Remote teaching has stolen the ability to physically position yourself next to an item of interest on the projection screen. Annotation software provides an alternative.
By highlighting I mean making the position of the pointer clear. Changing the size and shape of the pointer is probably the easiest option here. I use a slightly more advanced option of a circle with transparency, as shown in the photo above.
For annotation I mean drawing lines, boxes, ellipses and so on that can sit semi-permanently over an item of interest. I drew some in the photo above.
Some applications, particularly PDF viewers, already have this ability built-in, but we need a common solution for any application. There are a few programs that can provide this functionality. I haven’t found one that provides the perfect set of features though.
Currently, I am using Presentation Pointer. It provides the features that are important to me:
- keeps its controls hidden unless needed,
- draws using transparent colours,
- and can provide the halo for the pointer.
Although I have only shown one annotation colour in the photo above, it is possible to use more than one colour and draw different shapes.
Previously I had used Pointer Focus, but I found the ever-present control wheel to be a pain.
I investigated Epic Pen, but I didn’t get it drawing using a transparent colour.
There’s also Presentation Marker. I think one company sells this and Presentation Pointer. I guess that they have two similar products in the hope of more business?
If I had to recommend one that wasn’t Presentation Pointer, it would be ppInk. This has some handy features, far more than Presentation Pointer. Two that I really like are text, and the ability to click and have increasing numbers appear. I chose not to use it because it doesn’t support pointer highlighting and I don’t want too much to be running on the machine. ppInk is a fork of gInk, adding more functionality.
Highlighting and annotation are both useful tools for a remote instructor. You should experiment to find the right piece of software for you.