As a school librarian, I know that learning comes in many different forms. Sometimes it is more formal, like when I’m delivering bibliographic instruction to a class, or more informal, like when a student has a ready reference question. Often I am readily available to assist my students face-to-face. Many times my students have real complex questions related to their research, and often they just need how-to directions to complete a task. Then there are times when I am not available in the library (e.g.: weekends, holidays, etc.), learning is an asynchronous activity that may not follow a clock or a calendar. An app that I recently found that could address these needs for how-to directions is Snapguide.
I do not remember where I first saw this app, but it intrigued me. Here were how-to guides that people had created and posted. guides about crafts and recipes, how to fix a fence and make a martini. These contained step-by-step guides with pictures and text, complete with supply lists. These guides displayed nicely on smartphones, tablet devices, and computers. Like other forms of social media, these could be shared with other services and embedded on web pages and people could add comments. You could easily search Snapguide by keyword or category. While it does not have a section for education, it does have one for technology.
Creating a guide is easy. You need an idea, a collection of screenshots or photographs to illustrate your project, and text to describe the steps involved. I decided to build a guide about using library ebooks. We started developing our ebook collection last year and I need to find ways to better promote them. Perhaps this could be done with Snapguide. Using only an iPad, I took screenshots, annotated these images using A+ Signature, imputed these into a Snapguide, added directions and published my first guide. Later I shared this with my High School mobile tech students, made some quick edits, and re-posted my guide.
Thing I like about Snagguide includes:
- Ease of Use. People can be used to easily find instructional information on a wide-variety of topics. Materials view well on any device.
- Ease of Creation. The app on the iPad is fully functional, providing all of the options found on the web site
- Flexible End-User Experiences. Several of the details of my images appeared at the edges off the screen. Clicking on the image will display it full-size with these details now in view. Clicking on ‘print’ will display each slide with the text instructions, just like we often created for how-to instructions.
It would be nice if there was a Snapguide for education, this service does indeed have some interesting applications in a school library. Guides could easily be created for searching the library catalog and the various research databases. Guides could be created for providing instruction on information literacy and media literacy topics. Some of these may already exist in Snapguide. I’m going to enjoy finding ways to use Snapguide as part of my library and media-literacy instruction and as a vehicle to expand my library program. It is an excellent tool for use in both flipped classrooms and mobile technology friendly situations.