30 Tools in 30 Days: Day 2 Snapseed

Day 2: Snapseed

I love to take pictures. When I travel, my trusty SLR is usually by my side. My go-to editing tool is Photoshop, of course. However, over the past several years I have become fascinated with mobile photography. That amazing technology in our pockets can take incredible pictures. And is a lot easier to carry than my SLR beast. As we take more pictures with our mobile devices, we can also move the editing from our desktops to our phone. Photoshop has a very nice app – Photoshop Express. I’ll write about that one at a later date. Today I want to talk about Google’s addition to the mobile photo editing apps – Snapseed. Snapseed is available for both IOS and Android.

What can you do with Snapseed?

SunSet
HDR Scape filter applied to top image. Original is on the bottom.

What can’t you do with Snapseed? This is a solid photo editing tool. You can use the basic tools to tune the exposure and color of your image. You can crop and rotate. They also have more advanced editing tools such as Curves, White balance, and a Healing tool. The fun begins with the more creative tools. One of my favorites is the HDR Scape. This filer boots tones and saturation for a more vivid image. (Warning – it can be overdone making your images look over-processed but it can be fun to play with.) The image to the right shows a before and after HDR Scape image. The top image is a bit overdone in this example but when done right, the HDR Scape filter can create a lovely image in a few simple steps.

Gargoyle
Top right is the original.

Other creative effects include Grung, Retrolux, Black and White, Grainy Film and Noir. Each of the creative filters can be adjusted and modified allowing for a great deal of creative freedom. As an avid Photoshop user, I’m used to having total control over my images but don’t always have the time or patience to create multi-layered special effects. Snapseed is the right amount of canned filters and effects mixed with enough manual adjustments to make a photo control freak like me happy. Also, I can do it all right on my phone. No need to download the images from my phone and do my editing to my desktop. Easy and convenient. What’s not to love?

Swen Parson Hall
Multiple filters added to create the final image on right.

Along with the creative filters, you can add vignetting, create tilt-shift images, and apply fun frames. Snapseed recently added new tools for making sure your selfies and portraits look amazing. Including eye enhancing tricks and portrait lighting adjustments. You can even change the angle of your face so you have just enough head tilt. I find this feature both cool and creepy. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

There are a few drawbacks to this tool, but not many. If you like to make collages with your images, this app is not for you. There are many collage apps out there so don’t be afraid to app smash. These photos were modified with Snapseed and the collages were made using Google Photos. Unlike Photoshop, you cannot work with multiple layers which limits the type of special effects and composites you can create. But, it’s not that type of editing tool. Also, there is no desktop version of this app. You need a mobile device to take advantage of the creative tools. (I’ll talk about my favorite web-based Photoshop alternative in a future post.)

Overall, this is a solid app for photo editing. Best of all, it is free! It is also simple enough for students to use. There is a very low learning curve but also a lot of advanced features to keep even the most advanced users happy.

So get out those phones, capture the world around you, and use Snapseed to make the images magical.

 

 

Weekend Wrap up

Happy Weekend!

If you are like me, you are using this long weekend to take a breath, unwind and relax. And maybe get caught up on some To-dos. Midway through my second cup of coffee this morning, I realized that today would be a good day to go back through some of the things I found or shared on social media last week. Between Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of good stuff floating around the interwebs. So often I retweet or share with the intention of going back and digging deeper…and then life gets in the way and I don’t. But today – I will. Here are my favorite finds from the past week.

  • The Costs of Workplace Rudeness, The Wall Street Journal – We have all done it. Snapped at a colleague because we were stressed out or overwhelmed. This essay from WSJ makes you stop and think about what your rudeness might be doing to your work environment. Rudeness can be contagious but so can kindness. Goo to stop and reflect once in a while to make sure you are following your own “no jerk” policies and modeling good behavior.
  • Cool Cat Teacher, Vicki Davis has a wonderful 10-minute Teacher Podcast. In episode #140 she talks with Aaron Maurer (@coffeechugbooks) about five ways to amp up STEAM learning. Best take away – “Hold on to your crayons.”
  • Jeffery Bradbury from TeacherCast shared a wonderful blog post from January, Should You Hire a Tech Coach…or a Tech Conductor? Loved the idea that a good district tech coach is like a conductor. I do not come from a music education background but as a former band member, I found his thoughts on leadership and teamwork in ed tech inspiring. Not only gets me excited about working with teachers but almost makes me want to pick up my oboe again…almost.
  • As a self-diagnosed selfie addict, I love the idea of using selfies in the classroom and exploring self-portraiture as an art form. Ed tech guru, Shelly Sanchez (@ShellTerrell) has a FREE Epic Selfie Adventure Template that you can download. I need to give this a try. See, my selfies are for education!
  • If you are not following Richard Bryne (@rmbyrne) then you are really missing out. He shares a ridiculous (as in awesome) number of ed tech resources. This week he had several augmented and virtual reality tools to share. Here are a couple This Is Augmented Reality, This Is Virtual Reality and Membit – Augmented Reality Photo Maps. Follow him on Twitter or read his blog. He shares great stuff.
  • Creativity has been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve been feeling a bit uncreative and uninspired so I’ve been looking for ways to regain my creative mojo. Here are a few posts that I found helpful. George Couros (@gcouros) tweeted an article (5 Weird Signs You’re Creative) that reminded me that I’m not weird, I’m creative. And Fast Company is going to help me rediscover my creativity with this 14 Day Creative Bootcamp. Challenge #1 was to take five minutes and write about myself. Sounds easy but I can’t say where I’m from, what I do, or the roles I play. OK, not sure what’s left but I’ll give it a try. Set the timer for 5 min…and go! Wow – that was hard. Give it a try. Here’s a peek at who I am.

I like to think that I am a creative person who tries to have fun. Sometimes I get overly enthusiastic and can be a bit overwhelming to others. Other times I just want to sleep. I want to explore new places and new ideas – even if it is from my couch with a cup of coffee. I’m still trying to figure out who I am and where I want to go but also like to remember where I’ve been. I am energized by the people who surround me but also like to be alone to think and sleep. I still have lots of questions.

That’s a quick snapshot of a few of my favorite finds from the week of August 28th. Want to see more? Follow me on Twitter (@kbrynteson)or Facebook. What were your favorite finds last week? Share them in the comments.

Hot Pink Tech Talk – Flipgrid!

I’ve been wanting to try Flipgrid ever since I found them at ISTE back in June.  (You can read more about my favorite ISTE finds in this past post.) I teach a lot of professional development workshops about several different tech and STEAM topics. It has always bothered me that I do not have an engaging way to stay connected to all of the teachers I meet at these workshops. I also wanted to find a way to connect them to each other. After seeing the Flipgrid demo at ISTE and doing some further exploration, it seemed like this just might be the tool I was looking for. To test my hypothesis, I figured why not try it out with all of you and start a conversation.

So, (drum roll please) welcome to the very first Hot Pink Tech Talk! Whoo hoo! Give it a try and respond to the question below.

https://flipgrid.com/embed/topic/bb6ebe

This was SUPER easy to set up. I signed up for a free account and it took no time at all to create a grid that is ready to share. The hardest part was recording the video. Not because the process was complicated but because I really don’t like watching videos of myself. I know, super surprising, right? Once I got past my personal issues, the tool itself was a cinch. I had my first topic ready to go in no time.

As I mentioned, I am using the free account. With the free account, I can have one grid with unlimited topics. For right now, I’m good with that. You have the option to upgrade to the classroom version for $65 a year. This gives you the ability to manage multiple grids and allows participants to respond to each other. There are some additional features of the Classroom version that would be very useful if I was using this with students as part of a class. However, for an informal online discussion tool, the free version should be sufficient.

For more ideas on how to use Flipgrid in the classroom, check out CoolCatTeacher’s podcast – Flipgrid: 6 Fun Ideas to Engage Learners.  Or check out Ditch that Texbook’s post on Catching Flipgrid Fever!

Time to start a conversation. Follow the link above and leave a response. Tweet about this or share it and let’s see if we can get a good conversation going. If this works well, Hot Pink Tech Talk might just become a regular feature.

Are you using Flipgrid in your classroom? Share in the comments – or better yet – share on the grid!

Going Social without Going Crazy – Part 1

The real name of this post should be Confessions of an eHoarder. Why? Well, because I am an ehoarder. I spend a good deal of my free time combing through the internet exploring, discovering, and collecting information. There is a lot of great stuff out there. So much, that it can be very overwhelming. So how does one manage it without going crazy? Well, read on my friend and I’ll tell you my secret.

I’ve presented on this topic several times. To teachers, school administrators, soon to be teachers, and small business owners. (See the Prezi below.)

Share it, Pin it, Like it, Tweet it:. Prezi on managing your social media.
Share it, Pin it, Like it, Tweet it:. Prezi on managing your social media.

Every time I do this talk, I hear some of the same things from social media newbies –

“There is so much. Where do I start?”

“What if I do something wrong?”

“How do I filter out all of the garbage and find the good stuff?”

All very good questions. I find that many of the folks I talk to are hesitant to start using social media because they just don’t know where to start. Some don’t even want to start because it seems like such a time consuming endeavor. We all know that in today’s world time is a precious commodity. And let’s face it, social media can be a time sink. Who wants to use their limited free time sorting through cat videos and internet memes just to find a classroom activity on dividing fractions? Not me. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cat video or internet meme as much as the next person and if I could find a cat video on dividing fractions, life would be awesome!)

In all seriousness, social media can be a great form of free professional development. More and more educators are growing their personal learning network or PLN through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media tools.  I encourage the teachers I work with to ease into the crazy world of social networking by using a simple three step approach. Find it, Organize it, and Share it.

  • Find it: Use a small set of tools and strategies to sift through the virtual clutter and find the information you need. Let the tools do the work for you.
  • Organize it: Make sure that once you find it, you can find it again. Organize your digital content by using a couple powerful tools. Don’t use too many. Find a few favorites that meet your needs and stick to them.
  • Share it: In my opinion this step is optional but very powerful. There is no law that says you have to tweet just because you are on twitter. You can survive just fine by finding and organizing. However, sharing is how you begin to engage with the greater community and grow your PLN. But don’t worry, you don’t have to jump right into sharing. Take some time to get comfortable in the social space. Sharing can come later.

Over the next few posts, I’ll share with you how I find, organize, and share all of the information I hoard. Hopefully you’ll find a nugget or two of wisdom to help you make the most of your social network.