Not only does image annotation combine the best of text and pictures, but kids love it. Adding their own thoughts to a picture or even better, having the picture talk, inspires them to a creative level that’s difficult to achieve with most other communication tools. With the breadth of tech tools available, this is not only easy to accomplish but fits most school budgets.
Here are eleven of my favorite image annotation tools. I think you’ll find many that suit your purposes.
Created by Duck Duck Moose, in this popular free app, students take a photo, draw a line on it to make a mouth, and record their voice. Then, the photo ‘talks’ the recording through the mouth. Add a border, decorations, and text, then share with friends as an MP4 video via email or YouTube.
This is a great tool for quick digital stories, academic feedback, or a get-to-know-you activity for the start of school.
Select a picture and record a message that goes along with it, and then share. It’s fast and easy.
This webtool is great for digital storytelling, class warmup and exit tickets, or to append information to historic or scientific pictures.
This site is best-known for the creative formatting it embeds into images including borders, filters, drawings, effects, and animation. But, it also has a robust text tool that lets you add captions in a wide variety of fonts, colors, and styles. Once you’ve completed your annotated image, save to your local computer or share it out via social media (for olders).
Upload an image and add text via a speech bubble. When you’re done, save by downloading, taking a screenshot, or sharing it out to social media. It’s easy-to-use and intuitive to maneuver. You can filter the image to add a different aura or add multiple images to create a comic strip. You can also pick from a variety of speech bubbles to create just the effect you want. The only caution is that the gallery available to users may not always be age-appropriate as there is no education portal.
This is perfect for school field trips, to add comments to class photos, and any other activities that require photos and annotations.
Upload your photo(s), pick a layout, add text, GIFs, videos, backgrounds, stickers, and more. You can even draw on a canvas and then annotate that.
This is a great app for digital storytelling for youngers.
Upload a picture; add word balloons, titles, graphics, stickers, and effects like distortions. The basic app is free with a Pro fee-based version available as an upgrade.
This is a great digital tool for students to annotate a photo of the human body, the solar system, or anything with identifiable parts.
Offered by ABCYa, Talkify is a basic tool for adding voices to photos. Upload a picture (or use one from ABCYa’s collection), create and resize a mouth, record your voice, and save. It can be shared via a video link. Audio directions walk even the youngest students through the process.
This is a great way for young students to hear their voices reading a story or speaking a second language.
Add text and voice-overs to any picture. Collect images into photo albums and share the collection as a set. There is a moderate fee for this app.
This is uniquely suited for collecting and sharing categories of information, scripting events, following directions, and more.
This app enables students to collect images into albums, storyboards, storybooks, or audio flashcards and then explain them with audio or text. Just upload images, pick the grid design that works for your project, and add the captions.
Tapikeo HD is uniquely suited for projects that require multiple pictures, scrapbooks, and storyboards, as well as for visual scheduling with verbal prompts.
Upload a background (say, of your classroom), add an avatar of yourself, and then add the conversation. Thanks to Tellagami’s clever algorithm, the avatar actually moves in response to your words as though it is really talking. When you’re done, the Gami can be shared via text or email, or through social media. While the basic app is free, the education version includes a fee as well as lots of classroom-appropriate add-ons (such as no in-app purchases).
This is great for sharing directions and introductions. I also like using avatar-creators like Tellagami and Voki to teach digital citizenship: Create avatars that look nothing like the student as a great way to encourage students to protect their privacy.
Webtool, iOS, Android
Select from over 250 avatars, customize your selection to suit the project, and then add an audio voice-over. Voki offers a basic sign-up that’s free or a classroom edition that allows teachers to manage a class full of students and embed the final voki.
These are well-suited to sharing characters in a story, discussing a book being read in class, and anything that doesn’t require a specific photo.
This image annotation collection provides lots of options that address a wide variety of student needs. All of them are easy-to-use, intuitive, and fun. Which is your favorite?
More on images in the classroom
Image Copyright Do’s and Don’ts (a lesson plan)
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.