Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Coll-APP-orative: Connecting and Collaborating Through Apps

While collaborating with colleagues on Twitter and continually being inspired by their blogs - a small group of us decided to blog on a similar topic and then connect readers via "our posts". I am honoured and excited to be a part of this group of bloggers from whom I constantly inspired and pushed to think outside of the box.

I chose to review an APP that I know is being used more and more by educators for a variety of purposes. I wanted to share some of the ways that we are using Pic Collage in our classroom!

Pic Collage: The "How To"
  • An app that allows users to combine photos in different ways.
  • Text can be added to the pictures.
  • Collages of photos and text can be then saved as a photo or shared via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Path, and Instagram)
  • The app is very user-friendly and can be manipulated by students, educators, and families.
 To begin you can click the icon on the left. You can choose to use a "predesigned" collage where photos are put into boxes, or you can arrange photos on your own and choose a background colour/pattern.

 The plus symbol in the middle allows for you to ADD photos. You can add photos from a variety of places including instagram, Facebook, Camera Roll, and iCloud.

Once a photo is added you can double click on it to explore some different options. You can edit the photo right in the Pic Collage app. You can add/change the border type/colour. You can "clip" or crop the photo. My favourite feature is "Set as Background". Depending on the purpose of the Pic Collage document, it can be really neat to have the photo set as the background and then add text or other photos around it. I will share examples below!

When clicking on the plus symbol there is an option to "Add Text". The text box will pop up and you can alter the colour of the text, the background colour, and the font type. Once you click done, you can shrink or enlarge the text box using the touch screen as well.

After you have completed your Pic Collage, click on the arrow box on the right hand side. From there you can share or save the collage in different ways. I often will save to Library and then paste the collage into a Word/Pages document to print.

If students are exploring Pic Collage while investigating or inquiring they may want to "Add Photos from the Web". It is a great feature for young learners as they do not even have to leave Pic Collage to search the internet for images.

Pic Collage will search the web for students and display many options for images that the children can then choose and manipulate within the application.

 Pic Collage: The Different Ways it Can be Used

Encouraging Literacy, Writing, and Communication for Students:
Many of our students will use pic collage to Tweet out photos to families. The children enjoy using Pic Collage to add text as they are able to manipulate and choose the fonts/colours. We find that it is a great way to connect with reluctant writers or with students who struggle with fine motor control. Being able to type their thinking onto the iPad engages them and helps them to feel successful in writing.

To Document Student Learning
We are always exploring different ways to document student learning and to make it visible to our students/families. We have found that Pic Collage provides a quick and simple way to organize documentation. This is not the only way that we document but it is one way that can be done on the spot and sometimes with student input.

Documentation takes many different forms and finding ways to quickly capture and illustrate the children's thinking is important!

To Create Posters:
This student helped to create a procedural poster to share his thinking. We typed and organized the page and were able to capture the process using Pic Collage.

Great way to connect with families...
When we are investigating and inquiring, Pic Collage is a great tool to share multiple photographs with families via Twitter. We hope that it allows for families to connect and discuss our inquiries further at home.

To capture mathematical learning...
Last year we began to use Pic Collage as a way of capturing the mathematical thinking/processes of our students. When we solved a problem based on our Spring Fair, the students used Pic Collage to share and record their results. We find that capturing math learning in K is much different as children tend to put pencil to paper less often than in the older grades.

We are continuing to explore the uses of Pic Collage in the classroom. What I like best is that it is user-friendly, student friendly, and supports student learning...and did I mention that it is free?

As educators we continue to look for effective and efficient ways to document student learning and to make it visible...and I believe this app supports that!

I would love to hear and see ways that other educators are using this APP in their learning environments...or different tips/techniques to use the APP to it's fullest! 

Get Connected...
Check out the follow blogs to learn more about other incredible apps that will document and capture student learning and support educators in their classrooms:

Heather McKay - Book Creator

Sergio Pascucci - NoteLedge

Laurel Fynes - Vine

Tina Zita - Soundbrush

Joanne Babalis - iAnnotate

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