Showing posts with label Best of 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best of 2022. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Best of 2022 So Far - Brush Ninja Updates

I'm taking the weekend off. While I'm gone I'll be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year so far. 

Brush Ninja is a tool that I've been using and recommending for a few years now. Brush Ninja makes it incredibly easy to draw a series of images and quickly turn them into animated GIFs. In the fall of 2018 I used Brush Ninja with some middle school students to create animations to illustrate their understanding of forms of energy. You can read more about that activity right here

Brush Ninja is still a great tool for making animated GIFs. In fact, it has gotten better since I first started using it. You can now use custom backgrounds including background pictures that you take with your webcam. The animated GIF creator also now lets you change the size of the canvas you're drawing on. And there are now twice as many stickers available in the GIF creator than when I started using it. 

In addition to making animated GIFs, Brush Ninja now has three other tools. Those are an emoji art creator, a collage maker, and a comic book creator. The emoji art creator lets you click on a canvas to place any of hundreds of emojis into a pattern to create digital artwork. The collage maker is exactly what it sounds like, a tool for making photo collages. The comic book creator simply lets you upload a series of images to a comic book template that you can print and fold. 

An overview of all of the Brush Ninja tools is provided in this new video that I recorded on Wednesday. 


Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I've had students use Brush Ninja to make animations to illustrate their understanding of forms of energy. I longer explanation of that instance can be read here. An explanation of my initial introduction to the concepts behind sketching in the classroom is available here

One of the reasons that Brush Ninja continues to by one of my go-to tools is that it doesn't require students to register or sign-up for anything in order to use all of the available features. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Best of 2022 So Far - Improve Your Typing While Reading Classic Literature

I'm taking the rest of the week off. While I'm gone I'll be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year so far. 

There is not a shortage of typing games available on the web (find 700 of them right here). Most of those games are based on rote practice and patterns. That's why I was intrigued when the Support Real Teachers Twitter account tagged me in a post about a new typing practice site that wasn't just a big collection of animated games. That site is called TypeLit.io

On TypeLit.io you can develop your typing skills while reading classic literature. The way it works is that you pick a classic work in TypeLit's library and then start typing the text that you see on the screen. TypeLit provides you with feedback about the accuracy and speed of your typing. 

As you can see in my demo video, TypeLit will let you pick a chapter of a book to type or you can type through the whole thing. You can use TypeLit without an account. But if you do create an account you can save and resume your progress. 



Applications for Education
TypeLit.io isn't going to replace "traditional" typing instruction. That said, it could be a place for middle school and high school students to practice their typing skills while reading some classic literature.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Best of 2022 So Far - Image Background Removers

With the exception of the webinar I'm hosting later this morning, I'm taking the rest of the week off. While I'm gone I'll be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year so far. 

Removing the background from an image is a good way to protect your privacy and that of people who might unintentionally be in the background of your pictures. Remove image backgrounds is also a good way to get a stand-alone image of yourself to then place in front of a different background. For example, I could take a picture of myself at my local ski mountain then replace the background so that I look like I'm climbing Mount Everest. 

In the following video I provide demonstrations of four quick and easy ways to remove the background from your images. One way to use this with students is to have them place themselves in front of landmarks of the world then write about their virtual visit to those landmarks.


In the video above I demonstrated how to remove image backgrounds with the following free tools:
  • PowerPoint
  • Remove.bg
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Express
  • Canva