Screenshots and Annotations Are Easy With the New Snip for Windows

snip beta

The Windows Snipping Tool is a useful app, but a limited one. There are, after all, many better alternatives like Skitch, Snagit, or even the OneNote Clipper. Today, Microsoft added another to this list. It’s called Snip. Although currently still in beta, Snip allows you to take screenshots, add annotations, record audio, and save your clips with anyone you want. In short, Snip is everything the Windows Snipping tool should be. Here’s how it works.

Once installed, Snip hides discretely on the side of your screen, just like Snagit. When you are ready to capture your screenshot, simply hover over the Snip toolbar to select the type of capture you want to execute. There are three basic tools you can use to capture a screenshot – the crosshair selection tool, the camera, and the whiteboard.

snip tools

A quick click and drag with the crosshair selection tool is all that is needed to make your first capture. Once you are done, the Snip editor will open giving you options for annotations that you can add to your screenshot. Although you absolutely can add annotations with your mouse, the drawing tools in the editor are largely aimed at those with touchscreen devices. However, there is the option to record audio on top of your screenshot and save it as an MP4 video file. T

This pseudo-screencasting option is an interesting option for educators and certainly opens up a lot of possibilities. In fact, if you look on the Snip home page, you will find several examples by students and educators who used the recording feature to talk about student work, explain a homework assignment, or teach poetry.

snip editing tools

The whiteboard is idea for explaining a concept and can be used in conjunction with the recorder to make screencasts that are similar in appearance to something like Educreations on the iPad. There are not as many options while recording, but the end product is somewhat comparable. The whiteboard is particularly useful for Math and Science teachers who may want to record a brief video that includes mathematical equations or cell structures, neither of which is easy to accomplish in a text based program.

Clicking the camera button will let you take a picture with whatever cameras you have on your device. Captured images can be edited with the aforementioned annotation tools. In the classroom students could use this option to talk about some art work they created, to tell digital stories, or describe areas on a map.

Snips can be shared quickly and easily. They can be copied and pasted into another app, shared by email (this didn’t work for me), or saved to your device. Videos have the additional options of being able to be shared via a link, or embedded in a website. All snips, past and present, are stored in your Library, which you can access via the book icon on the toolbar.

Snip is still in beta, so be prepared for the odd glitch here and there. However, in the time that I have had to play with it, Snip has performed very well and Microsoft have informed me that new features are on the way soon. Better still, Snip will update automatically so you will always have the latest version. Check it out for yourself in the video demo below, or head over to https://mix.office.com/Snip to try it out yourself.

How (and Why) to Add Links in OneNote 2013

We live in a connected world, so the ability to add links is a valuable skill for students and teachers alike. Here’s how to add links to notes in my favorite note taking app – the Windows desktop version of OneNote 2013. 1. Typing a URL The first method is by and large the easiest. All you have to do is start typing the URL of the website you want to link to and OneNote 2013 will detect that you are typing a web address and automatically hyperlink it. If the URL is on the long side, you can copy and paste it into OneNote and you will see that it also gets automatically linked on your page.

type links in onenote

2. Hyperlinking Text If URLs take up too much space on your page, or just don’t look right with the rest of your text, consider highlighting some text and linking that instead. Once the text you want to link is highlighted, go to the ribbon menu at the top of the page and click Insert > Link. In the pop-up box that appears, type or paste the name of the website you want to link to in the Address field, and then click OK. You can access the same linking option by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl + K on your keyboard, or by right-clicking on the highlighted text and selecting Link…

hyperlink text in onenote

3. Linking to Another Section/Page Another useful linking strategy is the ability to link to another section or page in a notebook. This can be useful for creating your own table of contents. There are a few ways to do this, but perhaps the most elegant way is to combine it with the method above. So, start by highlighting the text you want to link to another section or page. Then right-click on it, go to Insert > Link, or press Ctrl + K, to open the Link options menu. Now, navigate to the page or section you want to link to by clicking the “+” sign next to the notebook that has the page or section you need. Click the location you want to link to, then press OK. You can also get the link to a page, or a section, by right-clicking on the page or section you need and clicking Copy Link to Page or Copy Link to Section.

link to a section or page

4. Linking to a Specific Paragraph Need something more granular than linking to a page? Try linking to a specific paragraph. This can be a great way to direct students to the homework questions, or to definitions in a glossary. All you need to do is click on the paragraph you want to link to, then right-click your mouse and select Copy Link to Paragraph. Once you have the link you need, you can highlight some text, open the Link options menu, (like we did above), and paste it into the Address field. Anyone who clicks on the link will then be taken to a specific paragraph on a specific page.

Link to a paragraph in onenote 2013

Need an example of how all this linking can be put to good use in the classroom? Check out my lesson on the Microsoft Educator Network: Choose Your Own OneNote Adventure Stories.

iPads vs. Macs & PCs in Education: Pros & Cons

It’s a question you will often hear debated when schools look to buy new devices. iPads? Macs? PCs? Chromebooks? Which is best? The short answer is, it depends. None of them are bad devices, at least not any more, so it usually comes down to what is the best fit for students, teachers, and the ways that a school is looking to advance teaching and learning with technology.

For this post, I joined forces with Stephen Lai, from teachingwithipad.org. Together we compiled some of the more popular advantages and disadvantages associated with using an iPad when compared to a Mac or Windows laptop.

Why iPads?

1. Speed – We have all become accustomed to how fast our iOS devices wake from sleep. They rarely need powered off and the instant on gratification you get is hard to beat. In fact, if your laptop doesn’t have an SSD drive, the iPad will beat it every single time whether it is opening an app, waking from sleep, or performing some basic tasks.

2. Apps – Cut price iOS apps are getting better all the time and they are looking to rival expensive desktop software. Finding quality educational apps that will consistently enhance teaching and learning is the tricky part, especially when there are so many apps available, but it doesn’t take long to find the best ones. So, spend time researching and talking to colleagues about which apps are worth the money, and which of the free ones are really free!

3. Camera – According to Chase Jarvis, the best camera is the one you have with you. The iPad camera will never rival that of a dedicated DSLR, but it sure beats the webcams on a Mac or a PC! It’s a one-stop solution that lets you shoot, edit and share photos and videos captured on your iPad. It is also capable of producing special effects like stop motion movies or even green screen captures. This kind of creativity makes it perfect for a modern multimedia classroom.

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