Creating green screen animations with Keynote

Last year I used to keep my magic move Keynote lesson and the green screen lesson separately but this year I saw some potential to merge them.

Students created two copies of an animation using shapes in Keynote. The first version would have a picture or coloured background. The second version would have a green background. The idea behind this is that students would export both animations as movies before importing them into Green Screen by Do Ink. 

When using Do Ink the first version of the animation would be on the base layer, the green background version would be the top layer and the student would position themselves in between. This allows students to step inside their animations.

Below is an example of how this works.

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Everyone Can Create Environmental Awareness.

Environmental awareness has been an interest of mine for quite a while and over the summer I remembered some of the photography activities I did back in college.

A really old blog post detailing my work as a student can be found here. 

With this in mind and the launch of the Everyone Can Create curriculum I decided it was time to integrate this into my classroom. I used this activity to highlight the city we live in whilst also using it as an introduction to photo editing with Snapseed App. 

First off I sent students on a mission to use their cameras to capture some photos from around the city and college. I didn’t specify types of photos or whether they should capture positive or negative pictures. This was one of their first experiences using the iPad camera so I was interested in what they would come back with.

Once they had their selection of photos I introduced them to some key features in Snapseed (filters, cropping, adding text) before allowing them some time to explore and create their own photos. Below are some of the results.

Before editing

After Editing

 

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Everyone Can Create Photo Silhouettes

About a year ago we used the All About Me template from the Apple Teacher Platform to create some customised silhouettes filled with student’s hobbies and interests.

You can find the old blog post from that activity here 

Fast forward a year and thanks to Everyone Can Create we are now doing the same but with customised silhouettes. This addition allows students to learn about lighting and photography basics.

Students start off with taking their silhouette against a well lit background. We found that doorways and windows worked well for this.

Next up students would edit the photo in photos to increase/ decease the contrast and use markup to draw in any spots that needed lightening or darkening. Once the silhouette was complete they brought it into Keynote and added shapes.

With one class we used this method for all photos and got the following results.

For the second group we took a different approach and instead of working with photos and markup students instead brought their photos directly into keynote and lowered the opacity of the silhouette before drawing around it with Apple Pencil and filling with a colour of their choice. This gave a different type of look to the silhouettes.

While the first method was slightly more tedious for students to do there are lessons to be learned from both methods.

You can find more guidance in the Everyone Can Create Photo Book which can be downloaded for free here

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Logitech Crayon. Hands-on review.

When the Logitech Crayon was announced back in March I was excited to get my hands on it. I didn’t think it would take this long but it finally arrived.

I am a big fan of the Apple Pencil so was interested to see how this would compare.

Charging and syncing 

So this was a nice experience. The orange cap lifts off (but is still attached) so you can insert your lightning cable in to charge it. Interestingly there wasn’t a lightning cable included but sure if you have an iPad you will have one of those. I did like how you could just plug the cable directly into it like you do your devices or Beats whereas the Apple Pencil either has to be plugged into a device or charged via the lightning adaptor. The fact that the tip doesn’t pop off also means less likelihood of losing it (I am always afraid of losing the one from my Pencil)

Synching was simple. All I had to do was open up Notes/ Pages and my iPad responded to it.

The feel 

So the shape is the one thing that got me. It is quite a bit heavier but also doesn’t have the same rounded shape as the Apple Pencil. It reminds me more of the Paper 53 stylus I had a few years back. My initial reaction to this was ‘wow I don’t like it’ but within a couple of minutes, I got used to it.

The price

The price ended up being a lot steeper than I initially expected working out at £65 from Logitech or £60 from Apple. I had hoped somewhere around the £40-£50 mark. However, if you are a staff or a student at an institute you might like to take advantage of their 30% student discount which brings it in at £45 including delivery. You can get that discount here. 

Conclusion 

While I think my own personal go-to stylus will be the Apple Pencil I  think the lack of having to synch the Crayon makes it the perfect classroom companion and I cannot wait to use mine.

 

 

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Shadow Draw App Review

I have seen the @shadowdrawapp Twitter handle appear quite a bit over recent weeks and finally took some time to sit down and try it out. Well, I wasn’t disappointed.

The regular app contains a mix of free tutorials and in-app purchases. A year ago this kind of app wouldn’t have appealed to me but Keynote line drawings and Apple Pencil have converted me.
As a leftie I found some of the tutorials a little tricky but after 4 or 5 I got the hang of it and learned to adjust my lines and hand accordingly.
I think this is a great intro to drawing and will be adding it to my curriculum this year. The ShadowDraw Academy app is just for schools and features subject specific drawings like maps for Geography.

Below are a couple of my first (and very rough!) drawings. You can download the apps from ShadowDraw here

Don’t forget to share your creations on social media.

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Trip Planning with Google Maps.

As someone who likes to travel a lot and likes to plan traveling I spend a lot of time exploring Google Maps. Figuring out directions, grouping activities and more.

When planning an upcoming trip to Prague I wondered if there was a way I could just place all my activities on my own personalized Google Map and yes that feature did exist and probably has for some time.

It is easy all you have to do is visit Google maps
1. Make sure you’re signed in – you can do so by clicking the Login button in the top-right corner.
2. In the top left corner, next to the search box, click the menu icon to expand the menu.
3. Click “Your Places”, “Maps” and then click “Create Map” to edit your map.
4. A new window will pop up.

and choose your location. Then you can layer your activities, restaurants, pubs, accommodation etc on top and this is perfect to share with travel companions. When you arrive at your destination and are suddenly hungry for something to eat you can see what food locations you had saved nearby.
The map is easily customizable so you can allocate different colors and pin shapes for different activities.

As a useful tip, you can change the terrain in the Basemap. I like the Simple Atlas terrain as it is simple and means I can easily see my own pins.

This would be a fun activity to do ahead of a class trip or Geography project.

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New Book – Reimagining Creativity in Adult Education

When I attended the 2018 Apple ADE Conference in Austin there was a lot of talk about creativity and it got me thinking that sometimes creativity is pushed aside when the focus is on exam results and getting points to attend university.

With this in mind, I collected some creative lesson plans and collated them into a book. The book includes demos, video tutorials and walkthroughs.

The aim of the book is so teachers can pick it up and use one of the examples in their classroom without having a lot of experience. Hopefully, this will encourage teachers to try more creative classroom ideas and adult learners can explore creativity through Keynote, Clips, Pages and more.

The book can be downloaded for free from the iBook Store here 

 

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Using Managed Apple IDs in the classroom

Managed Apple IDs were announced over a year ago and I never really had a need or want for them. I had been using my own Apple ID for close to 10 years so you can just imagine the history of purchases and downloads associated with it.

However, this quickly changed at the Apple Education event back in March when they announced that Managed IDs would now come with 200gb iCloud storage. Given that I had been paying for this it suddenly gave that incentive to give Managed IDs another consideration. Another motivation came when Schoolwork was released to only work with Managed IDs

Below is a quick overview of how you can make Managed IDs work for you. I would suggest that when transferring iCloud content you either download to the new Managed ID or Airdrop across. It is a time consuming process but works well.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>There are more and more reasons to use Managed Apple IDs in the classroom. Here’s how I use them while retaining iTunes Store purchasing ability for staff (our student purchases are done via MDM)

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Introducing Schoolwork

Schoolwork a new Apple app for teachers was launched this week and is everything we have been waiting for.
It is a way of handing out assessments and receiving and marking students work. This release came too late for my current classes but I look forward to using it in September.

To enable School work staff and student iPads need to use Managed Apple IDs and be set up using Apple School Manager.
Because I already had this all set up it was a pretty easy migration to Schoolwork.

Below is a quick tutorial I have created. You can find out more info about Schoolwork here

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Fieldtrips with Clips.

Clips is a free video-creation Apple app for iOS that devices that was launched early in 2017. Since it’s launch I have been using it both personally and in the classroom.

Going back a couple of years the video creation section of my digital media module used to take weeks or learning and content gathering. Often times it was not possible for students to capture their own content so they would use some royalty free video videos and a bit of imagination.

Now with Clips I can take students on a trip and they can capture as they go. Some students like to capture everything within Clips which means that they are pretty much finished their videos by the time they return others like to capture their content in the camera roll, make some edits and then import into Clips. My personal preference is the latter method but whatever works for the students.

Here are a few Clips that were created after a recent field trip to Elizabeth Fort.

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