Thursday, February 23, 2017

iPad App of the month: Document 5

Document 5 allows you to save a variety of documents such as PDF, movies, music, youtube clips and word processing documents in one location on your iPad It also allows you to organize those files into folders as well.
The PDFs can also be annotated from within Document 5 as well.

The app also includes the feature to link and sync to cloud based services such as Dropbox and Google Drive giving you access to even more of your content.
It also has a built in browser that allows you search for content on the Internet and then download directly to your iPad. This is useful for downloading Youtube clips to the iPad and being able to view them offline while traveling. (check out the video below)

Another great thing about this app is that it is free. It is worth checking out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Editing With Snapseed - Getting The Best Out Of Your Photos

"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! ..."
One of the most common statements heard in this day and age of photoshop runs along the lines of:
"Oh.  You just photoshopped it."
People have been manipulating images from the moment the technology existed to create them. Previously manipulation occurred either at the point of shoot, or in the darkroom.  Photographers were always looking for ways to capture the scene in front of their eyes.  Today is no different.  Only now our darkroom is digital.  It is impossible to photoshop a great picture out of a bad one.  You have to start with good raw material.  Editing is about bringing the best out of the picture you took:  colour balancing, contrast, sharpening and the other tools of the digital darkroom all help.

Snapseed is an awesome free app for your phone or tablet.  It allows you to do detailed editing on your images and is a powerful app.  As well as allowing you detailed editing, it also has a set of filters for those of you that like to go that route with your pictures.

Lets take an image of Pompeii and see how we can effect changes to balance the picture.

The Tools

To select your tools, tap the picture, then tap the pencil in the lower right corner.  A selection of tools will appear.  Tap the one that you wish to use.

Most of the tools are self explanatory - but a few are important.

Tune Image: - this is where you will find adjustments for highlights, shadows, contrast, etc.  It's the main place you will work.

Details: - The sharpening and structure tools are here.

Brush: - This allows you to use your finger as a brush and make adjustments to just one part of the picture.

Once you have selected a tool you will be dropped back in your picture.  If you run your finger up and down, a menu will appear and you can select from that.

To use the tool simply run your finger left and right and watch the changes.

Watch the videos below to see how to use the tools and see Snapseed in action.

Simple Editing Using The Tune Image and Details Tools

Editing Isolated Parts Of Your Image

More Photography Tricks and Tips?!  Check Out Our iPhone Photography Series ...
Part One  - What's The What? An introduction to the basics of the iPhone camera
Part Two  - Panorama Mama!  Getting the best out of panorama mode on your camera
Part Four - Going Further! Some great apps to take things further in your photography

Monday, February 20, 2017

Google Slides new features

Thanks to Melissa  Enderle for spotting this article from Richard Bryne at Free technology for Teachers.

The two new features are:

Question & Answer feature
This allows students to write question during a presentation and submit them to the presentation (there is a link attached to the presentation). The presenter will see the question in their notes (not shown on the screen) and these questions can be shown as the presenter sees fit.

Laser pointer
Google Slides now has a laser pointer that makes it easy to point out things within the presentation. Great if you don't have a physical pointer.

Watch the video to see these features demonstrated

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I am a citizen of Facebook

A very interesting article out of Core-Ed in New Zealand. Some sobering facts and ideas are shared in the article. The video embedded in the article was shared on our blog last month.


"In 2011, ABC News reported estimates of 7.5 million Facebook users under the age of 13-years-old, with almost 5 million under the age of 10."

“Our generation is stuck in this unique position of trying to create ourselves. As if growing up and making sense of the world wasn’t enough, we have this second space where we are forging our identities. One where no generation before us has set the rules. I am as much a citizen of Snapchat as I am of New Zealand.” (Soulpancake 2016).

Full article

Managing Technology at Home

Want some help on managing technology in your home?  Our BS counselor Randi Burns has put together some great tips for you in the screencast below.  Check it out!

Tracking your data - Is it a problem?

We have known for a long time that what we do or post in the Internet is being tracked. Most of us don't believe that it has a significant effect on our lives or that we have anything to hide.

The following post discusses reasons people give for not worrying about data tracking and shares why they should think again.

Here are some resources talking about tracking data.

Terms and Conditions in plain english

When we set up social media accounts and click the Terms and Conditions, do we really know what we are signing up for.

Here is an article from the Washington Post looking at this issue.

“The situation is serious,” Afia said in the report. “Young people are unwittingly giving away personal information, with no real understanding of who is holding that information, where they are holding it and what they are going to do with it.”

From Instagram’s terms of use:
"You are responsible for any activity that occurs through your account and you agree you will not sell, transfer, license or assign your account, followers, username, or any account rights. With the exception of people or businesses that are expressly authorized to create accounts on behalf of their employers or clients, Instagram prohibits the creation of and you agree that you will not create an account for anyone other than yourself. You also represent that all information you provide or provided to Instagram upon registration and at all other times will be true, accurate, current and complete and you agree to update your information as necessary to maintain its truth and accuracy."
Simplified version: 

“Don’t use anybody else’s account without their permission or try to find out their login details.”

Find out more examples and to read the full article

Digital Candy

A thought provoking blog post from Seth Goden, well worth a read.

Are we making things too simple that we dumb things down? Technology has made it easy just to click without looking deeper. He contends that we may be taking out the curiosity from learning.

"While it's foolish to choose to be stupid, it's cultural suicide to decide that insights, theories and truth don't actually matter. If we don't care to learn more, we won't spend time or resources on knowledge.
We can survive if we eat candy for an entire day, but if we put the greenmarkets out of business along the way, all that's left is candy."

In terms of using technology, have we encouraged our students to click on what is easiest, not what is most useful to learn? Are we  teaching useful technology skills or substituting them for what is simpler and seamless?

Flickr: jamz196 Candy Hearts