Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Annotating with Skitch

I have always been a big (ok, huge) fan of sticky notes -- yes, the yellow squares of paper that you can write on and stick anywhere -- I love them.  Plain and simple.  I think it's because I tend to come up with random thoughts, questions, or connections and love to have a spot to jot them down and stick them so I can come back to them later.  Or, maybe it's because they're so small that you have to limit to-do lists to bare essentials and abbreviate notes with shorthand and symbols.

Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that I also enjoy incorporating sticky notes into lessons I teach at school.  One of my favorite ways to use sticky notes with students has been to facilitate students' interaction with a text -- by taking notes / annotating what they read, and then sticking the notes to the text (or textbook) for easy reference at a later time.

This practice makes for quick note checks (did you get 5 notes on that topic?), formative assessments (turn in your most important note on this topic), reorganization of ideas (try flip-flopping your 2nd and 3rd sticky notes), recording collective brainstorming (write what you already know about this topic and stick it on the board), etc... (for more innovative and impressive uses of sticky notes in the classroom, check out this Edutopia blog post by Ben Johnson: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/sticky-note-teaching-tool-ben-johnson).

But, I have come across a few important limitations with sticky notes in the classroom --
  1. sticky notes eventually loose their sticky-ness
  2. sticky notes can be a great record of learning, but are difficult to share with those outside of our classroom
image: http://inthelifeofanerd.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/skitch.jpg

So, I did some checking and soon discovered...there's an app for that! (actually there are several great annotation apps out there!) 

Skitch happens to be my favorite iPad annotation app to use with students because it is very easy to pick up and use and is also very easy to share and save.

First step:
Students select the background image they would like to annotate.  They can use a photo, map, blank screen, or capture an image from the web.

Second step:
Students use the annotation tools (arrow, text, shapes, highlighter/marker, pen color, blur, crop) to take notes and annotate the text or photo to show thoughts, ideas, questions and / or connections.
From: Great Source ACCESS History - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

From: National Geographic Explorer, Pioneer Edition. January, 2013

Third step:
Students save their annotation, either to the iPad to to their Evernote account.

Fourth step:
Students share their annotation:
  • create a public link (post on blog, class website, Twitter, Facebook, etc)
  • via AirPlay (project and display)
  • send in an email (classmates, family, friends, teachers, etc)
  • save to the iPad's camera roll

Skitch provides students with a meaningful way to annotate and interact with a photo or text, while also providing options for both saving and sharing the annotations on a grander scale.  Sorry, sticky notes....Skitch's got you beat this time!

How do you use Skitch with students?  Do you use a different annotation app?  Leave your ideas in the comments section!

My next app-y goal: use HaikuDeck with students as a medium for sharing their learning...looking forward to trying it out!

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