Have you noticed that how we both take and edit our photos have changed? We used to take digital photos with our digital cameras of the events of our lives. Birthday parties, vacations, and holidays all had us bringing out the camera, shooting pictures and videos, then go back to our computers where we would transfer the photos to some folder system on our hard drive and then (if we were good) we’d back them up periodically so all those precious memories would be protected.
So much has changed
First off… we are not using dedicated cameras but our cell phones instead.
Secondly the photos we are taking are less of events and more to more of our daily lives.
Lastly, how we store and edit our photos have changed as well.
I have gone “All In” with Google Photos to manage my the photos in my life. It has been quite transformational saying goodbye the folders on my desktop to letting Google Photos host them all. There are lots of reasons why you too should think about making the jump and I even do workshops showing people the benefits. Just take a look below and see how I have just under 50,000 photos going all the way back to the 1940’s
But one of the things I have missed in having Google keep all my photos is the ability to do some advanced editing with my photos. This is where the app “Snapseed” comes in
Snapseed was a standalone app which was purchased by Google. They kept the app alive and separate from Google Photos and it's one I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Snapseed allows you to go deep in your editing to not just change the Brightness, Contrast, and do a little cropping. It lets you play with Saturation, Hues, Skin tones, and way more tools than I'll ever know what to do with. The app also does one giant thing which others do not. You can edit PARTS of a photo. Meaning, you can change the characteristics of whichever parts of a photo you want to.
Need a little fill flash on a face to get rid of a shadow? DONE!
Need a little light and color to the people in the foreground but not change the background? DONE!
Here are two examples.
The first one is of my grandfather where I was able to edit just the radius of his face. On the there images you will see the original, the editing of just the region of his face and then the final version
In the second example I took a photo of family in the Carlsbad caverns. I liked the lighting of the caves in the background but needing to make the family pop out.
So check out the app Snapseed… it's on Android and iOS but there is not a web version which I would love to see for students using Chromebooks... hey Snapseed, are you listening?
I've been listening to the "Note To Self" podcast about the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone and can't recommend this enough. Here's a link to check it out.
Some of lines that gave me pause are:
"Our species is in Perpetual permanent motion"
"For every extension there is also an amputation"
In the end it really got me thinking how much our lives have changed... for both better and worse.
So... What are some ways you have seen life improved or made worse by having these always connected little black slabs with us?
Share it your on Twitter with the hashtag
Here's my first one:
About two and a half years ago I was on a plane flying back from a trip to Germany composing a blog post about the next transition in my professional life. I had just accepted a position in my district in Rocklin as a Tech TOSA (teacher on special assignment), which meant I was about to say goodbye to my life as a history teacher (which I started in 1998). Before I began this new chapter in my life, I shared my thoughts in a blog. Here is the original blog post.
Fast forward two years and I'm starting another post as I sit in the passenger seat of our car somewhere in the Arizona desert with the thermometer pushing 122° and I am once again facing a new path.
Now, this is not because I find my work as a Tech TOSA lacking in any regards, I really love my job being a TOSA. Sure, I shared those same feeling that all educators do once they step out of the classroom of missing the connections with students. As a TOSA I anticipated that I would have many of these opportunities to connect with kids as I moved from school to school and class to class working in classrooms. At times this did happen (just this last spring I had the incredible opportunity to work with the 6th grade classes at Sierra Elementary and their fantastic teachers assisting with their Environmental PSA videos). This experience was one of the highlights of my TOSA life! Thanks again to all of you for letting me come out! Here is a link to the YouTube playlist of videos these kids made.
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed these opportunities, the reality of my job was that these opportunities did not come around as often as I thought they would have. The primary reason for this was simply the scope of the job and the size of my district. Being the only Tech TOSA in a district serving 11 elementaries, 2 middle, 2 high, 1 alternative and 1 charter made it a bit of a challenge getting into classrooms. Even with these challenges and how much I found myself missing the classroom, I still loved going to work each day and assisting teachers, building capacity and helping the district move forward with the betterment of the teaching profession. The biggest PLUS in terms of this job was being part of what we called “Team TOSA”. This is the incredible group of TOSAs with whom over the past two years I have worked in planning, collaborating and laughing over so many projects.
So where does that leave me now?
Well, a lot went down in a short time and I’ll give you the Cliffsnotes version.
A teaching job at Rocklin High (my previous school) in Broadcasting opened up and after talking with the principal and my family, it looked like we all wanted to see me back at the school. My oldest daughter will be a senior and my youngest is going into 8th grade. They both have grown up in our town of Rocklin observing me as a teacher and football coach their entire lives. They wanted to be at the high school with me, in my classes, and have us all be part of our rich school culture together. And yes… I wanted that too. It was the timing of this TOSA job two years ago which made this a challenge. But now, here we were with a new opportunity with a new class, one which ties in with my digital storytelling passions and allows me to back in the classroom at the school with my kids.
One of my biggest concerns in all of this was leaving the body of work and connections I had made as a TOSA though. So, some conversations with lots of higher ups brought about a compromise that will allow me to juggle both roles. I will still get to remain as a part time TOSA and will work in the afternoons in that position while teaching Broadcasting in the morning. In the end (hopefully) I get the best of both worlds.
In closing I would like to thank a few people who really made this happen.
First my Superintendent Roger Stock and Deputy Superintendent Kathy Pon. As I approached the two of them with this idea, the message that they gave me back about “whenever you put family first, the chips in life will fall into place” (sorry if I butchered your quote Roger!) made me feel confident that I was making the right choice.
Secondly, RHS Principal Davis Stewart who guided me through this process and shared with me his vision of the potential that this class has to be something special. Thanks Stew!
Lastly my wife and two daughters, you three were very supportive of me during this last stage as a TOSA and you desire to have me at RHS made this all happen.
Alright, time to start lesson planning.
Uh...any ideas where I should start?
Let me start off by saying that I have grown up a lot! (At least I hope I have)
I was digging through some old memorabilia and found some high school work of mine. I am going to share some of it below but there is a reason for this madness and it's not to show what a butt head I was (although after reading it you may agree with the butt head label).
I attended Fountain Valley High School in So Cal back in 1989 (to put me in the writing mood tonight, I am playing my 80’s New Wave playlist which you can check out here; am I missing any hits?)
My senior year I did not make it into the “college prep” English class due to a consistent, less than stellar GPA my previous three years and the class I was in referred to ourselves as the Sweathogs (the term is from “Welcome Back Kotter” and if you haven’t seen it, give it a watch on YouTube).
My English teacher ended up being Jim Beirne.
Was he bad teacher? No.
Did he wear a Members Only jacket in his class photo? Yes.
Did I like him back in 1989? No.
Now here is where it gets a little fuzzy... I am not sure why I couldn’t stand him. The one thing which does stick out was his making us do Daily Writing Journals.
Oh how I loathed these journals. Reflecting on it now I remember the overriding reason I hated them was the fact that I didn’t think my teacher ever read any of them. It was this lack of feedback which really pissed me off and the reason why is that I think I actually TRIED in many of these journals to put real thought and effort.
Each day he would assign a different prompt and each day he would return the previous days with this initials showing us we got credit for it. Well, after a few months I got more and more angry with the apparent laziness and lack of care he had to even read these prompts so I challenged Mr. Beirne and well, you can read some of the highlights below:
Now I bet you can imagine what his initials on the top of the page meant to me?
He didn’t read it again.
Oh, how vindicated and smug I felt for weeks.
But to any educators reading this now… What are your thoughts about this assigning and feedback paradox? I ask because after teaching 15 years of AP World History my last two years I felt so relieved to tell the kids the brutal truth: “I am not capable to read all the writing you will do in this class”. It was a huge weight off my chest because this lesson I had deep in me from 1989 was that students NEED feedback but now that I WAS THE TEACHER, how could I honestly give feedback for 6 classes of 30+ kids on a regular basis without going mad?
So… what are you thoughts about giving written assignments and giving teacher feedback?
Oh.. and wherever you are Mr. Beirne, I am sorry again. These journals are a gold mine for me to look back and see a little about who I was and what I was thinking about. I will treasure these.
And I did actually like the Members Only Jacket.