App of the Week: Green Screen Movie FX

The Green Screen Movie FX app


Greenscreen FX


Do you want to take your video projects to another level, say by, adding a marching T-Rex in the background? You can do that with the Green Screen Movie FX app.



This app has some really cool special effects. For example, there are explosions, fireworks, and different weather scenes just to name a few. Or you can create your own FX special effects and upload them into your movie file.

This app will be a wonderful companion to use with our state of the art multimedia/green screen room located in room 337 in the Bisdorf building.

Green Screen lets you create special movie effects and instantly share and show off your video creations on Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, email and others.

If you are ready to make a “Hollywood” style movie clip for your next class project, grab your iPad or iPhone and start creating.

Cost: $2.99

This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad




App of the Week: CourseSmart eTextbooks

1The CourseSmart eTextbooks app is a complement to a CourseSmart eTextbook subscription. Students can benefit from the advantages of mobile learning–leaving their backpacks and laptops behind.

Access your eTextbooks for quick reference
Checkout your eTextbooks for offline usage
Add, edit and view your notes and highlights as you study
Synchronize your notes and highlights across all CourseSmart reading systems
Support for portrait and landscape orientations
Find what you need using keyword search
Get a true digital equivalent of your textbook

PRICE: free

Link: [Apple]

Throwback Thursday – A tribute to the educational tools that gave their lives for technological advancement


Ode to the Chalkboard (early 1800’s – late 1900’s)


The slates of old.  Literally slate.  Stone in the hands of students for years as they worked out their math problems or practiced their penmanship in small eight-sided schoolhouses.  These fragments were one day brilliantly hung together in a large wall of slate (either by Scottish teacher James Pillans in the or West Point Professor George Baron) to aid in instruction.  And so, the chalkboard (or blackboard) was born.

This was the first educational technology, the first time that teachers could address the students as a class, to teach a lesson as a whole.  This method of instruction graced classrooms across the globe as an inexpensive, portable product that could be used with only the aid of a compressed stick of chalk.  However, it was not to last.

By the 1990’s chalkboards were beginning to be phased out in a large scale.  In their place, the whiteboard took hold.  No more after school detentions knocking together chalk erasers, no more screeching of fingernails across the shiny black surface, no more clouds of chalk dust when the eraser thumped against the board.  Now was the squeal of markers against the shiny white laminate and the occasional exclamation of teachers as they wrote with a permanent marker by mistake.

Yet even as we transition again into SMARTboards, the chalkboard has not been forgotten.  It will forever be memorialized in the application Blackboard.  The chalkboard may be gone, but its legacy lives on.


If you would like to learn more about SMARTboards and the application Blackboard check out our workshop offerings!


Avenia, Tara. “The History and Future of the Chalkboard.” ETEC540 Text Technologies Community Weblog. University of British Columbia, 28 October 2012. Web. 06 February 2014.

Oliveras, Xorje. “Death of the Chalkboard: Declining Sales Driven by Cheap Whiteboard Production.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 30 October 2009. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.

The Other Wikipedia

A Better Resource on the Web

Going to the library and pulling out books to get sources for a research pape for class project seems much more complicated than going to Wikipedia and grabbing a reference. But is Wikipedia a reliable source of information? For those seeking an alternative resource, there’s Ancient Encyclopedia History (AEH). All their articles are peer reviewed before publication.

The site has a more personal touch than Wikipedia. To get articles posted they must first be reviewed by the team at AEH where they look for objective points of view. If the article has no bias, then they approve it and ask the community to provide a peer review.

Peer reviews are the real strength that sets AEH apart. To become a peer reviewer you have to have an account and apply for the feature. AEH requires credentials and an of expertise in order to promote accounts to a peer review status. Without meeting these requirements, a page that has been set up cannot be altered. This gives teachers an online source to offer their students that isn’t as volatile as Wikipedia.

Always improving

The site is still very new and growing and while it may have a number of useful articles, it still cannot be the one-stop-shop answer to Wikipedia. The developer of the site Jan van der Crabben is always looking for accredited individuals to help authenticate the articles on the site as well as to continue to grow the library they have. I recommend that if you’re a faculty member interested in using this site as a resource for your students, you might consider looking into becoming a peer reviewer.

When There Is No Photoshop

This month I will be starting my training sessions on Adobe Photoshop, while preparing for it I started to think about one thing. What if  somebody can’t get Photoshop?Adobe Photoshop is a pricey tool, even with the Education discount. This led me to think, what solution could I recommend for those that can’t make it to our Sandbox, or get Photoshop?

Google provides a solution called Google+ Photos, which is a part of Google+ that allows you to store, edit, and share photos over the web. The real treat is the ability to do many of the edits that are desired from Photoshop, the only draw back is that there aren’t as many controls.

The way you get there is a bit clunky, but you will get use to it. First you have to setup your Google+ account, without it these tools aren’t accessible.  Once there you will see a toolbar on the left hand side, at the top it will have an image and say home, down about half way you will see Photos, clicking on that will change the rest of the window.

Now you will be given some options related to cell phones, but that isn’t what we are here for, so ignore it. Now look up at the top, you will notice that “From phone” is selected, but we want to go to “Albums.” Right now it is empty unless you’ve used Google plus before, so we’re going to click the red button “Upload New Photos” in the top right. A new frame will pop up asking you to drag a photo into it, or you can click the blue button and select them from a file. At the top you will see a category called “Album name:” that you can fill in to organize your photo albums. After that you can drag photos from your folder that you want uploaded and the process of putting your photos online will begin.

Now that you have some pictures to work with select one and it should pop out and be surrounded a dark background. At the top left you will see a button with stars on it called “Edit Photo,”  when selected a new window will come up with a ton of options, the list of Basic Edits will allow you to quickly apply color corrections. There are many features here and playing with all the sliders are easy to use and fun, just click and test each option out, or go into the effects tap for some quick and fun solutions. Once you’re done you can click save at the top right and choose to replace or save as a new copy. It is recommended to always save as a new copy just to make sure you have the original on hand.

Well that is how to use Google+ to work on photos if Photoshop isn’t your cup of tea.