Monday, February 14, 2011
|Customize a picture collage|
As I said before, the process to create an animated collage can be applied to all the other types of creations and designs: be it a Photo Album, a Scrap-book or a Calendar....The system is the same throughout: chose your design, upload the photos, drag them to the template and change the template accordingly. And that is the beauty of Web 2.0 applications: once you find your way around one, with a bit of thought, you will be able to navigate your way through the others...
Sites to Remember:
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Storybird is a service that uses collaborative storytelling to connect students and teachers around the world. Two (or more) people create a Storybird in a round robin fashion by writing their own text and inserting pictures. They then have the option of sharing their Storybird privately or publicly on the network. The final product can be printed, watched on screen, played with like a toy, or shared through a worldwide library.
To start your first story, go to http://storybird.com, and click on Sing Up to create your accounts. Students can click on the Kids Click Here sticker, and they will be asked to register using their parent's email. After registering and subsequent log in, you will be taken to your Storybird Dashboard, where you will be able to take a look at both your published and unfinished stories, and also at your Reading List. This is because the application will let you browse through other people's stories and select any number to add them to your list.
You, Create, Read
Your Storybird dashboard is divided into three broad areas, accessible through the top left :
- You: This is where you can find your work: what you started, published or were invited to. Your reading list is also accessed from here;
- Create: This is where you let your creative streak loose, and get inspired by art and explore the available themes;
- Read: Finally, this is where you take a look at others' published Storybirds, and add them to your reading list.
To start creating a new story, click on Create and you will have the option to start browsing through the Artists' Story Art, Take The Challenge or Explore Themes. You will be able to use the different artwork to create a Storybird of your own.
Artists' Story Art: Browse through the different pictures created by artists from all over the world. Your will be able to "like" - by clicking on the Heart icon, and share your favourite artists by email, Twitter or Facebook. Some artists may have created artwork about different themes, too. At the bottom of the screen, you will also be able to preview any Storybirds who have used the artwork you are viewing. When you an artwork that you can work with, click on Start a Storybird with this art at the top right hand side of the screen, and then on Jump In to start
Take The Challenge: Every month, Storybird launches a themed competition, which is usually sponsored by a third-party (for example, the December 2010 competition is sponsored by Cheerios, the popular children's breakfast cereal). Users have to create a Storybird according to a pre-set theme and thus enter a competion. Even if you are not interested in enrolling in these competitions, in this section you will be able to view other people's entries and perhaps get inspired about your own project.
Explore Themes: The artwork uploaded by others is naturally tagged for ease of reference. In this section you will be able to browse through all the tagged categories instead of by individual artists, and hence you will be more able to find what you are looking for if you have something specific in mind.
After you have chosen your artwork, you will be able to start working on you own story by clicking on Start a Storybird with this art. You will be presented with a blank canvas, which you can fill up with the artwork scattered all around the page. To fill your page with an illustration, click on the picture you require and drag it onto the page. Note that the illustration will not fill up the whole of the page: a textbox will automatically be created so that you will be able to fill in some text too. Page navigation can be found at the bottom of the screen: click to Add or Delete a page, or Previous Page/Next Page to navigate from one page to the next.
You will be able save, share or publish your Storybird by clicking on the menu on the top right hand side of the screen. Click on Save to safeguard your work; on Menu>Invite Someone to invite collaborators; and on Menu>Publish This Storybird to make your creation available online to others. After you have published your story, you will also be able to share it online with others through blogs or websites by grabbing the Storybird's embed code and copy and paste it onto your platform. Currently, Storybird code is accepted by most popular platforms accepting standard HTML code, such as Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr and Ning. Below is a Storybird created by my friend and collegue, Jeannette Cardona:
Whilst you can use Storybird with your own class, to create a classroom-based story, the straight of the application lies, of course, in the ability to share your creation with others and allow others to add to your own story, to create a collaborative project together. The only drawback I encountered in Storybird seems to be that you are unable to add your own drawings to a single story; however, if you are so inclined, you can apply to be a contributor here: http://storybird.com/artists/
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Prezi is a web-based presentation application and story-telling tool. Instead of using the traditional slides which come one after the other, Prezi gives the user a single canvas which can be filled with words, pictures and videos. The user can fill up the canvas as he or she desires; then, one has to create links from one "item" to the next, to create a free-flowing presentation. The result is a non-linear presentation, where users can zoom in or out of a visual map. The end result can be quite stunning visually. Prezi also allows multiple users to work on the same presentation (by email invitation), making it an excellent collaboration tool.
- A huge white canvas, with the words Click anywhere to add an idea in the middle of the screen;
- The transformation menu on the top left hand side of the screen;
- Save/Print/Exit menu on the top of the screen;
- Zoom in/out menu on the right hand side.
To start writing, click anywhere (litteraly) and start typing away. A text box will automatically open and your will be able to write your message. The text within each text box can be changed in an autonomous way. After you have entered your text and clicked on Ok to save it, you will be able to access it again either by double clicking and re-opening the text box, or else by clicking once and opening the Transformation Zebra.
The Transformation Zebra - Move-Scale-Rotate
The transformation Zebra is a dynamic menu system used by Prezi. By clicking once on the word or item of choice, it will open up and allow you to zoom in, out, delete, duplicate, bring an object to the front or relegate it to the back of the canvas. By moving the scroll button on the mouse, you will be able to zoom in or out of the text box; by clicking on the "X" you will be able to access all the other options. The Transformation Zebra is pivotal to the correct usage of Prezi.
Adding onto your Prezi
Of course, adding textboxes to Prezi is only the beginning of the journey. Click on the transformation menu on the top left hand side of the screen, and choose Insert. From here, you will be able to insert pictures, videos (from your disk or from an URL) or draw shapes with the freehand drawing tool.
To insert a picture or video from your disk, click on Insert > Load File. A standard file browsing window will open, from which you will be able to select the desired file. Alternatively, to add video content which is already online to your Prezi, click anywhere on the canvas to open a text box, and copy and paste the URL of the desired video from YouTube or any similar video repository.
You can also change the fonts and colours of your presentation. Click on the transformation menu and then on Colours and Fonts. You will be able to change the way your presentation looks; however for the moment this is limited only to about 10 templates.
Of course the most important feature of Prezi, which puts it ahead of its game, is the ability to create paths between your words, pictures and videos. The path will determine the order of the information being presented. One can also zoom in or out of specific words and pictures by using Frames.
To create paths, simply click on the transformation menu, and then on Paths. By clicking on each individual item - text, picture, video - you will be able to generate the order in which the items will appear on your screen one after the other. Numbers will appear on each newly created path so that you can tell at a glance which item will come after which. If you wish to delete a path, simply drag the path (where the number is written) out of the text box, video or picture.
If you wish to zoom onto a specific parts of the text, you may also create frames by clicking on the transformation menu and then on Frames. You will be able to select specific parts of a picture and zoom in directly onto it by creating a new path for the frame.
Saving and Downloading your Prezi
From here, you have several options at your disposal, which are accessible from the menu on the left hand side of the screen:
- Edit Prezi: to edit your existing presentation;
- Save a copy: to create a backup of your prezi;
- Download: to download a copy of your prezi for offline viewing - however, bear in mind that if your prezi contains online material, such as videos from YouTube, they will not work without an Internet connection;
- Delete: to delete a prezi from the online repository (make sure that you have downloaded it for future use first).
Collaboration with others
Like other Web 2.0 tools, Prezi allows great collaboration between groups of people who will be able to work together on the same presentation. You will be able to get a link and share the Prezi by email, or embed it onto your website or blog. But best of all, Prezi allows you to invite editors to work together with you on your presentation. Click on Get Link to get your presentation's link, on Embed to grab the code and or on Invite Editors to invite your collaborators to work with you. You will be able to work hand-in hand with your colleagues or friends on this innovative presentation software.
Sites to remember:
Examples of other free, online presentation software: http://mashable.com/2008/02/16/forget-powerpoint-online-presentations/
NB I would like to thank Franco for teaching me how to use Prezi, and Jeffrey for having the patience to repeat :)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The first step is, of course, registration: log onto http://issuu.com/ and click on Sign Up Now. It will allow for quick and easy registration, and then it will immediately allow you to find other users in your contact list who are using Issuu as well. This will allow even easier sharing of your documents with your friends. You will also be asked whether you want to view the introdoctory videos to get you started: here is the very first one which I have embedded here:
- From your Home Page, click on My Library.
- Choose from your shelves the document you would like to work with.
- Click on Embed on the top right hand side of the screen. Choose the type of code you want to work with - HTML, Blogger, Wordpress etc.
- Scroll down and customise other settings, including layout, size, colour and theme, whether you want icons to appear on screen, whether your publication will be flicking automatically from one page to the next, etc. As soon as you are happy with your settings, click and copy the Embed Code itself from the top right hand side of the screen.
- Paste the Embed Code onto your blog or website.