Screenshots – capturing images of your screen

Most students know how to use the camera on phones or tablets. A few weeks ago we also learnt about using the camera in Minecraft, but there’s one way of capturing images that is often forgotten about … the screenshot. You might notice that in a lot of my lessons on this website I have lots of images captured from my computer screen or iPad. Sometimes I may add arrows or text to help explain how to perform certain steps. These are all screenshots or screen captures.

Most devices have a built-in way of capturing an image of the whole screen or even just parts of it.

The following link explains how to take a screenshot in Windows 10. It describes 4 different methods and the first 2 methods are also available in older versions of Windows. The 4th method uses an app called ‘Snag It’ which I use to add all of the arrows and text annotations. I don’t expect students to purchase this software – it does have a free trial.

On an iPad you can press the sleep and home button at the same time to take a photo of your screen and put it into the Photos app. If you have a newer iPad with FaceID there’s a slightly different method explained in this article:

If you have an Apple computer the following link explains several methods for taking a screenshot:

Time to practice!

You should read the links above to see how to take a screenshot on your device. If you use two different types of devices you can read more than one link. To practice taking screenshots you should complete the following exercises:

  1. Take a screenshot of this webpage and email it to me
  2. Take a screenshot of your favourite Minecraft world and email it. Remember, this is a screenshot not a photo using the camera tool in Minecraft.

Getting technical help

In one of my IT jobs before I became a teacher I used to try to help people solve technical problems they were having with websites made by a company. Some people were very good at describing the problem using words, but many times they would simply say ‘the website crashed’. Can you imagine how difficult it was to solve a problem with just these 3 words? It’s almost impossible. If you were standing right next to them watching everything they did when it crashed then you have a better chance, but if not then you need to ask them more questions like:

  • What webiste crashed?
  • When did it crash?
  • What were you doing on the website?
  • What do you mean by ‘crashed’?
  • Did you get an error message? What did it say?
  • Were you able to access other websites with no problem?
  • Does it always crash when you do certain steps? Or is it just sometimes?
  • What kind of computer are you using? Which browser?

Sometimes even the answers to these questions isn’t enough and that’s when … you guessed it … we ask them to provide screenshots of the problem. If you’ve heard the saying that ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ I can tell you it’s very true. It not only tells a thousand words, but you can read those words a lot faster too.


It’s probably a bit late now that the lockdown is almost over, but being able to capture screenshots and provide them as clues to solve a problem is a vital skill. You may not remember all the different methods, but now that you know that you can do it – you can always google the questions later for a quick reminder: how do I take a screenshot on a …

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