Monday, January 28, 2013

Grabbing an image from the web

While watching some training videos on SMART boards today I realized an essential skill before attempting to create a lesson on the smartboard would be to ability to capture and use media.This of course is a great model for the common core standards

Just as media and technology are integrated in school and life in the twenty-first century, skills related to media use (both critical analysis and production of media) are integrated throughout the standards.

Thus a primer on the use of screen capture and basic annotation tools. Though perhaps the annotation software is less necessary for the SMARTboard. (note I do not talk about copyright use, but the images I use are Creative Common copyright 1.0 from Gerd Altman)

When getting a picture from my computer to use in a presentation I usually want to do a few things.
  1. I only want to capture a part of the screen
  2. I want to use an arrow or something to point to a particular part of the image
  3. I want to add a bit of text
  4. I want to outline an area on the screen
  5. I want to mask a student name or similar

My favorite is Skitch from Evernote.

This cool tool can be used on most any platform. (Windows, Mac, iOs, and Android) The exception being Linux computers, but there are many fine alternatives there and if you are using Linux you don’t need me to point you to them.

Skitch has the most often used annotation tools right there when you capture 

The little drag me tab at the bottom means I can drag and drop it into word or a power point and it resizes for the program. I don’t have to save the image and then find it and all that other stuff. However, it doesn't work as well with Google docs. It is also easy enough to take a full screen capture and crop it down to size. 

Windows Snip

Before I started using Skitch I used Snip. This program has the advantage of be included in Windows 7.

Snip can quickly snip a small area of the screen and allows you to highlight or write with a pen, but does not have the shape tools or arrows or similar. It is easy enough to copy and paste the image into a document, but it will usually require a resize.

Of course the original screen shot is still on all keyboards. The button print screen will take a full screen still of everything, including a second monitor if you have one and save it on the temporary clipboard. If you then paste the image into an editing program such as Paint in Windows you can edit the picture as needed. You can even paste the image into Word and resize and crop  and add arrows and everything else. 

For Macs the same process can be done using the keyboard shortcuts Command Shift 4. The image is automatically saved onto the desktop and must be pasted into a program to do any annotations. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to use twitter

This topic has come up a few times recently and then today I found this great primer for getting started. Most of it is self explanatory, but if you need additional help and you work in the district please feel free to ask. (If you don't work in the district I can't promise I can find time to help)