NEAC, Transforming Education

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Sketching made easy with Sketchbook Express

Sketching or drawing ideas on paper has been the mainstay of Technology Teachers for decades. Teaching Technology for over 32 years, with the advent of electronic folders for GCSE and as a way of enhancing my curriculum, I encouraged my students to create electronic folders, which they did with enthusiasm. Electronic folders meant higher quality of work being produced, easier access to research and CAD files included more easily. Based on Power Point slides and inserting pictures and text, the one area that relied on the need for students to maintain drawing skills was the creative Ideas section. For this we would be inundated with paper drawings that needed to be scanned or photographed in and inserted into files. Quality of the scanned images, and experimentation, were lacking and whole blocks of time were given up to teaching how to draw representative images.

Drawing software was of course sought after, but back then were clunky, difficult for students to understand, and lacked the free style drawing and flow that came from paper based work. Industrial based applications such as AutoCAD, Corel, Adobe and ProDesktop, there was also a cost issue, site licenses were expensive and would eat up huge portions of the yearly budget.


Sketching with Sketchbook Express



Sketchbook Express, and its sister application SketchbookX on the iPad and tablet, now give the Technology teacher the answer to the issue raised above. Free download, very easy to learn within one lesson how to use, finger sketching on the tablet or iPad, mouse control on a PC, (or now finger sketching using Microsoft touch screen technology), and available across all platforms means that no matter how students prefer to design, ideas can be quickly produced and exported to the electronic folder.


Sketchbook Express has a basic pallet of tools that will give you different effects on your digital paper. There is a range of tips that are available. That range includes pens, pencils and brushes. There are even some tools that are hybrids of the two, which makes for some interesting tool options. Sketchbook also offers more than just drawing an idea. Images can be imported and enhanced, it allows text, ruled lines (excellent for perspective and 3D representation), colour swatches and water colour effects, and up to 6 layers per sketch.

Game Changer

This a great application and will change the way that students can be more creative in schools when expressing ideas, has no coast associated with it (unless you wish to upgrade to the Pro Version), can be used across devices (with some limitations of functions when using iPad version), and is easily learnt by students.

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