Lightshot: Review and Possible Classroom Uses

Lightshot is an extension that you can add to your google chrome browser that allows you to take screenshots, edit them, and save them in one location. When you want to take a screenshot you click the little purple feather in the top right corner of your browser. When you click it it will pop you out to a different tab and you are able to select the area you would like to capture. Once the area has been determined there are two pop up menus, one is for editing the image and the other one is to determine what to do with the image.

Editing tools include:

  • Pen- writing on the image
  • Line tool- to underline text on the image
  • Arrow tool- to emphasize a certain section of the image
  • Rectangle- useful for highlighting an entire paragraph of text or emphasizing a certain post in a continuous feed
  • Marker- allows you to highlight sections of the image
  • Text- there is a textbox option that you can layer on top of your image
  • Colour- the colour square allows you to change the colour of the pen, highlighter, and text colour

Then the toolbar across the bottom allows you to:

  • Save the image to your computer
  • Print the image
  • Search visually similar images on google
  • Share on social networks
  • Upload to the Lightshot website to your own personal gallery

My screenshot gallery so far.

While this is a versatile tool it also has its limitations. The pen tool is generally useful but you aren’t able to change the size of the pen (fine tip-wide). You have to use the stock size and if your image is fairly small it can be difficult to use the tool on that image.Similarly, it is not possible to change the font or the size of the text on the image.  The tool does allow you to share the image immediately on social media sites but the platforms it links to are limited. The only options the tool presents from that toolbar are Twitter, Facebook, VK, and Pinterest. I think it is a serious downfall of the tool that it doesn’t link automatically to Instagram which is a site designed to share images. Also it is only available in the Google Chrome browser which may be limiting for students who aren’t used to using that browser.

While the tool does have some room for improvement it could be a very useful tool in the classroom. This tool could be great for annotating larger pieces of text. You could use it to highlight important passages or use the rectangle function to emphasize the most important portions of the text. In an ELA classroom, it would be a great tool for engaging in poetry analysis or finding the different parts of a short story. Students would be able to analyze and mark up their texts and then post it to a class social media site or on a classroom blog. It would also be a great tool to visually supplement a discussion forum like Padlet moving it from a text-based activity to a more visual activity.

A few other areas where it could be useful:

For students

  • Interactive note taking- give the powerpoint to students ahead of time and then they create notes on it
  • Creating study notes
  • Creating multimedia collages- mixes visual and textual elements
  • Digital brainstorming- stores images all in one place
  • Mock Snapchat: have students take on the persona of a character from a classic novel and summarise sections of the text as though the characters are using Snapchat.

For teachers

  • As a record keeping tool- documenting conversations between school and home over email
  • Celebrating student success through email with parents- showing them examples of student work
  • Adds a visual element to classroom blog- show discussions you’ve had using Menti-meter, Socrative, etc

This is a tool that can be useful for both teachers and students and when used in conjunction with other digital tools to expand students’ digital literacy, research and organization skills.

Here’s a link to the extension in the chrome store: 


Going Digital with Photoshop: Learning Project Week 9

A few weeks back I explored other avenues for learning to hand letter online and I found a tutorial by Hand Lettering Studio which walked you through how to take your hand lettering from paper to a digital format using Photoshop and I blogged about it here. At that point, I had only read about how to do it and so this week I decided to sit down and try to take one of my pieces and make it digital. This is the lettering I created for my first attempt:

I am going to be honest with you, I thought that I had saved all of the emails that had the instructions in them in my inbox but when I went to look for them today they weren’t there. So what I did was return to trusty old Youtube and searched “How to Digitize Hand Lettering in Photoshop”. This video was my lifeline to get me through the process because Photoshop is quite complex and intimidating if you have never used it before.

In order to track my progress, I decided to take a series of videos. These are the major steps that are laid out in the video and it is the most basic way to digitize your hand lettering. There is so much more you can do with Photoshop but these are just the basics.

Step 1: The eraser tool saved my life. I had been trying to use the Lasoo tool to trim it before and it was so time-consuming and finicky.

Step 2:

Step 3: The image that I am using as the background is a picture I took two summers ago. Daisies are my favourite flowers, I love their simple beauty!

Step 4:

Step 5: If you look closely at my final product there are white splotches from when I was erasing on the paper. They appear as darker splotches when you are in the erasing stage and I just didn’t bother to erase them. I think it gives it a cool effect but it is possible to clean it up if you wanted to.

The final product turned out looking like this and I am really proud of it!

Next week I am going to attempt to combine painting and hand lettering!


The Power of Speaking out with Intention and Empathy

The internet presents us with countless opportunities. With just the click of a mouse, we can participate in larger global communities online. We can find belonging, connection, and support. But if it is used incorrectly the internet can become a tool to ostracize, ridicule, and humiliate. It can no longer be acceptable to ignore the suffering that takes place at the hand of cowards behind computer screens. Thankfully there are brave advocates who are spreading awareness about these issues. Last week we had the opportunity to watch a series of Ted Talks on the subject of internet shaming and we had the privilege of having Carol Todd (@c_todd) speak to our class about the importance of teaching digital citizenship to our students.

I found Carol Todd’s talk powerful not simply because of what she was speaking about but because she was speaking out at all. She has gone through a tragic experience with her daughter, Amanda Todd, and yet she has chosen to be an advocate for digital citizenship education. I think it is powerful that she is using the grief that she experienced through losing her daughter to raise awareness and create a positive impact in her daughter’s memory through public speaking and the Amanda Todd Legacy.

In her talk, Carol used the metaphor of students learning to drive being like learning to use technology. She reminded us that when we turned sixteen we weren’t simply handed the keys and told “Here you go. Hope you don’t crash”. Before anyone was licensed to drive they had to take drivers ed, you had to practice in the car with an experienced driver. We need to think about our student’s internet use similarly. Handing them a device when they are twelve or thirteen and giving them free reign is not going to turn out well. She specifically emphasized that “it is the behaviour, not the tool that is the problem”. If we teach students to use the tools effectively they will be much more successful and safe in the digital world.

In the article,  The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers, the authors explore how teenagers who spend “around nine hours using some form of digital media every day” run the increased risk of making poor decisions online. Prolonged exposure is not the only reason that teens are more susceptible to be influenced by the “get likes” mentality of the internet, it is also related to brain development. Teenagers’ brains aren’t wired to handle online pressures. The article highlights ways parents can monitor their child’s presence online but those options may not be the most proactive and may actually create more issues. Instead, I think it is important to examine why they need the external affirmation they are so eagerly seeking. Through positive discussions around digital citizenship, teenagers can become empowered instead of oppressed in their online lives.  Susan Knight offers some great strategies for proactive parental approaches to teen digital media usage in her article, “Technology Trends: When Teens Turn to Social Media for Validation” including modelling positive internet usage.

We also had the chance to watch two Ted Talks this week. The first one was given by Monica Lewinsky and was titled The Price of Shame.  She focused on how the internet facilitates platforms for public shaming and humiliation. Her talk was moving as she talked about her experience in the late 90s and tied it to the experience of a young man named Tyler who was exploited by his roommate, which led to him committing suicide. The line from her talk that stood out to me was the importance of using our digital platforms to speak up with intention instead of for attention. We also watched One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life, a Ted Talk given by Jon Ronson, which talked about Justine Sacco and how her one tweet made her a figure of ridicule. At the beginning of the talk though he mentioned that originally, Twitter was a place where people could admit their faults to one another instead of a place to shame each other and take people down.

What if we reconceptualized the purpose of these digital spaces and acted as encouragers instead of as vigilantes. Near the beginning of her talk, Monica Lewkinsky referred to the internet and social media as “brave new technology”. What if we took up that title as a call to action? It is our job as educators to give our students the tools they need to navigate the world, digital or not. Let’s give them the most powerful tools they need. Let’s teach them to practice kindness and empathy because “shame cannot survive empathy“.

8 Scientific Ways To Improve & Increase Your Empathy

Retrieved from Adam Eason


Finding Inspiration to Fight the Slog: Learning Project Week 8

Does the last month of the semester feel like trying to run through molasses to anyone else? I am beginning to feel the end of semester crunch and as a result, I am starting to fall off the hand lettering bandwagon. Every time I get a second where I think “I should work on my hand lettering” I remember that I have three papers and two presentations due in the next two weeks…


Not only that but I’m going to admit that due to the impending doom of my brain and my hands from the endless typing I will have to do over the next two weeks my creativity has completely dried up. I just couldn’t drag myself to actually put my pen to paper this week. So instead I went in search of external inspiration. And what I found was absolutely amazing and beautiful so I thought I would share it with you.

The first place I went for inspiration was Instagram. Lots of hand-lettering artists, people who actually make a living at this, will advertise themselves through Instagram. These are a few that I found particularly talented:

There are many more artists out there but that is just a few of the ones that I have started following since starting this project. I found all sorts of artists with their own unique style but I also came across another amazing resource, called handletteringtutorial.

When I first stumbled across their Instagram page I was completely underwhelmed. There were all of three posts on their profile. But there was a website link in the bio section and when I clicked on it I hit the jackpot.

Turns out that Handlettering Tutorial is a  website that facilitates a large hand- lettering community. They have all sorts of things to aid aspiring letterists at all levels of ability. There is a blog, tutorials, a section for beginners, a weekly newsletter, a tools section, and wait for it… (drum roll please)…… THEY HAVE PODCASTS!!!! Now I know that may seem like something small and insignificance but it is actually a big deal because it finally offers me a way to learn from experts without having to be trapped inside, melting my brain with my computer screen. I could cue up the podcast on my phone and go for a walk! This was enough to get me fired up about this project again! Hope it helps you too!


Teach Me Your Ways! Moving Beyond YouTube: Learning Project Week Seven

This week for my learning project I decided it was time to try and find a new sensei for my hand lettering project.


Youtube and Pinterest have provided me with a wealth of guidance and inspiration on how to create different styles of lettering. As I mentioned in my post from week five there is literally one free app that teaches hand lettering and it is limited in scope. So this week I decided to try and find other free online resources to learn hand lettering.

What I found was a really cool free course offered by Lettering Studio which can be found here. When you sign up you get a new lesson every day for five days and then a new lesson each week to help you hone your lettering skills. You simply enter your name and email and then over the course of five days it sends you the daily lesson. The best part is that each email starts with a giph that inevitably makes you smile. It is a beginner’s course that walks you through:

  1. Background on the instructor/illustrator, James Daly and Lesson one which walks you through the basics of forming your strokes.
  2. Writing your first word. The first word he has you practice is the word “minimum” as it has a lot of downstrokes and curvy letters. You then practice making curves and circles.
  3. Materials, styles, and tools of the trade.
  4. Transferring your lettering to Photoshop Part 1.
  5. Photoshop Part 2.

It is an amazing free course! The emails he sends are encouraging and informative. Each lesson contains links and videos to help you follow along and there are also opportunities to get practice pages you can download if you share the page with a friend. And if you are really interested in getting serious about lettering you can purchase full-blown video tutorial courses.

Here’s what I’ve been creating this week:

A good reminder!

If my heart was a compass you’d be north.

Conversations on Digital Games in the Classroom: Kahoot

Retrieved from:

This week we were asked to conduct a theoretical conversation between two parties regarding technology use in the classroom. So my partner Kayci and I invented a conversation around the use of Kahoot as a learning tool in the classroom. The conversation was instigated by a seasoned, old fashion teacher named Mrs. Crumplebottom who is questioning the effectiveness of Kahoot. Ms. Kipps is a newer teacher who is enthusiastic about integrating technology into her classroom to up engagement.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: I think we need to have a conversation about what is going on in your classroom. Now I know that you have only been teaching for a few years and you still have some of that bright-eyed optimism but honestly, I don’t think the students in your room are taking their learning seriously. They come into my room every day talking about some gibberish sounding game you let them play. Smaboot…. Flabroot… What’s it called?

Ms. Kipps: I think you are perhaps meaning Kahoot? I’d be happy to help if you have questions about it!

Mrs. Crumplebottom- Yes! That one! I truly wonder what they are teaching you youngsters at that university. Back in my day students took their learning seriously with good old sobering exams to show what they had learned.

Ms. K: While I appreciate your experience, something to consider is that the students are really enjoying this type of learning! It’s less stressful and more like a game to them! It makes for a very exciting class!

Mrs. Crumplebottom: And how exactly does playing childish games help them to learn?

Ms. Kipps: I think one of the greatest benefits is that they are engaged! While it appears to be a game, it’s sneakily forcing them to think back to what they know and have learned in the class! And if by chance they get it wrong, it provides them with some immediate feedback to correct the misinformation.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: But they keep coming into my room talking about points and code names. How does that relate to learning?

Ms. Kipps: Well, the points are sort of like an incentive for the students. It gives them something to strive for in the platform and increases the buy-in for it. No different than the points given on a test, really! And the code names are generally just for fun but also allow for some anonymity for the students who worry about being embarrassed for getting answers wrong. If you want to know more about the research behind using games in the classroom to facilitate learning you could read this article. I know how much you love to read.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: Interesting! So what would you use it for? You wouldn’t use this to teach a new topic right?

Ms. Kipps: Definitely not to teach something brand new. It’s more of a simple review tool! I am able to take the information that we have learned already, whether that be from the class that day, the day before, or over the course of a unit, turn it into engaging questions, and then have the students review it in real time so that I can see how much they have retained and maybe where I need to go back over with some additional teaching! Super helpful!

Mrs. Crumplebottom: So are these Kafloots pre-made or do you get to tailor them completely to what you have been teaching?

Ms. Kipps: While there are some stock games just for fun, I can actually create my own Kahoots with specifically tailored questions about whatever it is we are working on! That way there are no surprises for students (unless I want there to be, of course). If you want to check it out, here is a little explanatory video:

Mrs. Crumplebottom: Hhhmmm. I see. So what if a student comes to class and for whatever reason, they don’t have access to a mobile phone or other devices?

Ms. Kipps: Well, one option is to de-techify it and have them respond on paper first, like a quiz. However, another option that I recommend would be to use the team option! That way not everyone needs a device and it encourages students to collaborate with one another rather than compete.

Taken from:

Mrs. Crumplebottom: That is a lovely feature. When I watched the video from the Youtubes it appeared that there are time limits on how quickly the students need to answer. Doesn’t that reduce the learning to just focusing on speed? And what if a student gets anxious in timed settings, doesn’t that agitate them?

Ms. Kipps: It is true that sometimes it can feel like a pressured situation for some students. I think that is why it is better used as a formative assessment tool rather than anything summative. Part of reducing the anxiety that students may feel comes from the environment that is created in the situation. If students are aware that it is low stakes and we emphasize the game aspect of the tool, then it becomes easier for them to find a level of comfort in engaging with the technology. This is also where the team aspect is useful because we can use a more gradual release into the individual engagement.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: So what would you do if there was a student in your room that had a visual impairment. They have to be able to see the board as well as their own device in order to respond effectively don’t they?

Ms. Kipps: For more advanced exceptionalities such as visual impairments and perhaps even reading difficulties, there is always the option of reading the prompt out loud. I would agree that this is perhaps not the best platform for all students, but you do your best to include and involve everyone. For those who have less severe visual impairments, I like to plan ahead and make sure that they are situated in a place that gives them the best opportunity to be able to see the board.

Mrs. Crumplebottom: I can see that I may have been a bit hasty in my judgement of this tool. The students do truly seem to be enjoying and learning in your classes in a way that they don’t seem to be in mine. I still have a few questions about it but would you be willing to show me how to set it up sometime next week? Or could I at least come in and observe one day when the kids are using it?

Ms. Kipps: Absolutely! Next week the students are actually going to try their hand at creating their own Kahoots to quiz each other before their unit test. You are more than welcome to come in and check it out. While I do agree with you that it has a few limitations, all around it is a very simple and engaging way to integrate technology into any classroom and the students for the most part really enjoy getting to play instead of “learn”! 

Bringing It All Together: Learning Project Week Six

This week I decided to try moving on to more complicated words and quotes. A major part of hand lettering is combining the words with images and playing with the shapes of the words in the quotes.

Here is what I worked on this week:

Pinterest inspiration.

My version.








Pinterest Inspiration

My attempt.








Found on Pinterest

My attempt at it. Changed the lettering a bit.








Those were my attempts this week. I am still working from Pinterest mostly and picking out things I like. Do you guys have any suggestions for what I should do next week?

What Does the Internet Say? Cyber Sleuthing my Awesome Colleague

This week our task was to pick a colleague from our class and to conduct some cyber-sleuthing on them. We were meant to examine their online presence and to see what sort of impression they were creating for themselves on the web. I chose to find some dirt on Kayci Henderson.

via GIPHY 

After some very serious and intense digging, I found that she has a professional internet presence. I was hoping to find something more interesting but frankly, she has done an excellent job of creating a professional online presence.

The first step in my detailed sleuthing was to put her name into Google and see what came up. When I did this is what came up.

There were links to her social media accounts which are all professionally centred (like her Twitter account for example) or if they were personal accounts she had the privacy settings set so that little information was available without her allowing access to it.

Her Facebook profile is professional and it provides enough information to be able to identify her but not too much information. She has made her hometown public and that she attends the University of Regina.  A brief side note: I was also able to identify her hometown through Google because she is listed as being hired to work for the town of Carnduff as a summer student in their town council minutes which have been posted online.

Her Twitter profile also appears as private but she has chosen a professional picture and created a twitter handle that makes her easy to identify. I was also able to find a link to her Pinterest. Another thing that popped up when I googled her was that she is listed on the Rocanville School directory because that is where she interned last semester.

Kayci also represents well through her teaching blog she has provided a detailed overview of herself in a professional capacity. She has links to her philosophy, sample unit and lesson plans, and links to her blogs from the various education classes she has taken. She has done an excellent job of representing herself well online and if you aren’t already you should follow her blogs and twitter as she engages in her education journey.