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
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:
- 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.
- 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: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/lightshot?hl=en