Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Google Classroom: Add Images of Analog Work

Google Classroom: Add Images of Analog Work

google classroom insert image

Use Google Classroom to turn in digital and non-digital work. Using the Google Classroom mobile app students can simply take a picture and submit the picture of their analog work directly to Google Classroom. Using a Chromebook takes a little more effort, but is still pretty easy!


Direct students to click on the “Open” button on the assignment and click on the “Create” button. Depending on if they are submitting one image or multiple images, they should choose “Drawing” or “Presentation.” I suggest for the most part that they use Google Slides presentation.

Students will want to put their name and a description on the title slide and then insert a blank slide.

Insert Image

On a Google Doc when you insert an image, you have multiple options for how you want to insert your image. Along the top you have options to upload, take a snapshot, by URL, from your photo albums, from your Google Drive or to search for images on Google Images. Instruct students to choose “Take a snapshot.”
Google Docs add image by snapshot

Students will hold their work up to the webcam. Using a document camera is also a great way to capture images of student analog work. I recommend the iPevo document camera. It is a USB camera that works great with Chromebooks.
Google Docs insert snapshot


When looking at the SAMR model, this is substitution. Students are doing the exact same task but using digital tools to submit. Sometimes substitution is the right answer and is a great place to start when using digital tools.


Kick this assignment up a notch by asking students to add slides where they explain their thought process. This again is the same task, since students can certainly explain their thought process on paper, but using slides makes this process a little more efficient. This is also a great way to get going with the Common Core. Asking students to always explain what they are doing rather than simply following algorithms.


The standards for mathematical practice apply to all subject areas. See my article on Edutopia for suggestions on teaching the mathematical practices in all subject areas. One of the mathematical practices is to “critique the reasoning of others.” Now that student work is digital, students can easily share their documents with other students. Students can insert comments on individual slides to critique the reasoning of other students. This also makes it significantly easier for teachers to provide students meaningful feedback on their work.
Insert comments on a slides presentation

Click Here for my sample Google Slides

Quarter Sheets

I recommend you keep stacks of quartered sheets of paper all around the classroom. It is significantly easier to hold up a quarter sheet of paper to the webcam than a full piece of paper.

11 thoughts on “Google Classroom: Add Images of Analog Work

  1. What is the best way to annotate/leave feedback on student work submitted this way? I need to be able to circle, draw arrows, make notes, etc on my students’ math work. Thanks!

  2. This is a great idea, and one that anybody with a device with an inbuilt camera, such as an iPad, has been doing for years; take a photo of your teachers’s board notes or your own scribbles and save it to your Evernote, Dropbox, Pages, Word, Drive, Office 365 or eBackpack account.

    The thing that Google Classroom has not and still does not offer however, is the option to drop straight into a ‘class’ that has been automatically created for you; the presence of its ‘classes’ still relies a teacher (or ‘owner’) to manually set them up (and maintain) their memberships; and that’s why schools use any number of alternate LMSs.

    The single most powerful feature of The Google Docs environment remains the ability for collaborators to work remotely and simultaneously on the one document. In terms of the SAMR model, it really does support new ways of doing and thinking that could not be done before. Innovative teachers are taking good advantage of this facility and including links to such documents as they collate their lesson resources within their respective LMSs.

    Keith Vallis

  3. I’m a middle school teacher. The district will not let students take their phones out. I know … policy hasn’t caught up with technology. The Technology Director for my district is going to turn off the web cams on our
    Chrome books. Can you feel the frustration ….? I sent a feature request to Google. Create a feature on the Classroom App for a teacher to select a name from a roster and I snap the picture of the student’s work. The image is then automatically placed in a folder for images in the student’s own drive. That way it takes up no space on my phone or my drive. This should be pretty quick and doable in a class … until the policy changes.

    1. I highly doubt that feature request will be permitted. I am sorry your IT department does not get the needs of the classroom. Keep fighting for what you need in order to teach. Until then, get a tablet for your class and snap pictures with that.

  4. I wish for another feature in Google Slides. I want to make an object clonable. Similar to Smart Notebook. That would be great for algebra tiles. I would not have to worry about making copies and not having enough.

  5. Great strategy! I shared something similar specifically with our math teams earlier this year since all the students have dry erase boards. Work out the problem or show your work and then take a pic. One grade level had students keep a running math doc (like a journal) and would snap pics into the doc to show work.

  6. I ran into the issue of not being able to read the pictures the students submitted because they weren’t clear enough. Also, I use Doctopus and Goobric so I need to have the assignment attached to their GC assignment as one file rather than multiple pictures. Found a solution that works great so I wanted to share! The Genius Scan free app allows you to take pictures, enhance them, and combine the pictures to create a PDF file. From the Genius scan app, you can export the PDF to the Google Classroom app, & then attach the enhanced one file PDF to the Google Classroom assignment. The quality is fantastic! Kid tested and approved! Hope this helps others.

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