An app episode.. AFL with Skitch

I have a few “Issues” with adding purchased apps to my department’s iPads at the moment (don’t ask!) so I’m not always able to use them in the classroom in the way I’d like. However, today I ran a successful AFL activity using the built-in camera app and a free app called Skitch. Skitch is basically an annotation, markup and drawing tool which allows work to be integrated with Evernote (who now own Skitch)

The students had been taking photos for an e-safety comic that they will be making in Comic Life, which is also installed on the iPads. Each group of students had all their photos on a single iPad. After each group had taken their photos, I drew the class back together to begin the peer assessment activity.

I demonstrated the basic principles of Skitch – skipping the Evernote sign in – showing the students the basic annotation tools of the app. I modelled a photo taken on my iPad and asked the students for some WWW and EBI comments. We had already done some simple work on “good and bad” photography, looking at the basics of close-ups, the rule of thirds, cropping unnecessary detail etc – (apologies to any cringing Photography or Media teachers out there) so the students had some ideas of what to look for.

There are only a few annotation tools within Skitch, so it didn’t take long to show them how to draw, write and add arrows on top of the photo.

I used the annotation tools to add their feedback to my photo and then showed them how to export the finished Skitch image to the camera roll. It was then the students turn.

I gave the students 3 minutes or to evaluate each set of photos – they viewed the photos on each iPad, using Skitch to add their feedback, before moving on to looking at the images on the next iPad. They had no trouble using Skitch and all the students picked it up in seconds. At the end of the activity each group had time to reflect on comments that had been made on their photos. Each group then mirrored their screens using the Apple TV, and commented on the feedback they had received, using this to identify any changes they would make next week. Sadly I can’t share pictures of their work on here because they feature images of the students.

There are ways I could have improved the activity – we could have agreed on a set colours for the EBI and WWW, to help reinforce a consistent “language for learning”

Had I had time, I would have liked the students to Skitch their own work first before moving on to the peer assessment.

Best of all I would have liked to have NOT skipped the Evernote sync – it would have been a much more ideal outcome to have the annotated work synced to Evernote accounts, so that the students could incorporate it into a notebook set up to for their e-safety projects. Sadly the number of iPads available in school (and the fact that our BYOD policy is still.. shall we say.. under development) means that we are some way short of being able to use Evernote in this way. I hope we will get there one day.

Still I like the fact that a simple activity could be extended in such a way should the opportunity arise in the future.

I also enjoyed seeing the students sharing their work using the Apple TV. I was impressed with the comments they made and they were clearly motivated by this method of providing feedback. There is also no reason why this activity couldn’t be applied to other types of student work (as well as photos), or even carried out in a different way, using different apps. For example, a mirroring app like Reflection could be used instead of an Apple TV, and students could record feedback using Explain Everything.

This would also seem to be an activity that you run on an Android device, since Skitch is available on that platform. You can overcome the Apple TV issue on Android with an app called Twonky and there are other ways of mirroring your Android screen, such as the excellent Double Twist & Air Sync and some more methods given here

Overall a pretty good activity, and I will continue to tweak it and will re-post any new or better. Feedback and ideas would be MOST welcome.

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