Skitch- The Simple Annotation Tool.

Posted in Apps for Learning

I have been recently using different apps with the aim of trying to become more paperless, from this I started using Skitch, Skitch is an app that has been around for a while, it’s available for Computers, Macs, iPads and even the Android Market. The app is made by Evernote and it tries to sort out information as easy as possible. It is easy for a user to capture screenshots, gallery pictures or take pictures in the app and then annotate them.

Skitch used in Y5

Skitch used in Y5

Skitch goes out of its way to keep things simple and coherent. It launches very quickly, and has a vertical toolbar with a scant seven tools, each with a large, clear icon. These are traditional image annotation tools: An arrow for pointing things out, a text tool, a colour picker with a limited palette of just eight colours, a rectangle you can surround objects with, a highlighter, a “pixelizer” for blurring out details, and a crop tool. With this app, students can sketch ideas, mark-up photos, make diagrams, create/label maps, and even annotate text.

Introducing Skitch: 

The Skitch app, which is very user-friendly, enables students to snap their own photos or upload images/screenshots from the web.  Before jumping into digital texts, I spent some time introducing the students to the app itself. We practised taking photos using the camera and practised using all the tools. We talked about appropriate tools for specific tasks and how not every tool will work for every assignment.

Further ideas:


  • Create diagrams (e.g., parts of a flower, stages of a life cycle, planets in a solar system, layers of the rainforest, etc.)
  • Create a map of your classroom/school
  • Create a treasure map using all the features of a map (i.e., key, scale, symbols, routes, geographical features, etc.)
  • Label of blank map of the continents or a map of the country

Text Annotating: 

  • Take a screenshot of non-fiction articles or snap

    Annotating the features of a text.

    a photo of text from a newspaper, magazine, or book to annotate for active reading

  • Take a photo of student writing to mark-up (i.e., label parts of a paragraph, highlight writing conventions, locate text-based evidence, etc.) — great for self-assessment!
  • Label fiction story elements
  • Label non-fiction text features (see my lesson above)
  • Highlight key words that show non-fiction text structure

Speaking and Listening: 

  • Capture examples and make content vocabulary come to life (snap pictures, sketch, label, etc.)


  • Deconstructing word problems (snap a photo & mark it up!)
  • Showing work for constructed response maths questions (you can use Skitch as a whiteboard)

Further Reading:

If you’re interested and would like to learn more about Skitch look at:

Also, if you would like to learn more about educational technology I would recommend you look at: 

Thanks for reading!

Padlet- The collaborative wall!

Posted in Apps for AfL, Apps for Learning

Padlet is an app that can be used in lots of different ways. This could be in a 1-to-1 situation, or the teacher could use a projector to show the class a bulletin board you create. Share the URL/QR code with the class have the children answer a discussion question, work on a “Do Now” activity, or even create an exit slip to show learning. I have even seen it used as a way of showing learning made during a topic, the class filled in a collective project at the start and then at the end of a unit to show progress made.  I have used it to create a bank of sentences as a class which can then be used in later writing e.g. how would describe… and then the children create sentences, I prefer three each, and this can be ‘magpied’ when they create a piece of writing.

Another idea is to use Padlet as a tool for small group projects. The teacher could divide the class into small groups and have the children work together at home to research a particular subject — for example, the Euros, Olympics or even the Romans. Each student could devote their research to a type of media supported by Padlet (video, audio, photo, or text), add it to their group’s shared wall, and then present the findings in class.

There are dozens of online bulletin board sites out there, but Padlet is one of the more intuitive, and probably most appealing to kids. The colourful backgrounds and customisation options let children add some personality to walls. The drag-and-drop interface is  smooth and easy to use. The depth of the site depends on what you put into it; it’s basically a blank page, but Padlet gives support and has examples of best use.

Children write a few sentences each and the class ends up with a paragraph.

Children write a few sentences each and the class ends up with a paragraph.

Padlet walls are great for study groups, class projects, and discussions. Classmates and friends can collaborate successfully on shared walls for study or fun, too — just keep an eye on them. Padlet gives students a lot of freedom to explore interests online and save that info in an organised manner. Whether it’s school- or fun-related, children get to create a space of their own.

All in all, Padlet gives students their own little corner of the Internet to collect and save information in a simple, fun and collaborative manner. It’s beyond easy to use, the interface is intuitive, and help is available around every corner. However, be aware that walls are semi-private by default, meaning there’s an extra step involved in ensuring total privacy for users.

Thanks for Reading,

Adam Chase.


Raspberry Pi Course

Posted in Physical Computing, Programming

Yesterday I ran a course at the DTC in Bury. The course involves staff and their digital leaders coming down to the training centre in Bury; it went down well with everyone- I think! The content of the course is to look at Raspberry Pi computers, we look at the components and the basic software on the device.

Within the course we looked at Scratch, Sonic Pi and Minecraft- all three are available for free with the NOOBS package. Scratch is the programming software that allows you to make animations or games. Sonic Pi is an exciting programming software that lets the user sequence blocks of music so that in the end you can make a song in a similar way to a music producer- definitely ticking of STEM targets. As for Minecraft, in short it is a ‘sandbox’ game which allows you to create anything you can imagine using blocks.

I’ve put together a quick video using iMovie (the password is Raspberry):

Raspberry Pi Course from Adam Chase on Vimeo.

Here is a sound recording of a song we collectively made using Sonic Pi, all the children are 7-10:

Here is a review of a Raspberry Pi by a 10 year old girl:

That’s it really, if you are interested in learning a bit more about Raspberry Pi’s  check out: