Keeler, a Mac user, said that though her Mac provides a screen capture tool, she prefers to use Snagit by TechSmith, which offers a wider range of options.

Watch a teacher tutorial on how to use Snagit:

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And even though Keeler doesn’t have any hard data on whether or not the use of annotated visual technology improves achievement, students have indicated multiple times that they want and appreciate the technology.

The reason? One of the first rules most writers learn: Show, don’t tell.

“A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when someone is frustrated and struggling, because an image of what they should be looking at is invaluable,” emphasized Keeler.

Keeler explained that when communicating—not just with students, but also parents and colleagues—it’s important not to tell them, but show them, since, as a teacher trained in specific curriculum, it’s her job to draw attention to the elements they may not see.

“An annotated screen capture helps me to be specific. I need to be able to clearly communicate my perspective and knowledge, and [annotated visuals] get beyond the jargon to helping them to understand what I am looking at,” she said.

The reason why this tech, more so than MOOCs, may better retain students is because the use of the tool is relevant. By taking screen captures or images pulled from literally anywhere around the web, Keeler can provide current context for students while guiding them through its meaning in their learning.

“No one likes to be bored,” she explained. “Tools are tools, and videos and images can bore and disengage students just as much, if not more, as a boring lesson. However, when we take advantage of the shifts that technology allows us to do to change what is possible in the classroom and to provide meaning to each student, then we can help every student love to learn.”

Keeler noted that though the learning curve for using annotated visual technology wasn’t bad for her, she is a technology specialist. However, “an annotated image is quick. It is embedded on the spot. No need to download, launch, wait for, scrub, or search. It can be included in an email, as part of a PowerPoint or video, and dragged into documents to bring clarity to writing. In short, it is easy to share, quick to use, quick to view. It is effective.”

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