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When the first iPad debuted on the scene, a math teacher asked me if there was any way that students could easily sketch math problems within an email message or chat.  Of course, there are some ways – but they require a few steps to get there.

But in December, Google unveiled Scribbles for Gmail, allowing users to add drawings to their electronic messages.  I instantly thought of how Google has provided an easy interface for things that can be sketched more easily than typed – like math and science problems.

Here’s how it works:

In the compose view, users click on the scribble button to open the drawing window:



The drawing is limited to the touchscreen sensitivity of the device, but is quite easy to use.  Images are inserted as .png attachments.

At the moment, this feature is only available in Gmail for the mobile web browser and the Gmail app for iOS.

Scribbles is a compelling reason for school districts to allow student access of Gmail or even setup Google Apps for Education.  But I am excited to think about the future of Scribbles in other products; imagine a sketch tool built-in to Moodle, Edmodo or other similar educational products.

Build it, and watch the math and science teachers flock to it.

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This little story illustrates the absolutely ridiculous nature of Websense – my district’s internet filter.

While perusing through my feeds on Google Reader this morning, I found a link to a New York Times article about how the state of New York is investigating Facebook’s safety rules.

Needless to say, I was websensed. While trying to link to this article, I was blocked. Thinking this was just a fluke, I typed ‘facebook’ into the NY Times search field:


Again, I was blocked by Websense:


To recap, my district’s internet filter is not only blocking Facebook (with which I completely agree), but they are also blocking information about Facebook!

Where am I – the United States or China!

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