Category Archives: app

Just do ink

App icon from the app store

App icon from the app store

I took the challenge of finding a new tool to work with this week and I choose to work with DoInk App. Although I knew there were green screen apps available, I didn’t know specific names for any apps. Thanks to Rochelle I was introduced to DoInk. It is available in the app store and can be purchased for $3.99 which I feel is a fair price for what you get. I downloaded the app on my iPhone 6 and feel as though it might have been nicer to work with on an iPad just because the screen is a little bigger to work with. The DoInk website has a lot of

Our green screen made from wrapping paper

Our green screen made from wrapping paper

I decided to jump right in before reading a lot about using the app or viewing the tutorials on the site. Before I could do anything I needed to create a green screen. There are many ways you can make a green screen and most are pretty affordable. I purchased a plastic table cloth from the dollar store to use but it didn’t work out the way I had hoped. The green wasn’t dark enough so our wall color was showing through enough that the app was picking up our grey/blue color. When it picked up the paint color the image that I selected for our green screen background would be very light and almost fuzzy. I doubled up the table cloth but it still didn’t do the trick. On a second trip to the dollar store I bought some bright green wrapping paper. This worked awesome! My only complaint would be the faint green outline that appears around the objects or person in front of the screen. But I suppose that’s what you get for a $3.99 app.

In terms of using the app I would say it is pretty user-friendly. I was able to figure out how to use it without watching the tutorials or reading the user guide that they take you through when you start up the app. I probably could have saved myself some time had I actually read or watched the app, but I’m all about experiential learning. After spending some time exploring their site I noticed all of the tutorials they have as well as some great tips that could be used for making your videos using the green screen.

To create the video I found an image on a creative commons search and took a screen shot of it so it was on my phone. I edited the photo so that it filled the screen and uploaded that to DoInk to use it as the background. My son used some of his Star Wars toys to play and make a mini movie scene. I imported the video into iMovie and added the audio as well as the rolling font. You can add text and draw on the video using DoInk but I wanted to add the audio and credits from iMovie.

From a teaching perspective, I don’t know that I would use this app a whole lot. It would be possible to create some fun video lessons, but I don’t see it as being very practical because it takes time to make and I’m not sure how good it would be at getting content or skills across to the students. I see this as being used for student projects. I think it would be a really fun way for students to present information, maybe create a newscast or make a trip around the world describing the different images being shown while dressed in character. Having students create videos of their own would fall into the constructivist and connectivist learning theories according to Bates. Bates also provides some criteria to consider when selecting videos to use:

  • it is short and to the point;
  • it is relevant to what you want to teach;
  • it demonstrates clearly a particular topic or subject and links it to what the student is intended to learn;
  • the example is well produced (clear camera work, good presenter, clear audio);
  • it provides something that you could not do easily yourself;
  • it is freely available for non-commercial use.

If you are making your own video lesson you would want to keep these tips in mind. Short and to the point is sometimes impossible depending on the skill or topic you are trying to teach. If you cannot keep it short and to the point it might be helpful to break up the video with some humor or integrated videos/images.

Have you ever created a video lesson? How did it go? What did your students think about it? And how did you create it? I’d love to hear from you.


A Baba’s Best Life

busy

Bonnie Stewart provoked many thoughts in What Your New Year’s Facebook Posts Really Mean that are so relevant to our social media society today.  It seems like many of her thoughts correlate to my previous blog posts.

I absolutely love all the internet offers: freedom, creativity, community, ideas, perspectives, accessibility – the list is endless.  On the same note, I would have to agree with Bonnie Stewart as she writes the following:

These are our times and they are fraught and sometimes ugly and we move too fast from fad to fad and whiplash to whiplash in the outrage generator that social media creates, absolutely.

It seems as though, at times, we are moving too fast when it comes to the information being processed through social media and perhaps we aren’t documenting the most accurate information for our future generations.  Rather we are only documenting our “Best Life” as Stewart describes.  Our future may only see the best of us and not the whole of us – this paints an incomplete picture of what life is really like in the present.

As mentioned in prior posts, sometimes I grow concerned at the best life many of us are portraying.  We are doing a disservice to one another and creating a life full of successes (which we all know doesn’t exist).  Even Beyonce has bad hair days.   I feel as though many of us ought to show a little bit of our true selves on social media.  This will be for the sake of historical purposes, as well as, for the simple matter of being genuine. It is okay to be human and okay to be ordinary.

Living an ordinary basic day to day life is not a sin and it definitely does not make one any less special compared to the next –  it should be embraced.  You don’t have to travel the world, you don’t have to be a fashion guru, and you don’t have to be the next YouTube sensation.  You are special because you aren’t special.  This does not mean I don’t endorse honing ones hidden skills and talents, but just because one has the time/money (privilege) to do so, doesn’t mean they are more special than the next person.  It takes time, money, and effort be what our society deems special or talented.

So what if you are a so called, “Basic Bitch”  not everyone has the privilege of developing a special talent or skill set.  Go ahead and be as basic as you want to be.  Go to work, go to the gym, enjoy cooking, leave the cleaning for tomorrow if there are more important things to do, have a picnic, listen to music that is basic if you like it.

Along with possessing a specialness comes a sense of busy-ness.  The trouble I see in our Canadian culture is that we are glorifying the act of being busy.  Why?  Sure contributing to society is the bomb, but burning yourself out should not be a badge of honour.  In this sense, I am not practising what I preach.  That is why I am writing about this topic, I feel societal pressure to be busy, always doing something, and striving to be something more than normal.  Very rarely do I get the chance to just be.

Our society does not value mindfulness or reflection, instead we fill our schedules full of mundane events, that may not be contributing to making us a happier person.  For example we brag about how we went to soccer practice, had a meeting, went to work, taught a zumba class, took some anti-depressants, ran a PTA meeting, pretended like our days were filled with rainbows and then cooked supper for 4 other human beings.  It isn’t a race, slow down, smell the roses, and cut out anything in your schedule that is not cultivating your or your families well being.

As mentioned before, I definitely do not practice what I preach, but I am trying to be more mindful and less busy.  One tool that I have used that has helped me to do this is the Balance App.  This app is free, user friendly, customizable, and allows it’s users to prioritize what they really need in their day to make them a happier and healthier individual.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Another free app available from I-tunes is Calm.com App.  This helps those individuals who have busy bodies to begin to meditate for only a few minutes a day.  You can customize your mediation scene, opt for a shorter or longer session, and choose from several different mediation experiences based on how you feel and your needs.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

calm2

One last tool that I would like to mention that is free and not online is church.  More specifically, The Bread of Life Lutheran Church.  Even if I did not believe in a higher power, I love the quietness of church.  It is a time to reflect on your day, week, month, or year.  No, I am not here to try and push my religion on you or tell you to believe in something you don’t want to believe in, but for me this church goes beyond believing.  It allows me to be still, if only for a moment.  Along with positive messages, this church incorporates experiences such as drum circles, yoga, music, and mindfulness into its practices.  Don’t forget most churches usually offer the best damn egg salad sandwiches around.  Those Christian folk know how to slap together one perfect egg salad sandwich.

Take a look at the mindfulness calendar we are participating in for Lent.  Each day, there is a designated mindfulness experience to participate.  Most only take several minutes to fit into our busy lives.

mindfulness

PS: The pastor of this church is also on twitter.  Follow her @pastor_carla

So, I leave you with these questions:

Do you believe “the glorification of busy” garners much attention? Is it okay to be a basic bitch?  What are some ways or tools that you use to be mindful?