3 Things I’m Grateful For: Camera & Photo Tricks

I know, I know. You’re a power user of the camera. It’s one of your most used apps. But stay with me – there may be a use you haven’t tried out just yet.


This little-known feature in photos is an absolute winner, for so many reasons. Markup lets you sketch, zoom and add text to your photos.

You can access Markup when viewing one of your pictures. Click on the following buttons, which appear under your photo:

Edit photos.001Here’s where the super-cool part comes in… I needed to take note of the dimensions of various places, to see whether the items we wanted to buy would fit properly. Yes, I could have written them in a notebook, but there’s something about being able to visualise the space that helps when considering items.

Space for Microwave

I used markup to annotate the photos I needed, and what I loved best, was that when I was sketching on the photo, it took my wonky lines, and asked if I wanted to make them straight! So helpful! (Makes me appear way more professional, right?) I did sketch the numbers too, but quickly found adding text made them more legible. Whether I was buying a microwave, or figuring how long I needed the hallway carpet, Markup was there to make the process that much easier.


Memory Making

It’s important not to underestimate the importance of memory making, when in a new country (or anywhere, for that matter!). So whether it’s documenting those firsts (first photo on the lake, spending time at the park, eating some great Swiss chocolate) or sharing photos of your new home/school/workplace with friends and family back home, the camera app is there for you, every step of the way.

Comparing Potential Purchases

Obvious, perhaps. But no less useful. In my humble experience, there is only so much furniture shopping two kids and a dog will put up with, so it’s inevitable¬†that at some point, you and your significant other will not be¬†shopping together. Camera and Photos to the rescue once more!

IKEA Wardrobe.001

Shopping decisions can be made when the kids are in bed, perhaps with a beverage in hand (if you’re into that sort of thing)… Considerably more relaxing (and efficient!) than the alternative.

The humble Camera and Photo apps are powerful allies in the move to a new country, so dust them off, and give them a workout!




Tech-Tip Tuesdays & Wired Wednesdays

After the success of Fruity Fridays last year, we decided to introduce our staff to two new initiatives this year: Tech Tip Tuesdays and Wired Wednesdays.

Image from glowtxt.com text generator


I have graciously been given 5 mins at the beginning of every staff meeting to talk through a tech tip for teachers. I will be sharing a range of things, from IWB ideas, to simple things such as tabbed browsing. It’s nice to have a regular slot to push some technology info that will hopefully be useful and relevant for all teachers.

Image from glowtxt.com text generator

On Wednesday mornings from 7:15am, Katie (our Teacher Librarian), Haidee (Grade 3 teacher and in-campus Studywiz expert) and I have made ourselves available to all staff requiring tech help, support and/or ideas.

Wired Wednesday 1 (Medium)So far it’s been running for two weeks, and I am thrilled at the turnout we’ve had.

Week one we had some looking at IWB techniques (like these ones from @pennyryder), some looking at the new library catalogue and ways of navigating it, another group was getting support with StudyWiz, one teacher wanted advice on how to set up a Google site and another was about to launch her first blog.

Week two saw more diversity: our Chinese Language team were all here for tips on using the IWBs, another teacher was learning how to merge cells in a table and add colours, the wireless keyboard/mouse was being demonstrated, and our Principal came in wanting to know more about Twitter.

wired wednesday 2 (Medium)We have had positive feedback from many people about the Wired Wednesday format. They like the flexibility of being able to pop in with problems related to them, they appreciate not having to be locked in to attending every week, and they feel they have someone to go to get help.

I know how they feel. Recently, when I was learning how to use Prezi, I thought a lot about how much easier it would be if I was sitting next to someone who knew how to use it already. Thankfully, @RobinThailand was only a tweet away, but even so, having someone physically there would have made all the difference. I believe having access to someone to work alongside is so important in learning, particularly with technology. It ties in nicely with Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development.

I love the public face technology is being given in our school. It is clear technology is valued, as our admin team has been so accommodating, not only in these two ways, but by leading by example. Let me explain…

Last year, I was talking up 2 new books in the library, Presentation Zen and Slideology, while also giving some feedback about 2 presentations I attended at EARCOS 09. In my presentation to staff, I modeled a couple of slides from different workshops I attended. I won’t share the slides I considered dire, but I’m happy to sing the praises of Kim Cofino, whose gorgeous slides made her presentation sing. [Her presentation Connecting Across Continents can be found here.]

Anyway, our admin team have since been leading the way, ensuring their presentations to students, staff and parents use fabulous visuals, limited text and are delivered with confidence. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes! Staff meetings become more interesting and engaging. Imagine that?!

Not only that, but other teachers are also making their presentations more visually interesting. I know of a teacher who created a fabulous presentation for parents when we had a meet-the-teacher type of evening last week. It went down a treat. [I have told a few people about Prezi too, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing a few of those crop up soon enough!]

It feels like we’re at the start of something big.

Photo Credit: Saschaa