Google Lit Trips

I have been working on another Mash-Up project this past week, this time using Flickr and Google Earth.  I’m creating a Google Lit Trip for the book How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman.  Google Earth is a free download that lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings and more. You can explore, save your toured places, and share them with others.  Google Lit Trips use features of Google Earth to plot the events in a book so that students can take a virtual tour of the setting and happenings of the story. 

French Chickens and Egg

The premise of the book I’m using is that when the market is closed one day, a young baker must travel the world to gather the ingredients she needs for her apple pie.  I searched Flickr CC (which is an invaluable site for finding Flickr photos released under the creative commons license) for images to include at each stop on my Google Earth journey, so that students can see not only where each country is on the map, but also a photo of the actual area, as well as the animal or plant providing the necessary baking ingredients.  For example, at one point our heroine travels to France to get eggs, and I was able to find this photo of a freshly laid egg, actually taken in Bretagne, to include in my trip.  

I am currently working on the last step of the project, which is to create a path to link all of the destinations together.  Once I have the Lit Trip completed, I will update this post.

(Flickr Photo “Speckled White Egg” by hugovk)

Flickr Fun: Mash-Ups!

Boy, there are some really neat Flickr Mash-Ups out there!  This was actually another one of those humbling assignments that made me realize just how much I *don’t* know about the tools that are available on the web.  I just keep repeating to myself, “How do you eat the elephant?  One bite at a time!”

The first application I played with is Montager, which creates mosaics from Flickr photos that are searched out based on a tag name of your choice.  At first I didn’t see a practical use for it, but the more I played with it, the more I realized what a neat tool it is.  It would be a new and creative way to compile photos from a particular event and display them on a website, or you could use it on a school webpage to display photos of your faculty and staff.  (With their permission, of course.)

Next I looked at the Big Huge Labs website and tried out the Captioner application, which allows you to add speech and thought bubbles to your photos.  This caught my attention because I thought students would enjoy seeing photos turned into cartoons.  (In fact, back in the day, I used to buy caption bubble stickers to use on the “real” photos I displayed on my media center bulletin board!)  Here is my creation:

SCASL Apple

Original Image: ‘Yummy Apples
www.flickr.com/photos/23078991@N05/2796325875

Mash-up created with Flickr Toys.

I have two caveats for those who want to use this tool.  First, you cannot upload or import Bitmap photos to be captioned; they need to be in the JPEG format.  The apple photo that I found at Flickr CC was originally a bitmap image, so I had to convert it in order to caption it.  I used my Microsoft Paint program to do that by opening the photo in paint and then saving it, choosing “jpeg” from the Save drop-down file type menu.  Easy and free!

Second, you need to start with a large image because the caption bubbles are too big to fit onto a small photo.  You can shrink it down after you’ve created and saved it to whatever size you want to use.  I had originally saved my apple photo using the “small” option, so I had to go back to the Flickr site and re-save it as a large photo.

 

23 Things

I’m excited about doing the 23 Things with other S.C. media specialists!  This summer I started doing All Together Now: A 2.0 Learning Experience from the School Library Journal website.  I stopped after learning that SCASL was offering a similar program, but even the few exercises that I completed through the SLJ website have already changed the way I do my job. 

For example, I knew I wanted to start a systematic technology training program for my teachers this year, and my original plan was just to communicate with them via email.  It was the SLJ Blog Thing that led me to create a blog – Technology Teasers for Teachers – to organize and disseminate the information I knew my teachers would need.

Thanks to everyone at SCASL who has worked and is working so hard to provide these tutorials!  Your time and effort is greatly appreciated!