CameraBag for iPad – iPad App of the Week

August 31, 2010

CameraBag for iPad – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is CameraBag for iPad

A love letter to the analog era, CameraBag is the most popular iPhone photo filter app of all time, and has now come to the iPad. It instantly emulates photography’s most beloved and iconic cameras, film, and processing techniques.

CameraBag’s addictive approach skips hours of processing work and instead puts you in the role of an editor, flipping through a collection of polished, print-ready treatments, each with infinite variation. Simply choose the best one and save, e-mail, or upload it to popular sites.

CameraBag now takes full advantage of the iPad with a re-imagined interface, increased resolution, and innovative new features. The addictive Vary button offers a new take on the current filter each time it’s pressed, for infinite versions of each filter. It’s like telling CameraBag “Try the same look but make it a little different this time.” iPad users also get to mix and match aspect ratio and border styles across filters for fresh new looks.

£1.79

There are various image manipulation apps on the App Store. One type that is quite popular is the filter app. This isn’t an app for editing images, it is there purely to be used to apply filters to an image and then put the image somewhere.

Though the iPad doesn’t have a camera (unlike the iPhone) it is quite simple to get images onto the iPad, either through syncing with iTunes (and iPhoto) on your Mac or using the iPad Camera Connection kit.

I have used CameraBag on the iPhone and did buy it for the iPad. Unlike a lot of apps this is not an universal app and you need to buy separate apps for both the iPhone and the iPad.

This is a relatively simple app to use. Open the image, apply a filter, a border or crop the image.

You can vary the effect of the filter using the vary button.

Unlike other image apps, you can either save the image back to the iPad or e-mail it to someone (or a service if you can remember the unique e-mail for that service).

The filters are quite nice and work well.

This is not my favourite image app, but the simplicity does make it an easy one to use.

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VLE Standards at Weston College

August 30, 2010

I have written before on this blog about the way in which Weston College is using VLE standards to improve the use of the VLE by staff at the college and increasing use of the VLE by learners.

There is a now a case study on Weston College on the Excellence Gateway.

Through the development of a set of standards, Weston College has improved the quality of its Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE) course provision.

Weston College has had a VLE since 2003. In August 2007 it went live with Moodle as its preferred VLE, developed, hosted and supported in-house. In the first year of cross-college deployment, Moodle was well adopted without any particular pressure on staff to achieve specific targets. The new system, in comparison to its former VLE, was seen as intuitive and there was a general level of enthusiasm from staff to receive staff training. ILT enthusiasts were used as champions of the new VLE, developing and sharing good practice. A student and staff Resources User Group was established to feedback on the new VLE and guide its early development.

The VLE standards were devised to set a minimum expectation for online provision to ensure that all learners on full-time courses had a corresponding VLE course. The aim of the standards was to provide and facilitate exemplary course provision through dynamic materials and e-learning resources.

The standards are graded into three categories, which are:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze.

Every course must be at Bronze standard and yearly targets are set for the achievement of Silver/Gold standard courses.

Read the full case study.


Xerte Online Toolkits

August 28, 2010

Nice video on the Xerte Online Toolkit.

Still working on my implementation at GC.


Sigil

August 27, 2010

Earlier today I mentioned that Apple had updated Pages to allow you to export to the ePub format. In that post I said

There are other ways of creating ePub publications, but if you already have and are familiar with Pages then it does give you a very easy way to create an ePub e-book.

At the time of writing I knew there was a piece of open source software out there that could do this, but couldn’t remember the name. As I was travelling I was listening to last week’s MacBreak Weekly and Andy Ihnatko’s pick was Sigil.

Sigil is a multi-platform WYSIWYG ebook editor. It is designed to edit books in ePub format.

Available for Mac, Windows and Linux, it is the piece of software I was thinking of when I wrote my previous blog post.

So if you are interested in creating resources in an ePub format, Sigil looks like it could be just right for the job.


Publishing an e-Book

August 27, 2010

Apple have just updated their Pages word processing application to enable you to export your publication in ePub format.

The ePub format is a standard e-book format that works within Apple’s iBooks apps on the iPad and the iPhone.

It is also works on many other e-book readers, though not on Amazon’s Kindle!

Apple have released some guidance and help on choosing between ePub and PDF.

There are other ways of creating ePub publications, but if you already have and are familiar with Pages then it does give you a very easy way to create an ePub e-book.

There are many different e-book formats which makes life challenging for anyone who wants to create e-books or resources in an e-book format for their learners.


100 ways to use a VLE – #92 Making choices

August 27, 2010

Sometimes you need learners to make a choice. A choice about which module they want to do. A choice about which area they want to study for a project. A choice about where they want to go on a field trip.

We often ask learners to make a choice. Traditionally we have probably used paper to make and collate choices.

The VLE can be used to both offer the learners a choice, but also to record their choices.

Quick and easy you can create a series of choices.

Once learners have made their choices you have quick and easy access to the results.


I have an inkling…

August 26, 2010

In many recent presentations I have given on e-books I have said that the way publishers market their publications needs to change. Just “digitising” traditional books as e-books is not necessarily the way forward for e-books.

If we look at other traditional media and see how they have evolved in new digital forms it may give us an idea about the future of books.

Watching films use to mean going to the cinema, sitting down through adverts and trailer before the main presentation, oh and popcorn. Through television, VHS rental, purchasing video tapes, DVD, Blu-Ray and now iTunes downloads, the way in which we consume films has changed. In many ways television has changed even more fundamentally. Digital TV means for many, many more channels and choice. A lot of TV series are now viewed by DVD box set over watching it when originally broadcast. Services such as YouTube, iTunes and BBC iPlayer have allowed us very different ways in which to consume television. Even with iTunes it is now possible to buy an individual episode of a TV series.

When we first started watching postage stamped sized video on our Windows 95 PCs, I expect very few of us had any inkling about how we would be watching video via our computer fifteen years later. It was very easy to consume video through physical media such as DVD or Blu-Ray, but it is now even easier to consume video over the web, either through iTunes or services like BBC iPlayer.

We use to buy music either as albums or singles, now with the iTunes Store or Amazon we can buy individual tracks from albums.

I am sure similar changes will happen with books, with e-books just been the start of this process.

One thing I have said is that publishers need to move away from the traditional approach of selling the whole text book as an e-book and start thinking about selling individual chapters to users, in the same way that we can buy individual episodes of a TV series.

I have said we should move away from digitised versions of print books and take advanatage of the digital medium with interactive content and media.

So I was pleased to see that at least one publisher, Inkling, is going to go down this road. As Gigaom reports:

The company believes the iPad — for now, at least — is the future of the textbook. Inkling’s software turns textbooks into interactive content, with video, hyperlinks between text and images, notes that can be shared between students and teachers, and even 3-D molecules that can be viewed from any angle.

In addition you can buy individual chapters or the whole book.

The company’s interactive textbooks can be downloaded by the chapter for an introductory price of $2.99 each, or the entire book can be downloaded and installed at a price of $69.99

This is just the start for digital textbooks.