Thinking Inside Your Box: an iPad activity without an iPad

I ran across a blog post this morning from iPads at Burley called Photography with 5th Grade Students. The teachers shared an idea for using photos and their student iPad cameras as a learning tool during a short science lesson. At first I dismissed it thinking “eMINTS classrooms don’t have iPads or access to those kinds of Apps”. But then I started wondering how easy it might be to recreate this learning experience with the hardware and access to online software that eMINTS’ students do have.

The person writing the blog post has a classroom full of iPads with Apps that the students used to make this idea possible. But this can easily be done in an eMINTS classroom as well.

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All eMINTS classrooms have digital cameras and the i3 classrooms have student and teacher laptops with a webcam that is similar to the built in camera on the iPad. Students all also have access to websites, like iPiccy or PicMonkey, where they can upload their pictures, edit them, and then save them back to their computer just like the students did with the Snapseed App in about the same time. In fact iPiccy lets you take a picture directly from your web cam into their editing tool. Students can then share the images easily through email, a class blog or student blog (or classroom website), and even Edmodo just like the students in this blog post did using the Edmodo App.

It’s very easy to think something can’t be done just because you don’t have the exact same hardware or web access. But if you take the time to think about what you do have sometimes you can find a way.

What are some ways you have been using media literacy and technology tools to make engaging classroom lessons for your students?

By the way, I came across this and many other great ideas for using iPads in classrooms through the ScoopIt! iPads in Education curated by John Evans. On the same ScoopIt! I also found a PDF app that lets you make your own PDF file editable without converting it to other format and more.

Brooke Higgins is an aspiring photographer and instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read this post and more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.

Wanted: free and easy photo editing

I love digital photography but like most people don’t have the time and/or money to learn to use a complicated program like Photoshop but I still want the same results. I found that in Picnik (my most favorite online photo editing tool). Sadly they have announced that they are closing their “doors” on April 19, I have been on the hunt for the next great, easy to use, free, online photo editing tool. I may have found it.

After sharing my woes (aka whining) about Picnik disappearing to a couple of my friends over and over and over they each sent me emails mentioning the same new tool they found called iPiccy.

All I have to say is WOW! iPiccy is great! A web-based platform that allows for easy editing and sharing but also has an advanced image processing allowing users to do even more with images. You can start with a picture on your computer, the web, your webcam, Facebook, or you can even start from scratch. iPiccy has editing, effects, retouching, adding text, and a painter mode so users can apply basic edits but they also add filters and effects change images to black and white, add frames and borders, and so much more.  They even a full screen mode. There are not as many bells and whistles as my beloved Picnik but it comes closer than any other online photo editor I have found so far.

Did I mention that it is all free??? There is no need to create an account. Just work with your image until you are happy with it and save it to your computer, get the image link, or share it to Facebook (keeping my fingers crossed for sharing with Flickr someday soon and other additions soon). One disclaimer….iPiccy is still under Beta and may end up charging for their services, but for now it is answering all my photo editing needs and fits perfectly in my budget.

For you other Picnik lovers, I read that some of their tools are part of Google+ (don’t even get me started on Google+). I checked it out today and found that a very small portion of the once extensive tools are available. For now…all features of Picnik are free for everyone to use until they quite offering their service in April.

What are some of your favorite online photo editing tools?

Brooke Higgins is an aspiring photographer and instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.

Tuesday’s Tool: ThingLink

(Via)

ThingLink is an image linking tool which allows you to add descriptions and links various points of an image. Identify a key figure in a famous photo or use the tagging feature to link students to more information on a topic. Watch the video below for details on how this tool works:

Some ways one might use ThingLink in the classroom include:

  • Labeling a map with links to further information about the locales featured
  • Identifying geometric shapes in everyday scenes
  • Creating a fun and interesting interface for a WebQuest
  • Making an interactive timeline (more on this tomorrow)
  • Identifying parts on an image of human anatomy
  • Explaining the process in a screen-capture of a math equation
  • Editing marks for a school newspaper

What other uses could you see for this image tagging tool?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Friday 4ALL: Reaching Visual Learners

Click to watch the video.

Let images speak in your classroom. Choosing a great visual to share with students will often enhance a lesson. Visual learners make up 60-65% of the population. Thanks to Creative Commons licensing there are a wide variety of resources to assist you with finding the perfect image to engage students. What do you want your lessons to say?

Using images also instills creative thinking in your students. I recently saw Dr. Howard DiBlasi at a conference. One exercise he shared during his presentation was to put up an interesting photo. Then choose three or four students from the class. Ask one student to talk for thirty seconds about the image. When the thirty seconds are up, the next student may add to the story or create a new story, this continues until all four students have had an opportunity to speak.

To assist students with learning how to “read” a photo, you can use the SMART Notebook spotlight tool. For example, display an image from a historical time period on the SMART Board. Launch the Spotlight tool before students enter the room. Move the Spot Light tool over the image, ask students what they are noticing. Based on what they see have them predict what time period the image is from and support their prediction with evidence from the photo. Finally reveal the entire image.

The links below are some of my favorite sites to find fascinating photos. What will your lessons say?

Flickr-an image hosting and sharing website. Users in the Flickr Community may use the Creative Commons license so others can view and use their photos. Use the advanced search feature to find photos licensed under Creative Commons and follow the directions for citing images.

Pics4Learning-a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students. The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers. Unlike many Internet sites, permission has been granted for teachers and students to use all of the images donated to the Pics4Learning collection.

Wiki Media Commons- a media file repository making public domain and freely licensed education material available to everyone.

Edupic-a teacher designed free image resource for teachers and their students.

Smithsonian Images-Browse or search through selected images from the Collections of the Office of Imaging and Photographic Services. Included are images from current exhibits, Smithsonian events and historic collections

NOAA Photo Library- has been built to capture the work, observations, and studies that are carried on by the scientists, engineers, commissioned officers, and administrative personnel that make up this complex and scientifically diverse agency. Most Images are Public Domain. Those copyrighted are noted.

Morgue File-Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not.

Carmen Marty is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.