Draw Something is the latest craze in the world of iOS and Android apps. If you have not heard about it the basic premise is that you are given three words to choose from, you then have to draw the word and share your drawing with your friends, who then have to guess the word associated with your drawing. To help, you are given a selection of scrambled letter tiles which include all the letters needed for the word you are trying to decypher from the image plus some others. A screen looks like the following:
The purpose of the game is to earn coins which will enable you to unlock more colours to make your drawings more varied. However this is not the point for education. I think that this game, could be used as fantastic literacy warm up activity for students of any age. Students could all be able to set challenges for each other, so in one session a student could pick up a challenge from one student, guess it and then set another challenge for someone else. All of which would take less than 5 minutes. Using this game in class is a good example of using tablet devices to do more than busy work. By setting word challenges that have to be solved as an image, children are forced to think in terms of homonyms, to think of visual puns and the recipient of the challenge has to do this too and also has the added chalenge of using the letters to decypher anangrams. All of which are higher order thinking skills and make children focus on the meanings of words, great for vocabulary building and fun to boot.
As you earn more coins you can also unlock more words which get progressively harder and each challenge is graded as a one, two or three coin challenge. I have been playing this game with four others for a couple of weeks now and in all of that time I have only found one word which may cause some slight concern for a teacher and hilarity for the students. This app is a good example of how a tablet, or iOS device can be integrated into an existing class programme and have identified learning outcomes related to the curriculum and at the same time engage students in a task they will find engaging and authentic.