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.


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.

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.


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.

Do you like books or do you like reading?

August 25, 2010

I am running another symposium at ALT-C, this year it is on ebooks.

eBooks and eBook Readers bring new challenges and new opportunities for learning technologists. Sony has the eReader, Amazon the Kindle and now Apple has the iPad. Publishers are now offering more titles as eBooks.

There is a huge growth and interest in this new medium. Some learners prefer physical books and the feel of paper, but do eBooks have the potential to offer more to the reader? Are eBooks a new way for learners to access information and learning? Are they just a digital version of print, ignoring the affordances of new technologies?

This symposium will explore the potential of eBooks, the role of eBook Readers for learning, and the ways in which learning technologists can utilise eBooks to enhance and enrich the learning experience.

The panel consists of: educators who have used eBooks with learners; researchers who have researched the use of eBooks in education by learners; publishers who have designed and developed eBooks; and learning technologists.

Each member of the panel brings their experience of embedding the use of eBooks with learners. These experiences have been through using eBooks in the classroom and in the library with learners. Researching user behaviour in the use of eBooks and designing eBooks for learners.

The session will commence with an overview and introduction of eBooks and eBook technologies, through mobile devices such as the iPad and using the browser.

The members of the panel will each deliver a presentation on their view of the future of eBooks. They will pose questions to the audience to stimulate debate and discussions. Panellists with the audience will debate the strengths and weaknesses of eBooks and the various eBook Readers available. They will discuss whether eBooks offer new pedagogies or reinforce existing ones.

By the end of the debate participants will have had an opportunity to discuss the advantages and challenges that eBooks bring to education and the role they could play in the enhancement and enrichment of learning.

The symposium takes place between 17:10 – 18:10 on Tuesday, 7 September in Room 1.

Osfoora HD, for Twitter – iPad App of the Week

August 24, 2010

Osfoora HD, for Twitter – 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 Osfoora HD, for Twitter.

Osfoora HD for Twitter is a blazing fast and clean twitter client for your iPad. Provides elegant and easy access to all of Twitter’s functionalities. Osfoora HD has all the features of Osfoora for iPhone and more.

With a gorgeous user interface, multiple account support, optional full landscape mode (customizable), text expander, boxcar support, twitter lists, nearby tweets, and the ability to tweet songs… using twitter becomes a joy!


There are many Twitter Apps out there for the iPad some are free and some like Osfoora HD cost money. With the wonderful screen size of the iPad is that you don’t even need an App you can just use the web interface, the Safari browser works just fine. So why would you spend £2.39 on an App like Osfoora HD?

That’s a good question.

If you use Twitter only occasionally then you probably wouldn’t want to spend hard earned cash on a Twitter App, to be honest I am guessing if you are reading this review you probably are a regular Twitter user and as a result are looking for a tool that enables your use of Twitter to be easier and more effective.

The main reason I switched to Osfoora HD over the free Tweetdeck and the web interface was conversations. When I dip in and out of Twitter I often come across a conversation I don’t just want to know the end of the conversation I also want to know where it started. There may be a way of doing that on Tweetdeck, but I couldn’t work it out. On Osfoora HD all I need to do is click the blue conversation icon!

As with most Twitter Apps you can easily add images, via TwitPic or other Twitter image services, video. Unlike some Apps you can add multiple photographs to single posting if you want.

Yes I know that the iPad doesn’t have a camera, but if you have an iPad camera connection kit you can very easily transfer images from your camera to the iPad. When you add URLs you can “shorten” them making it very easy to add multiple long URLs to any Twitter posting. You can also add your location if you want to.

It’s also very easy on the App to either use the Twitter version of Retweet or to use RT if you prefer that method.

If you use Twitter a lot you may have more than one Twitter account, Osfoora HD allows you to add multiple accounts. This is something that is often missing from many free Twitter Apps.

It’s quick and easy to access searches or lists, though I do think Tweetdeck does this much better.

At the end of the day there is no real reason to buy a Twitter App for the iPad, however I find that using Osfoora HD makes using Twitter easier and more effective. I liked the App so much that I wanted it for my iPhone, this is one downside, unlike a lot of other Apps that you buy once and works on both iPad and iPhone, with Osfoora you need to buy one App for the iPad and one for the iPhone!

Teach with your iPad

August 21, 2010

A clever idea. Use a wiki to crowdsource good ideas on using the iPad to support teaching and learning.

Has (at might be expected) have a slightly American slant, but none the less still useful.