A website we used earlier this year by the Federal Trade Commission called Admongo is an online resource for “tweens.”
Several teachers have contacted me of late about the space on their blog for pictures and media. “New pictures aren’t loading!” they write. Well, I’ve got both good and bad news.
First, it’s imperative (read: required) to re-size photos for the Web. This has always been the case. While those 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, and 9-megapixel images look great for printing, there are far too many pixels within them for the Web.
Use iPhoto or Preview to re-size photos to web-friendly sizes. In iPhoto, use the Export function, and choose a size in pixels. The width of your photos should be in the range of 300-450 pixels, maximum.
The screenshot above is from my blog: on your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see how much free space you have. 150 MB is the equivalent to 1.5 Zip disks (for those of you who remember those), or about 1/10 of a gigabyte.
This photo, above, is 24KB. It’s size is 288×310 pixels. With 150 MB of space, you should be able to store over 5,000 photos like this in your blog space. If you are running out of space, please do check your resources, and ensure that you are only uploading media that has been optimized for the Web, in terms of size. While download times at work may be pretty quick, folks with dial-up connections really suffer when they hit a webpage with a 2- or 4-megabyte image.
“Media literacy” is one of our means for approaching projects in our G21 framework. Many have identified both media and visual literacies essential to an education that prepares students for the world in which we live. I came across a fun activity to explore issues relating to media and visual literacies with your students.
The basic premise is… “Am I being manipulated?” Mass media sources today are seemingly obsessed with manipulating just about everything we see on TV and in magazines. They can superimpose flags on the swimming lanes during the olympics. They can airbrush away blemishes on model’s faces. In movies, they can totally transform a natural environment and brush-in some mountains. The hard sell for students is: you can’t believe anymore what you see with your own two eyes.
In comes tilt-shift photography. This style treatment and transform your typical digital photograph to something extraordinary. A slim area of focus, and wide area of blur creates an optical illusion. You think you’re looking not as something “real,” but something put together in miniature.
Mrs. Cantor shared with me a cool website that will transform your digital photos into tilt-shifted masterworks. Using this website, you or your students can transform photographs to see if they can see if the new photo manipulates their senses. It will give them a real, hands-on experience of exploring what media manipulation can do (both good or bad) to our perceptions.
I sometimes get asked, usually at an off-site meeting or conference, about why it’s important to keep up with some of the latest technologies in schools. I often cite the need to be prepared, about starting small, and evolving into new trends that are likely to have a lasting impact in the lives of our students.
“Indeed, educators recognize the need to increase the in-school emphasis on media literacy as a way to help students think critically about traditional and new media, including on the Internet and in video production.”
A recent article talks about this, and ties it to maintaining twenty-first century skills. It’s an interesting, short read.