App of the Week: Snapguide

Name: Snapguide
Cost: Free
Platform: iPad and iPhone Touch, requires iOS 4.3 or higher

snapguide logoWhat do the teens you work with really like to create? Do they like to make handmade objects of some kind? Do they have a special drawing or painting technique? Maybe they know how to fix computers or make a special kind of cookie or cake. Or, maybe they have a special technique for putting on nail polish. No matter what they like to create, if a teen (or group of teens) can take photos or videos of different steps in the creation process, then he or she can use Snapguide to teach others how to create that same thing.

snapguide app main screenSnapguide is a website, but it’s also an app, and the app makes it really easy to take pictures or video of steps in a process and integrate them into a guide. A teen might have figured out a new way to make really tasty chocolate chip cookies. She makes the cookies and for each step in the process she uses an iPad or iPhone to take a picture or a video of that step.

Then she opens up Snapguide on her device and taps on Create. She fills in the text box for naming the guide with something like, How to Make Super Excellent Chocolate Chip Cookies. She adds the supplies that someone needs to successfully make the recipe and she writes up a summary of the project. The summary can be a voice recording or text. Voice is transcribed to text and if the summary is recorded the teen might have to make some changes if the technology doesn’t get the words exactly right. The teen baker then uploads the step-by-step videos or photos from her device and captions each one with an explanation of each step. As with the summary, the explanation can be recorded and then edited for accuracy. It’s also possible to add a slide in a Snapguide that is just text (no images) so if there is information to get across that doesn’t require an image counterpart it’s possible to include that too.

When all of the steps in the process have been added the teen chooses a cover image for the Snapguide. The image can be from the guide, the device, or something new taken when the cover is selected.

The last step before finishing a Snapguide is selecting a topic for the guide. Topics range from arts and crafts, to desserts, to games and tricks, to style, to technology.

Once the Snapguide is complete it can be published to the Snapguide site and made available to others who then get to learn from the teen. And, as is usually the case, once published the Snapguide can be shared through a variety of social media networks.

snapguide example stepVisitors to a Snapguide, via the app or on the web, can leave comments on the entire guide or on a particular step. Maybe the teen didn’t explain one of the steps in the chocolate chip cookie process as well as she thought. A viewer can ask a question about the step and the teen can reply with clarification. A guide that’s already been published can be edited so if a teen learns that something isn’t quite right in her guide she can change it and republish.

It’s also possible to keep guides in draft form so one doesn’t have to be completed all at once. A teen can come back and review and revise before publishing.

Snapguides can be fun and interesting for teens to create, and to view. They also can help teens develop writing and literacy skills as they figure out the best way to get information across in a guide. What’s the best order in which to present the information? Which images will help demonstrate a step most successfully? What is the text that should be included to help someone else create the same thing? These are all questions that have to be answered when creating a Snapguide.

The Snapguide app and site has a wide-variety of guides available from which to get inspiration. Teens can look at these and decide what works and doesn’t work before building their own guide.

Snapguides is a app well worth having the teens with whom you work check out. It can’t hurt to let parents and teachers know about too.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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