As technology plays a bigger and bigger role in the classroom, newer and more inventive ways to use it surface. For instance, have you ever thought about the screenshot function on your technology devices? Screenshots are immensely helpful for real-world applications, but have merit for educational endeavors as well. screenshot is simply a picture of what is on the screen of your device.  The screenshot function is a quick and easy way to record a moment in time and can really transform how you use technology in your classroom.

On the iPad, users press the home button and power button at the same time, and a snapshot of the screen is sent directly to the Camera Roll. Taking a screenshot is the perfect way to capture student work on mobile devices.


Whether students are solving math problems on a virtual white board or drawing a story map of a book they’ve read, a screenshot can show you what they’ve accomplished during a class period. Use this tool as a daily formative assessment by having students snap a picture of their work, send it to you in an email, or upload it to a class file sharing site like Dropbox. With a quick glance, you can see who’s modeling decimals correctly using virtual base ten blocks, and who needs extra help highlighting words in an eBook.


Screenshots can also be used when displaying student work. Educators are moving farther and farther away from the days when file folders of student work would grow as the school year progressed. As everyday lessons and projects are going virtual, keep a collection of student work by saving screenshots of activities completed on a mobile device.

Common Core Rigor

One of my favorite ways to use screenshots in the classroom is as a starting point for writing. Students should be able to explain their thinking in words, and teachers can ask them to write about what they accomplished during a lesson that took place using a mobile device. If your students drew a factor tree on their iPad screen, have them write an explanation of prime factorization using their screenshot to support their writing. If your students found an image of a primary source document in social studies class, have them take a screenshot and explain what the image tells them about a period of history. An action as simple as a screenshot can be used to push students toward deeper thinking about the work they are doing in your class.


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