Skitch

Today, I would like to introduce a new tool called Skitch. Skitch is a very simple way to annotate pretty much any document you want. Basically, it is used with evernote, another program used to take notes and create documents but today. My point today is to bring Skitch to your attention. It is a tool you can use with Windows, Mac or with a tablet.

If you want a brief overview of what Skitch can do, watch this video.

However, for those of you who are more interested in this tool and want to know what it can do, here are certain aspects of it. You can find all this information on the Evernote website :

1. You can create a new picture (by taking a picture with your tablet for example), use an existing one or just work from a blank page. You can also draw on map if you want to give indications.

2. To annotate a picture, a map … You just have to use the toolbar provided and it is very intuitive. It looks like paint but with a bit more options and of course, works on any document. There are different kinds of annotations, going from simple shapes to writing text. With Pixelate you can darken private areas of a picture or text. You can also highlight text, which is cool.

3. Once an annotation has been created, you can modify it. You can duplicate it, change its size, its color…

4. You can easily share and save your annotations on an evernote account and by using the sharing toolbar.

You can also watch this tutorial for a more information and applications.

Applications for Teaching :

Skitch can be used in different ways by teachers. For example, Steve lai proposes ways of using Skitch with his projector and his ipad to show different items to his class by pointing them and writing their equivalent in the student’s first language. He can also save them so the students can revise these annotations and he can also send it to parents.

Laura on Elearning Laura also loves this tool and uses it with her IWB and with Apple Tv as a drawing and annotation tool. She shows that it can easily tool with classes that have IWBs.

Personally I think it is really easy to use in a classroom. You can use it to show different items on a student’s assignment. For example, when I give feedback on certain assignments, I can just go to the students with my ipad and circle the different items that need to be improved and it is automatically saved on Evernote. However, you have to keep in mind that students need to have an evernote account and evernote, even if it is a great way, is sometimes not the best software but that is another issue.

On the Inquisitr, the author presents 18 ways to use this tool. We have already covered a lot of them but what is interesting is that he brings it to the social networking level and indeed, in teaching, you could use it to give feedback easily with students or even comment a project on social networks. As he points it out , students can also use it for asking questions or taking instant notes. For example, a teacher could ask a students to point the different parts of a narrative with this tool. Many things can be done.

Negative aspects :

On several blogs, however, users are complaining after the last update of the program. Unfortunately,  I did not get the chance to use the older version but some say that the creators have left out certain aspects to make more simple, leaving certain interesting features out. This blog is one example of these comments.

Another common comment is that it does not push the practicality enough. Indeed, softwares like photoshop can do better just as CNET proves it. However, for applications in Education and in ESL contexts, I believe the simple and intuitive touch that some complain about is what makes it valuable for teachers. We are not there to heavily modify pictures but to give quick annotations for students to follow and to give us visual cues and easy sharing. I think that from this aspect, it is a great tool.

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