Pixlr X: Free Online Photo Editor

Pixlr X: A fantastic online photo editor that's easy to use

Pixlr has a reputation for providing high quality, free online photo editors. I have been using them on and off for several years now, and I keep coming back to them despite having access to more powerful brand name equivalents from Adobe and others. Pixlr started their journey with a free online alternative to Photoshop. Their next release was Pixlr Express, a more simple editor that anyone could use for quick fix and easy filters and effects. Last month, they unveiled Pixlr X, and I think it might be my favorite one to date. Here’s why.

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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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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.

Join the iPadography for Educators Community on Google+!

ipadography

If you are an iPad teacher and you’re going back to school, here’s another opportunity to expand your PLN and learn some new tricks – the iPadography for Educators Google+ Community. It is free for anyone to join and is aimed directly at teachers who are looking to do photo and video projects in an iPad classroom.

I started it just before the summer and it has steadily grown to include a host of great educators. In the community you can post, or read about, lesson ideas, amazing apps, iPad accessories, and more. Got a question? Feel free to post that too.

All you need to get started is a Google account and an active Google+ profile. Both are free. So, whether you are already doing great things with photos and videos in the classroom, or are just looking for some new ideas, this community is for you! It’s a space to share, brainstorm, and innovate. It’s also a great way to connect with like minded people.

Visit the iPadography for Educators Google+ Community here!

 

 

iPadography: Photo Projects for the iPad Classroom

The camera is one of those apps on the iPad that we sometimes take for granted. We forget it is there or don’t always use it to its full potential in the classroom. This week I am presenting at iPadU: Slide to Unlock Learning, and I wanted to highlight some of the many ways that you could use the iPad camera, so I put some ideas together and added some I had seen on the web or learned from others. The result? iPadography: Photo Projects for the iPad Classroom.

So, if you are looking for ideas for using the iPad camera in the classroom, take a look at some of the slides below, and feel free to share it with others who might be interested! You can also join iPadography for Educators – a Google+ group I created for educators looking to do photo and video projects with students on an iPad.