Even though I love teaching online, I have to admit that I really miss the spontaneity of the physical classroom — things like creating groups by shuffling the tables around, throwing out markers to students, and urging them to come write on the whiteboard, teaching vocabulary with all-time classic Hangman. Therefore, I smash the bookmark button like nobody’s business whenever I find an online resource to spice things up and open up the dynamics of the classroom. Recently, I came across such a website. Hence: here’s how to play Pictionary online
What is Drawasaurus and How do I Use It?
To answer the first question: It’s essentially a free online Pictionary. You know, the game where you pick a word (from a top hat, if done right) and then, pen in hand, to the best of your abilities try to draw the word with the constant din of the other participants trying to guess what your artistic genius is about to illustrate.
Drawasaurus helped me to recreate the chaotic fun that is Pictionary in an online environment. Granted, you won’t have students jumping up and down on their chairs, shouting their guesses (or at least you won’t see them do it), but it’s still a way to spice things up when you find yourself leaning a bit too much on your go-to activities.
It’s easy to set up and get started. I’ve had two distinct use cases — one with smaller classes where it’s basically a set-and-forget kind of affaire and one with larger classes where I’ve opted for dividing into smaller groups and having several games running simultaneously. Let’s take a closer look at both options:
On your first visit to the website, you will be prompted to write a nickname. Pick one, and move on.
The next step is to create a room. Click the button and set “Room Type” to “Private”. Pick a name and password. That’s basically it. Easy-peasy, right? Once you’ve hit “Start Playing!”, you can copy the URL and share it with your students along with the password and get to drawing.
If you want to get into the nitty-gritty, you can open up the custom settings before starting your game. Here you can add your own set of words (a great way to practice a specific set of vocabulary), change the number of rounds per game, drawing time, and word choices. For weaker student groups, I always bump up the latter a couple of notches.
A Metric Butt-ton of Students
Or at least too many students for one single group
Whenever I use this game in the classroom, I make sure to join the game myself, which is easy enough if all students are in the same game. With several games running, it gets a bit trickier and I end up juggling between a handful of open browsers. Yes, you’re gonna need several different browsers, or at least different tabs running in private mode as Drawasaurus caches your nickname, thus preventing you from running more than one game at a time.
Hope your students get their Michelangelo on. Please share your favourite online ed-games in the comments. I’m always looking to expand my arsenal.
Disclosure: I’m not in any way affiliated with the team behind Drawasaurus.