Thing 17: Media Skills

INTRODUCTION

smartphone
Image pixabay CC0 by FirmBee

Photos, graphics, GIFs, video – media is king these days! And many of us (and our students!) use media to communicate more and more.

Knowing how to use photos, take video, capture screenshots, annotate images, create collages, share images online and so on, are crucial skills that are as essential as knowing how to use a word processor or a spreadsheet. And it’s an important type of literacy, check out this article: Picting, not Writing, is the Literacy of Today’s Youth

This lesson is a hodge-podge of tips and tools related to images and video. There should be something new for everyone to explore and practice.

NOTE: Though I’ve tried to find services and tools that don’t stray into the NSFW (not safe for work) area, be aware that you never know what sort of graphics some services might display.

Photos in Education Before we get to the long list of tips and tools, here are some student photo project ideas to inspire you.

LEARNING ACTIVITY

Since this is such a long list of resources, we’re putting the learning activity here at the top. Remember, you don’t have to explore everything on this page! There’s a lot here to make sure everyone finds something new and interesting to do.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT IS SIMPLE:

  • If there’s one skill you must learn, it’s how to take a screenshot on your computer and mobile devices. Using the instructions below, take a screenshot from your various computers and devices. Share the screenshots in your blog post.
  • Already know how to screenshot? Explore something new to you. Or something familiar, but in more depth.
  • Or create a photo, video or other creative media project of some sort – simple or complex – you choose! Some more ideas listed below.
  • Whatever you choose to do, challenge yourself to learn something new and think about how you could use it with students, connecting with your school community, promote library services, etc.
  • HAVE LOTS OF FUN WITH THIS ONE!
  • Write a blog post about your experience. Embed your project if you can, or link to it so we can enjoy what you’ve done.

MORE IDEAS FOR ACTIVITIES:

*TURNING IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT

  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to the Google Classroom assignment page, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.

 

TIPS, TOOLS & RESOURCES

SCREENSHOTS

Knowing how to take a screenshot is so useful.  Use screenshots to share tips on how to use a website, create a custom image to upload to Pinterest, capture an image for a presentation slidedeck, create posters, add images to web-based projects and much much more.

Windows Screenshot Tips

Take screenshots of your desktop, an application running on your desktop or in your browser.

  • Printscreen key on keyboard – creates an image of the whole screen and puts it in your clipboard, from there you can paste it into any software that will let you paste from the clipboard.
  • Alt-Printscreen – Takes a screenshot of the active window.
  • Snipping tool – Free tool built into windows, outline a freeform area, select a rectangular or freeform area, various options for saving.
  • Snip – Microsoft tool for taking a screenshot, annotating it and sharing it.
  • Snagit from Techsmith – ($) Lots of features not available in free tools. Mac & PC desktop application. Free trial. Educational & individual pricing.

Macintosh Screenshot Tips

Take screenshots of your desktop, an application running on your desktop or in your browser.

  • Command-shift-3 – whole screen is copied to your clipboard
  • Command-shift-4 -portion of the screen is copied to the clipboard
  • Grab App – more options – one handy feature is a timer so you can set up what you want to show before the shot is captured.
  • Snagit from Techsmith – ($) Lots of features not available in free tools. Mac & PC desktop application. Free trial. Educational & individual pricing.

Browser Extensions – These tools capture screenshots of what you see in your browser screen. Some are specific to a particular browser and/or operating system.

  • Awesome Screenshot – Chrome, Safari, Firefox browser add-on. Options capturing whole web page, visible part or selected part. Includes cropping, editing, markup. Save online, in your Diigo account, Google Drive or to the desktop.
  • Lightshot – Another browser add on, with similar editing, markup and cropping option. Most unusual feature is option to search Google for similar images right from the screenshot editing window. Handy.
  • Snagit for Chrome – Free version of Snagit for Chromebooks and the Chrome browser with simple editing options. Sends screenshots to your Google Drive account.

Mobile Devices and tablets

  • How to take a screenshot of your iPhone or iPad  – Push the Power and Home buttons at the same time. The screenshot will appear in your iPad photostream.
  • Taking a screenshot on Android devices varies from device to device. Do a web search for help on this one.

Misc Screenshot Tips

  • Saving an image – don’t forget the simple trick of using your mouse “right click’ to to download an image or save it to your clipboard when your on a desktop or laptop computer.
  • Snaggy – Copy an image, then paste to a box on the Snaggy page. Snaggy uploads the image to the web and gives you a URL to share the image. Very handy.

EDITORS & IMAGE CREATION TOOLS

Who needs fancy, expensive editing software when there are some great, free tools available, both online editors and desktop editors.

  • PicMonkey – Free version has all the basic editing options you’ll need, without getting overwhelmed.
  • Pixlr – An amazing tool! If you’re familiar with desktop photo editors like PaintShopPro or Photoshop Elements, this free online editor will likely impress you with all it’s features. Also available for Android and iOS. (Pixlr also offers an Express version of its editor.)
  • Photoshop Express Editor – Free, iOS and Android editing app. And also available as a web tool.
  • Fotojet – Create collages, social media posts, graphics, Pinterest pins and more, simply and quickly. Start from over 700 provided templates.
  • Canva – Another tool for creating all sorts of graphics, posters, slides, Instagram images, Pinterest pins and more. More options than Fotojet.
  • The Noun Project – Fabulous repository of icons for anything and everything. Trust me, take a look, it’s an amazing collection. Free to use images if you give credit to creator. Also has a good discount price for educators. The paid account makes it much easier to recolor and download images. No credit needs to be given to images if you buy the paid account. I finally bought access and use the icons on web pages, documents and in Google Drawing projects.
  • Clipping Magic – Upload image, easy to use selection tools let you edit out the background of an image and save it as a transparent gif. (no longer free, but still a great tool.)
  • Background Burner – Similar to Clipping Magic, not quite as precise, but still free!
  • Some popular apps – Ripl, Prisma, Waterlogue
  • Snapchat and Instagram both have ways to share a selection of images and short videos to create a cohesive story.

QUOTE GRAPHICS & WORD CLOUDS

Powerpoint and Google Slides are handy tools for making a bunch of photo/quote images quickly. Paste a photo into a slide & use the title area to write a quote over top. “Save As JPEG” will export each slide as separate image.

These online tools for creating quote graphics and word clouds benefit from having access to thousands of Creative Commons 0 licensed photos and lots of fonts.

  • Quozio – Bookmarklet on browser toolbar turns text into a colorful graphic in a few seconds. Handy.
  • Stencil & Pablo –  Handy tools for creating social media images. Add text, select backgrounds. Search feature to find the right background image. Includes choices of shape and size optimized for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. (Stencil link is a referral link)
  • 23 Tools and Resources to Create Images for Social Media
  • Word Clouds with Tagxedo and Wordle

SCANNING

Need an image digitized, use a scanner. Don’t have one? Use a smartphone or tablet app like CamScanner or the scanner built into the Evernote app.

ANIMATED GIFS

The internet world is once again in love these animated images. They were hot in the mid-90′s when the web was new. And now they’re everywhere again. They’re made by either snipping out a short section of a video or by stringing together some still images and having them loop over and over.

Animated GIFs can be used to create a quick demo of how to do something as Kasy Bell demonstrates in How to Create Screencast GIFs.  They can also be used to create short digital stories. Upload a series of hand drawn and scanned sketches to make a little animated cartoon. Create PowerPoint slides with quotes and images, save them as individual images to create a short slide show. This video, How to Make an Animated GIF, presents a simple, free tool for creating them and uses quote/image slides as an example. (my example)

VIDEO

This is a huge topic in itself. There are so many ways to take video now, with our smartphones, regular cameras, fancy video cams or perhaps a GoPro camera attached to your ski helmet or drone. This section lists a few tools and resources to experiment with. There are tons more!

Video apps

  • Instagram – Video option built in for posting short videos. (iOS & Android app)
  • Magisto – I’m intrigued by this one and haven’t tried it yet. Apps, web and PC. “Magisto turns your everyday videos and photos into exciting, memorable movies you’ll want to watch again and again.”
  • 1 Second Everyday – Chronicle your year with 1 second of video every day. Strangely fascinating. (iOS & Android app)
  • Check out the iPad and Android app stores for more video apps.

Online storage

Editing, etc.

MORE RESOURCES

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