Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This Friday - time is running out.

What are you doing this Friday from like 8-12? Why not join us in St. Charles for this great learning event.

Why should you attend?
I went last year and had a series of great conversations about education. I believe it is worth a few hours of your time.

Sign up for this free event.

Making Beautiful Art (Summer 2017)

The purpose of this post is to serve as a guide for our summer class Making Beautiful Art. If you did not attend, no worries! You can read the post and gain some new skills to help your punch up the images you take on your mobile device.

By the end of this course you will be able to:
  • Use the Rule of Thirds when you take a picture.
  • Edit images on your laptop.
  • Edit images using a variety of apps on your mobile device.
  • Download, install and set up Google Photos on your mobile device. (iOS/Android).
  • Download and install PicMonkey (iOS/Android)
  • Download and install Snapseed (iOS/Android)
Task 1
Take a picture of that.
We started the session by taking a picture of a random table. The table was littered with assorted things just to make it a little interesting. The big idea is to start with a common object we all take a picture of. We will come back to the table and apply new skills to see how we develop throughout the session.

Evaluation of Award Winning Cell Phone Images
The class studied a series of images that were taken on mobile devices. The idea was to experience award winning images and try to under the techniques they used.

Rule of Thirds

After the video we talked a bit about the rule. Then we revisited the award winning images and applied the Rule of Thirds to it. The goal was to see how the rule could impact the viewers experience.

The Two Big Ideas
1. Use the Rule to direct attention.
2. Use the Rule to tell the viewer what the most important part of the image is.

Another idea that was not presented in the video was to zoom with your feet and knees. Many of us take images like they were shot from a helicopter. See the first image for an example, it was like I was hovering over the table when I took the shot. When you force yourself to move you start thinking of the image in a new way.

Retake Time

Before we took our second table image we turned on the grid lines in our camera app. This allowed us to see the Rule live on the screen.

Retake the shot of the table using the new ideas you just learned.
Compare the two, what do you notice?
Does one image tell a better story that the other?

Outside Photo Shoot
Remember to use the Rule of Thirds, tell a story with every shot and make every shot worth viewing. Keeping that in mind, complete the following task.

Go outside and shoot the following images:
  • 2 close up shots of anything you find interesting
  • 2 wide shots
  • 2 medium shots
  • 2 of anything you want
After shooting the images open up Google Photos on your laptop. Make sure the photos have synced so we can start editing.

Do you notice anything different about the shots you took?

Cropping - Google Photos
One of the fastest ways to improve most images is by cropping.

Open the image.
Click the pencil.

Click this icon.

Grab one of the corners and start dragging.
Note the grid lines, keep in mind the Rule of Thirds.

Color Adjustment - Google Photos
Adjust the appearance of your image is wicked easy, just a click and a slide.

1. Click the middle icon.
2. Click the drop down arrow.

Select an option and slide.

Editing on Mobile - Google Photos
It is almost exactly the same as editing on your laptop.

Once you open the image you want to edit you will notice the pencil at the bottom. Click that to find the editing tools.

The tool options will appear at the bottom of your screen.

A sweet app and site. Super easy to use for editing your images.
The idea here would be to start editing in PicMokey, save to camera roll and continue adjusting the image in Google Photos. This is a process commonly referred to as App Smashing. I'm positive many of you already do this with Seesaw.

Similar to Google Photos, once you open the image you will find the editing tools at the bottom.

1. Find an effect
2. Adjust
3. Save
Then click Share. Choose Google photos.

Now you can continue to edit the image in Photos.

Snapseed is another Google product. While it is similar to Photos, it offers a few unique tools.

Open an image.
Click the pencil.
You will be presented with a number of options.
Check out the Text option.

Want to see the most amazing option?
Take a selfie.
Open Snapseed and find your selfie.
Scroll down and find Pose.

Next Steps
In class we took some images. Edited them. Shared the results to a Slides so we could talk about what we did to create the art.

Google Photos
     Official Google help page.
     PicMonkey's twitter feed. This might be the best to follow for ideas and how-tos.
     PicMonkey's support page - from photo editing, design collage and more.
     Snapseed's Help Center

Bonus App
For some great B&W shots check out Lenka.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Have you seen this program?

I'm sure you are reading something this summer, why not join this program offered by the St. Louis County Library?

Signing up for the Summer Reading Club is just a few clicks. You can even track everything online, no need for the paper forms.

Can it get any better? You bet. Check out the calendar for a bunch of fun activities at the surrounding libraries. Some of these require you to register for the free classes.

Story Time/Lap Time - story time for the youngest readers
Art Experiences - from crafts to sewing
Minecraft - have your kids go and play on the library server

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Build Your Own Spaceship - Academy of Science

Check this out! There is a free event happening soon at the Grant's View library. The event is sponsored by the Academy of Science, a St. Louis organization to help promote science interest and education in students and adults.

 Why not sign up and join us for an upcoming session on June 8th from 7:00-8:30 PM.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Novel Engineering - Space it running out!

Check this out!

Not sure if there is any room left but sign up if you are interested. Looks pretty fun.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This one thing has saved me year after year.

I am a digital pack rat. I never delete emails, I just move them into a folder to give the appearance of an empty inbox. I keep all pictures, never delete even the blurry ones. All that deleting takes too much time and way too many clicks.

I have the same issue with bookmarks, I have a ton.

Years ago I would save them to the browser but after a while I could never find what I needed. It was nearly impossible to figure out which folder sites belonged to. Did the district page fall into the school folder or work? Sometimes I would make a folder for finance another for bank and a third might contain stocks. It was a messy system.

I kept seeing all these tweets for Diigo, some type of site, app and extension for saving bookmarks and once I signed up I never looked back. Using Diigo has saved me time and now all bookmarks are a simple search away.

This tool allows me to tag each site I save with different key words. I could pick a stock I want to follow (Apple) and tag it with apple, stock, retirement, money. This system makes it simple to save and always have the ability to pull up information quickly. No more second guessing about which folder something belongs in.

If that wasn't enough, I never loose my links. When I get a new laptop or the one I'm using is reimaged, I just download the Diigo extension. All my sites are there. I can also find them on my mobile devices.

Getting Started
Start at Diigo's website.
Create an account.

I would recommend adding the Chrome extension
I also added it to my Android phone and iPad. This enables me to save things I see on twitter, facebook or the web quickly. No idea is lost. While I might not look at it right away, I'll have it when I need it.

Bookmarking on Chrome is a breeze assuming you installed the extension. I found this page about Pi and wanted to save it for later.
1. Click the little d and the drop down will appear.
2. Click Save Bookmark.

1. Add one word descriptions (tags) for the site you want to save. You can add more than one word but you need to put quotes around those words.
2. Click Save.

Finding Your Bookmarks
This is the true power of why Diigo has been so transformational for me, the library!
Click the little d in your browser like you did to add a bookmark.
1. Click the small double arrows in the lower right.
2. Click My Library.

1. I entered pi as my search term.
2. All the posts that reference pi appear in the results.

I could refine my search by adding summer17 after pi and my results would narrow considerably.

The big idea is to add more than one tag to each link you want to save. It becomes much easier to find later on.

Take It Up A Notch
Check out the teacher features. This is worth signing up for.

You can import your current bookmarks from your browser

Seesaw - Summer 2018

This post was created to help guide our Seesaw session. Seesaw is a student-driven online portfolio which can also be used for parent c...