Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Low Learning: Dragging Labels

Drag and label a cell
Low Learning: Dragging Labels

Consider the Amount of Learning

The name of the game is learning, but we should ask “how much learning is that?” Sometimes there is a focus on assigning rather than a focus on learning. We sometimes mistakenly think we need to assign something (I am totally guilty of that), but if the amount of learning that comes out of it is low then why assign it? Kids don’t just need to do something, they need to engage with it. And that does not have to entail filling anything out.

Drag and label a cell

Dragging and Labeling

I saw a Google Drawing with text boxes on the side that the student would drag to label the picture. Why? Not a lot of learning comes out of it. The student doesn’t even need to recall the terms they are “labelling.”

This is a case where we are using tech. Not a case where we are enhancing learning. Oh, look at this cool thing I made in Google Drawing. Okay sure, but let’s also ask why is this cool thing good for learning? The person doing the work is the person doing the learning, so the teacher creating text boxes for the students to drag reduces the amount of student learning.

Whose Grading That?

Labeling things on a Google Drawing is low learning to begin with but also would require manual grading. This is not a good use of teacher time. The amount of learning that comes out of teacher time spent grading the labels is zero. Students stopped caring about that activity after they dragged the labels.

High likelihood it’s perceived by students as busy work. Sure, students may be initially more engaged dragging labels on a Google Drawing than filling them out in on a piece of paper. That is only due to the initial novelty. Don’t mistake this for an engaging activity.

Self Grading

For things such as labelling or identifying it would be preferable to use a tool that does the grading. There are many simulations that exist that would be better than dragging text boxes. Try doing a search for “simulation ___ ” and whatever you’re having students label. Probably can find something already made, designed to be interactive, and self-grading.

Suggestion to have students take screenshots to submit their work. Try SlideShot Chrome extension to have students capture screenshots of their work and present the screenshots in Google Slides.

Search for It

New tools are developed all the time. Try a Google Search for “Create drag and drop quiz.” Find tools that will make for more active engagement and grade for you.


Quizlet is one tool that will do the grading for the students.
Quizlet Drag and Drop

Sugar Cane

sugarcane.com allows you to take one set of data and create 18 different game types.
sugarcane dragging


Have the students create a Thinglink. Rather than simply labelling a diagram, ask students to make choices for how they will describe that level. They could record a short video of themselves to insert as a point on the Thinglink, they could create the label in a creative way, they could find a YouTube video that describes that element, they could link to a Wikipedia page. Let the students make some choices.


One way to bring coding into any classroom is to use Scratch or Scratch Jr.  Kids can design a game or a story that demonstrates their knowledge of the vocabulary words they would be using to label.
scratch rock paper scissors


Desmos allows students to explore math. Desmos has several different tools that allow students to interact with math, drag and match, predict and check, and find patterns. Go to teacher.desmos.com for pre-made activities that you can assign to students.
Polygraph rational numbers


With Formative you can assign students an activity such as writing or drawing and view all students working in live time in a grid.
Go Formative watch students work

© 2024 All Rights Reserved.