Recently I have been playing around with Activinspire’s Desktop Annotate tool. Although there are better annotation tools out there, it can be very useful when you need it or if you’re like me and the classroom where you work can’t have new software installed. Then Activinspire’s annotation tool is great.
What is annotation
Annotation tools are used to draw or write on the document that you have open.
In the case of Activinspire and some more modern presentation tools, it is a way to draw or write on the screen over anything you have open.
With Activinspire’s Desktop Annotate tool, you can use the pen, shape, eraser, text, and a few other tools like you would normally use in a Flipchart. It’s worth playing around and seeing what you can do with it.
Where to find it
The activinspire annotation tool button can be found just above the “Previous page” button in the Main Toolbox. On the latest versions of the software, the button will be a red icon and in older versions, it will be blue. As far as I am aware, they both work the same.
When you click this button, Activinspire will minimise, leaving you with just the Main Toolbox, the Trash Can and the Page Browser. You can close the Trash Can and Page Browser to create more space. Activinspire will create a new Flipchart called “Desktop Flipchart” You will see this when you exit Desktop Annotate and return to the main window.
You can exit from Desktop Annotate mode by clicking the annotation button again. To return to Desktop Annotate mode, click the annotation button or the Desktop Flipchart tab.
Some ways that you can use Desktop Annotate in Activinspire
You can use the Activinspire Desktop Annotate the same way you would with image activities you have imported into a standard Activinspire Flipchart. Suppose you forgot or didn’t have time to import an image or make an activity but have the image available. In that case, you can use the annotation tool to interact with any image or document.
The most common use for me using Desktop Annotate in the classroom is when we have a colouring page or something where I must show the students what to do on their handouts. I can open the pdf or Word document, which will be in the same format as their handout and show them what they need to do.
Annotate over PDFs, Images, and webpages
Here are some of my ideas on using the Desktop Annotate tool.
Maps are great; you can load a map from a web page, pdf or an image. The students can draw directly onto the map or webpage.
This is great for games where you want the students to give and follow directions. You can make the game more real for them by opening up a map of a place they know, like the area around your classroom, the local zoo, or an amusement park.
Fill in the blank worksheet.
If you are using fill-in-the-blank worksheets, you could load the Document and use Desktop Annotate to get students to come up and fill in one blank each.
Our young-level classes always have a worksheet for the kids to colour. Sometimes the kids need to be shown what to do. Or if you run out of printouts, you can open the file on the board, and the student waiting for a copy of the page can colour on the screen.
If you read from PDF books, you can use Desktop Annotate to highlight words and underline passages like we have been doing in the online classes.
– Dot-to-dot puzzles
– word searches
– Spot the difference
– Practice letter writing
– Find items in an image.
As we have seen, this tool can be very useful when needed. It’s not something I use every day, but it does come in handy. I would love to hear how you are using this tool and how it’s been helpful for you.