day. Additionally, getting content off of a tablet and distribute it to a teacher can be problematic (especially if schools don’t have email addresses for those particular students or a cloud based solution such as Google Drive). Additionally, in the export process you often lose the ability to edit content. With a 1:1 environment, this can often be fine. However, if you’re in a shared cart model (as many schools are) then you lose the ability to give lengthier assignments that include the revision process. These processes, then, make technology “get in the way” of learning. The objective of Drawp is to get rid of the impediments and facilitate learning.

So Drawp is a creativity tool, with a built-in sharing platform, and an automatic workflow management system for teachers. Draw integrates with Google Drive,

Drawp with "voice stickers" attached.

Drawp with “voice stickers” attached.

DropBox, and the camera roll. You can then annotate and even attach “voice stickers.” The Voice Stickers are my favorite feature as they allow you to record audio and attach it to a specific part of the image. Additionally, everything created on Drawp is backed up on Drawp’s cloud servers. It’s automatically saved and not dependent on the iPad local memory. If you have a system that wipes iPads after each use or can’t guarantee students the same iPad, the content is there and doesn’t have to be reloaded. Also, it’s fully editable! Very cool. If a student wants to share content with a family member, it can go as a text message to the parents. It’s important to note that sharing is asynchronous, so students cannot collaborate live. This may be something that comes in the future. However, because this app is primarily directed to young children collaborative drawing with children can be problematic. However, they may add synchronous sharing in the future.

Teacher Workflow

Teacher Workflow

You can also type information embedded via metadata so that it doesn’t cover up the drawing. Students can use this feature to explain their drawing or to receive feedback from peers or teachers. The teacher dashboard is well organized and easy to navigate. It is sorted by class, assignment, and student. This is a nice feature for workflow! The teacher can type a comment that will be available immediately. Additionally, the teacher can see what students are sharing with others. This is key to ensure appropriate behavior between students as well as to keep an eye on what they are sharing outside (not that students can only share with approved sharing list). Additionally, teachers can see progressive data. So if a student shares something inappropriate and then deletes it, you can still see a thumbnail of it.

In addition to using the set “coloring books” included, you can import your own content. This is great because it means that it moves beyond a coloring app. Chemistry teachers can import the periodic table, geography teachers can include maps of Europe, etc. Because it works with Camera Rolle, DropBox, and Google Drive, you can import a variety of content. Right now content is limited to images but they anticipate rolling out PDF compatibility shortly.

To encourage educational objectives, Drawp includes Common Core tips, provides flexible lesson plans for a variety of grade levels and subject. It also seems to be a good tool for blended learning environments.

Ana also highlights that the app is continuing to evolve. In the next four months they will be rolling out an online platform for lessons, an Android compatible App, the ability to export interactive media to blogs, as well as a book creation platform. If you want to play with the app, and download it by February 15 you get unlimited classes for one year ($99 value). After that there are various subscription levels. You can download the app here.