How To Do Green Screen Photography on an iPad at School

Green Screen Photography for the iPad

There are lots of great learning opportunities when you use green screen effects in the classroom. I’ve written about some of those before, but almost all of them involved green screen movies. What about green screen photography? Is that possible on an iPad? It is, because there’s an app for that.

Recently I was reminded of the ability to do green screen photography when I read a blog post by Dr. Wesley Fryer. He did a green screen photo booth at the Fall Festival of the school he works at in Oklahoma. Great idea. So how do you do it? It all starts with the Green Screen app by DoInk. The rest is easy! Here’s how it works.

1. Start by collecting the background images you want to use in place of the green screen. You can get lots of free, high-quality images on sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Morguefile or Pexels. Once you find the images you need, save them to your camera roll by pressing and holding on the photo and selecting Save Image.

2. Set up your green screen, and make sure it is evenly lit with no dark or light areas. You don’t have to mount your iPad on a tripod for green screen photography, but if you have that ability, you absolutely should because you will get a sharper image more often.

3. Next, open the Green Screen app and toggle the Video switch to Image. This changes the operation of the app from green screen video to green screen photography, (see below).

Switch from video to image

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The Top 10 iPad Features That Schools Forget

The 10 Best Forgotten iPad Features for

With iPads, it’s all about the apps, and rightly so sometimes, but not everyone takes full advantage of the native features that Apple builds in to the iPad software for everyone to use. So, for this post I am rounding up ten of the most forgotten iPad features that are awesome for education. No additional apps are required to use any of these features because they work right out of the box.

1. Visual Timer – The Clock app often gets buried in a folder deep among some other apps that you don’t use very much, but if you are looking for a good visual timer, you should look for the Clock app. Just open the Clock app, and tap Timer. You can even choose from a variety of tones to mark the end of your timer. While you are here, take a look at the stopwatch with lap timers for PE, and the world clocks are great for checking the time before Skyping with a class overseas! 🙂

timer ios

2. Dictionary – Did you know the iPad has a built-in dictionary? Press and hold your finger on any word on a webpage, then let go to select it. A pop-up menu next to the word will allow you to select the option to define the word. The default language of your iPad is the one a word will be defined in, but tapping Manage in the bottom left-hand corner of the definition will let you add foreign language dictionaries too! Try the Spanish-English dictionary for a quick translator.

dictionary ios

3. Maps – I think there is a huge amount of potential for using the Maps app in the classroom. Whether it is adding context to a novel you are reading, or analyzing the 3D view of foreign cities in Social Studies. In Math you can use directions to create cross-curricular problems like “How far is it from here to New York and back?” The Maps app is not always 100% up to date, but I would bet it is a lot more up to date than any globe you have in your classroom!

4. Speak Selection/Page – For students that need this accommodation, the ability to have the iPad read the screen aloud is a great option. It works on webpages, PDFs, iBooks and more. To activate it, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech and turning on Speak Selection and/or Speak Screen. Once activated, press and hold on a word to make a selection, then tap speak to hear the words read aloud. To speak the whole screen, swipe down from the top of your screen with two fingers, or tell Siri to speak the screen. The on-screen controls let you pause, skip and adjust the pace. Headphones or earbuds are great to have on hand for just this purpose.

Continue reading “The Top 10 iPad Features That Schools Forget”

Unsplash: Free, High-Resolution, Royalty-Free Images

UNSPLASH royalty free images

There are numerous places on the web where teachers can go to find royalty-free images that they and their students can use in the classroom as part of educational projects. However, I don’t often hear many educators talk about Unsplash.com. So, if you haven’t heard of it before, pay attention, because this is a good one! 🙂

Unsplash has a very unique business model. Every 10 days they upload 10 free photos to their website. All of the images are free, high-resolution photos that have been submitted, free of any usage restrictions, by established and aspiring photographers. All the images are stunning examples of photography, and you can do whatever you want with these photos with a completely clear conscience.

house on a dock

Not convinced? Here’s what the Unsplash license says:

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

This is what photographers are agreeing to when they submit a photo to Unsplash.com. So, why would they do such a thing? Each image includes the name of the photographer when you hover over it with your mouse, and when you click on it you will often find a link to their website or online portfolio. Seems fair, right? Not all photographers are a fan of this idea, but everyone that submits photos knows what they are giving up, and it is in return for more publicity.

Of course, even though you don’t need to cite an Unsplash image, it doesn’t mean you can’t. Citing your sources is always the best habit to develop with students, and absolutely one that should be taught in school as part of a digital citizenship program. Kathy Schrock wrote about this recently for eSchool News, so take a look at that article if you need a refresher or some tips on how to properly cite images found online.

plane from upsplash

The only real downside to Unsplash for educators is that the images are NOT sorted, categorized or searchable. However, that need not be a deal breaker. The images are handpicked because they are interesting, tell a story, or capture the attention of the viewer with strong visual elements. Photos like these are still very useful for writing prompts, classroom discussions, presentations, blog posts, artistic reinterpretations, app smashing, and more.

On an iPad, you can also save them to the camera roll and bring them into Canva for creative graphic design challenges. Mac, PC or Chromebook users can save them to their hard drive and do the same on Canva.com. What’s more, you can subscribe to the Unsplash website and receive ten new images in your inbox every ten days. See something you like? Save it to a Google Drive folder, an album in your camera roll, or a folder in OneDrive where you can tag it, organize it, and use it over and over again.

bench from unsplash.com

Recently I have been spending some time looking at Morguefile and Pixabay, but Unsplash is definitely one of my new favorite sites for images, despite the lack of search options, simply due to the variety  and quality of images that are on display. Oh, and in case you were wondering, all the images in this post were sourced from unsplash.com! See how many you can spot in future posts. 🙂

BONUS: If you are looking for more sources for free images, check out this post that the Buffer team put together – 53+ Free Image Sources for Your Blog and Social Media Posts.

UPDATE: Ingo Joseph (@IngoJoseph) told me about Pexels.com. It works the same way as UnSplash. Images on Pexels.com include submissions from Unsplash and other sources, and all photos are licensed under the same Creative Commons Zero license.

One Best Thing: Free Lesson Ideas for Apple Classrooms

one best thing ibooks

While going through some of my curated articles in Pocket the other day, I came across a link to an iBook created by Dan Goble called Six-Word Story, Six Unique Shots: Enhancing Writing Through Multimedia. In it, Don outlines a creative digital storytelling exercise that combines film making skills with the power of language to compile a six shot, six-word story.

So, impressed with what I had read, I shared it on social media and in my iPadography for Educators Google+ Community. Before too long, I received a message from Cyndi Danner-Kuhn telling me that this is actually part of a larger series of iBooks from Apple Distinguished Educators called One Best Thing.

one best thing ibooks

The books are on all kinds of curricular topics. Each one represents a lesson or unit that highlights an innovative use of (Apple) technologies, and readers are encouraged to use any of the ideas they see in their own classrooms as a way to improve teaching and learning with technology.

Some highlights include Don’t Create a Book, Create a Field Trip, by Sean Junkins. I saw Sean give a presentation on how he created this project at ISTE in 2013 and was impressed by his take on how to build engaging, interactive textbooks with iBooks Author. I also enjoyed Photographing History: Archiving With Apps by Cheryl Davis where she describes how to empower students as historians on a quest to archive the secrets of the past with multimedia evidence they capture in the present.

photographing history by cheryl davis

Each of the One Best Thing iBooks are freely available in the iBooks Store. They are short, practical, and creative ways to use technology in the classroom. So, if you are using Macs or iPads with your students and are looking for some new ideas on how to integrate technology into your existing curriculum, you should take a look to see what is on offer. You can find all the books in this series by searching for One Best Thing in the iBooks Store on a Mac or iOS device.