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Tech Spotlight:
Using what you see

A common question by teachers is, How does one take a screen shot to illustrate a particular point? If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how do I make one of those pictures - especially if I am not an artist or programmer? How does one make one of those cool screen casting videos?

Screen capture & annotation

Print Screen for Basic Screen Capture

If you are on a Windows computer, then the simplest (free) method is to to take a screenshot by pressing the Print Screen key (PrtScn, typically on upper right of standard keyboard). The next step is to Paste the image wherever you want (use Ctrl+V). Paste it into Word, PowerPoint or wherever. You may then want to scale it by holding Shift while dragging the image from the corner. The Shift key constrains proportions. Depending on the program you are pasting into, you may or may not be able to annotate. For example, you can use WordArt in Word.

Ar you on a Mac? Start with Command-Shift-3 to capture whole screen. Instructions on how to customize your Mac screen capture.

If you are on an iPad, then simultaneously hold down your round Home button and the Sleep/Wake button. Either of these actions will Copy the entire screen image. You will then find the image in your Photos app.

Products for Screen Capture with Annotation


TechSmith is a great friend of teachers and presenters. I use SnagIt all of the time. It only costs $30 (one time) for educators, and it allows you to annotate and create catchy graphics like arrows and speech bubbles. However, TechSmith also offers Jing for FREE! Jing allows you to capture what you see, annotate, record what you do, and then share through Screencast.Com (free version).You can check out online videos and also download trials. See some screencasts that I made with Camtasia Studio.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe created the PDF (portable document format) standard. It is free for download. Many people do not realize that anyone can Print to PDF. Simply right click and select Print, or hold down Ctrl+P. However, instead of just hitting Enter or Print, select PDF as your Printer. This may also appear as option called Save as PDF. You can do it with Word docs, web pages, whatever.

Annotation is called commenting by Adobe. Reader XI comes with a full set of commenting tools. So you can add sticky notes, highlight text, and use lines, shapes, stamps, and a typewriter tool to place comments anywhere on your PDF document.

Apps for Note-Taking, Annotation and Sharing

A number of Apps allow you to capture your screen and then mark it up. My top picks:

Web design

People have asked me, "What do you use for web page authoring?"