I was so excited to start working on Thing 13. I love taking pictures and editing them with all the great apps that are out there and this week’s assignment promised to show me even more fun ways to play with my pictures. Two options jumped out as must try projects for me: the Flipagram app and making a Gif.
The Flipagram App
Like pretty much the rest of the world, I became obsessed with Instagram the minute I upgraded to a smart phone so the Flipagram app seemed like a natural starting place for this week’s exploration. It was pretty simple and straightforward to use and, within five minutes, I had a flip video of my Instagram photos to share with others.
I simply downloaded the app, used it to sign into my Instagram account and, gave it permission to access my photos. Then, I quickly selected the photos I wanted to turn into a Flipagram and put them in the order I wanted them to appear (for me, this was the most time consuming part because I wanted this Flipagram to act as 2013 year in review so I tried to get my pictures in order from January to December). Flipagram gives you the option to crop photos and duplicate them but I decided to keep my pictures as they originally appeared when I Instagramed them. You can add a title to your Flipagram and even edit the font style for your title. Your Flipagram comes watermarked unless you pay extra to have it removed (the app itself is free). Finally, you can add music to your Flipagram. You have the option to use your own music but, since I don’t have much music on my phone (what can I say, I’m old school and still use my iPod for my music needs), I opted to see what Flipagram provides for you. Again, I was impressed. Flipagram has a large collection of music to pick from. You can purchase the whole song or use a free 30 second clip. Since the collection is so large, I found the search feature to be really helpful.
All in all, I found Flipagram to be fun, easy to use and, quite impressive for a free app. Here’s my Flipagram of 2013 in pictures.
Making a Gif
I was sooooo excited about trying my hand at making a Gif. These things are all over the internet right now and one of my favorite silly librarian blogs is just typical library experiences expressed through gif (Librarian Problems, occasional salty language-you were warned).
I found this experiment much more difficult and time consuming than the first one I tackled this week. Despite watching the video and checking out a few other tutorials online, I still don’t quite understand how to make a gif from a video clip. Some of the other options for making a gif from pictures were also far beyond my technically prowess and/or involved knowledge and use of Photoshop so, I stuck with Make a Gif website recommended in the YouTube video.
The site itself was straightforward and simple to use however, many of the pictures I wanted to use from my computer were too large and couldn’t be used. The cell phone pictures I had on my computer were small enough for me to use but, looked like bad cellphone pictures when I uploaded them. Plus, I wanted to make something that had that looping video feel that is characteristic of gifs. I finally located two pictures I thought would work on my phone. Since they were already on my phone, I decided to doctor them up first with one of my favorite photo editing apps called A Beautiful Mess. I also really like this one called Lumie. They aren’t free apps but I was able to get Lumie recently through Apps Gone Free and A Beautiful Mess is available for free through the Sephora website. Both are definitely worth a try if you can get them for free.
Anyway, after I doctored up my photos, I shared them from my phone to my computer and was able to upload them to the Make a Gif website. After that, my gif was done in a flash and I was able to copy the code and embed it to my blog post. It’s not perfect but, not bad for a first try at gif generating.
Using in the Classroom
As much fun as I had working with these, I don’t see me using them in the classroom with students anytime soon. To begin with, my elementary students probably don’t have Instagram accounts to use with Flipagram. Making a gif requires some technical skills and patience so I think if I were to try it with students, it would have to be at the 6th grade level. While it’s certainly possible that some of them could successfully create gifs, my main issue with gif creation with elementary students isn’t the project itself but the tool I used. The Make a Gif website was certainly one of the easiest sites I found for this purpose however, the ads on the sidebar were risqué and downright inappropriate. One of the times I went to the site to work on a gif the large ad on the right side of my screen was not only for penis enlargement products, it contained a large photo of an actual penis. The ads seemed to change every time I went to the site and that is a game of Russian Roulette I am not willing to play….
On the other hand, I see tons of potential for my library website with the apps I played with this week. I’ve been toying with the idea of adding some kind of photo project, beyond the typical photo album, to my library website. I’ve really wanted to try a photo of the day (or at least week) kind of thing. I also recently read about the idea of using daily/weekly photos as a form of annual report for your admins and found the idea intriguing. With these great photo curating/editing/collecting/creating tools I think both of these ideas suddenly feel a lot less intimidating and a lot more doable.