Fun with Photos

A while ago there was a fun website that allowed you to “Polarize” photos. Every once in a while I wonder what options are out there for things like this and today was one of those days. Here are some fun options for a Sunday afternoon.

Pixisnap allows the user to upload an image and it creates a “Polaroid collage” of the images with a customized background (it also has the option of creating a photo mosaic with the image).

Polaroin allows the user to upload an image and turn it into an individual “Polaroid” photo and then write up to 20 characters of text in the white space below the image. Polaroin also downgrades the quality of the image so it is more reminiscent of the actual Polaroid photos (see Alcatraz below, left).

The Instantizer also allows one to quickly upload a photo, rotate it if needed, add a small caption, and create a “polarized” image. The site gives the user a URL to the image that will hold the photo for 1 day. Unlike Polaroin, Instantizer keeps the quality of the original image uploaded.

Recognizing that Polaroid hit its height before today’s students were born, adults will probably have more fun with these links than our students will, but hey, it is spring break (or break is coming) and we can play too, right?

It really coud be 60 sites in 60 minutes

Have you tried yet? It allows users to add ULRs either via copy/paste, a tag or popular search with Yahoo, Google, Flickr, YouTube, news search, RSS feeds or delicious, and then it creates a full-screen slideshow showing each URL. The default advance for each slide is 60 seconds but users can reset the timing to a desired pace or manually advance or go back to a previous slide. Add a name to the slideshow and it is ready for prime time. When the slideshow is finished, users can share via URL, email, social networking and bookmarking tools, or embed code. If a user wants to edit a slideshow, simply log back in to, click “Dashboard” and all of the slideshows are displayed.

If giving a presentation of a variety of resources and time is of the essence, could be a great tool. Embedding a slidshow onto a class website or wiki would also be a great tool to showcase websites or certain wiki pages created by students. To check it out, I made this slideshow which highlights cartooning websites I’ve been collecting.

Teaching HTML, CSS, and more

Upon returning from our upcoming spring break, our technology class (9-12 grade students) is going to be learning HTML and CSS with one of my colleagues. This afternoon we discussed the website he is going to use with our students to guide them through our unit.  W3school Online Web Tutorials has a well organized set of tutorials for HTML, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Flash and more. I am impressed with the organization of each skill, step-by-step directions, examples, and excellent “try it yourself” editors for each skill.

A site like this allows for self-pacing when learning and practicing new skills. Anyone who is interested in an introduction to these web development tools would find W3Schools a useful reference and guide.

Political Cartoon, Anyone?

ToonDoo is great, I love it for storytelling in many aspects of content, but this time it wasn’t quite right. My government students used the Library of Congress’ interactive exercise, “It’s No Laughing Matter” to learn about political cartoons and then, of course, the Cagle Cartoon Index to see and analyze on their own current cartoons. After that, I really wanted them to take a stab at creating their own political cartoons, black and white, pencil-sketched political cartoons. I was happy to find FunnyTimes Playground.

This website allowed by students to take a current issue and create via drag-and-drop their

own political cartoons. Sketches relating to current people and issues are available and, although my example does not show it, text and and callout bubbles can be added. No registration is required which is helpful and means any age can use this resource. The site does offer the opportunity to email the finished product to the cartoonist, but we had mixed success with that so I highly recommend taking a screenshot of the finished cartoon before closing the window.  Happy ‘tooning!