Peace Fund Radio ~ An Interview With Lori on Technology and Education

Our own Lori Yearwood answered a call from actor Adrian Paul and next thing she new she was putting on her educator cap, technology cape and flying down to LA Talk Radio to do a one hour radio show for Adrian’s charity The Peace Fund! Ok, she calmly accepted the offer to converse with Adrian on the topic of technology as it relates to education today, and being that she works out of our LA office, she drove 10 min to meet him for his Peace Fund Radio Show.

Peace Fund

Ready To Jump Into Action

Adrian, best known for his role as Duncan McCloud on the Highlander Series, founded The Peace Fund to focus on small, under-funded and hard-working charities who are determined to make a positive difference to the lives of children living in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Every Wednesday he hosts the Peace Fund Radio show discussing relevant current topics with expert guests and featured heroes who are making a great difference.

Peace Fund Radio

On air

The content of Lori’s show flowed like a great conversation discussing whether technology in our school system is beneficial or detrimental to our students.  Listen to a recorded archive here:

How might you have chimed in with your thoughts on some of these topics?

  • Teachers’ abilities to implement technology
  • Technology being used as a bandaid solution for underperforming schools rather than hiring more teachers
  • Should all schools receive equal technological resources?
  • Effects of technology use at home
  • Students losing creativity and the ability to solve problems on their own
  • The continuing pattern of grand educational movements that always dwindle out and disappoint

Please feel free to comment below with your own thoughts and experiences, we’d love to keep the conversation going.

TEDxWarsaw Talk: Erica Speaks on Transmedia Character Development

Erica

Erica in Action

 

Our own Erica Hargreave was fortunate to enjoy an enriching experience as she spoke to a group of enthusiastic storytellers at a TEDx event in Warsaw.  Now we all have the great fortune to enjoy what she shared!  Both entertaining and informative, Erica created a mini storyworld right on the stage as she enveloped different characters to demonstrate her unique brand of transmedia character development, and the permission we must allow ourselves to be creative.

 

 

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Genius Scan: Apps for the Busy Professional on the Go

As someone who has a mobile office, I was initially unprepared for the amount of times I would receive ‘urgent’ requests for documents to be printed, signed and scanned back. There have also been times when paper sources of mine have had to be sent to someone immediately.  Of course, as a working mom, and busy professional on the go, this most often happens when I am nowhere near a computer, printer or scanner!  I have come across a couple Apps that have solved this dilemma for me: SignEasy; a Digital Signature App which I discussed in a previous post, and Genius Scan.

Genius Scan is exactly what its name suggests, a brilliant scanning tool! If you have a printed document that needs to be sent, but no scanner, this App give you the ability to take a photo of each page, make general enhancements and send it off!  It will save each page into the same document so you don’t need to send each page off separately.

Genius Scan scanning App

Cropping Your Document

After you take a photo of your document, a grid overlay comes up for you to crop and determine exactly which parts of your page to include. This is handy if you have smaller receipts where a lot of your table shows up in the photo.

Genius Scan document enhancements

Finishing Touches

Once you are finished cropping the page, the App enhances it for you. You have the option to select No Enhancement, Black and White, or Colour. Once you save the page and add any other pages to the same document file you can choose your format to send it in. I usually choose PDF and it gets sent off as a proper printable document, not like a photo you took and emailed off.

I have been using this App for a long time now and I believe there have been a few upgrades along the way providing an enhanced user experience with even more options than I have described above, and this App is free.  As someone who is always juggling work and family, I have been extremely grateful for the time and headaches I’ve been able to avoid!

Creating a Digital Signature with SignEasy

There have been countless times when I have received an email with a document that needs to be printed and signed then sent back ASAP.  On numerous occasions this has been when I am nowhere near a computer, printer or scanner!  I have come across a couple Apps that have solved this dilemma for me: SignEasy; a digital signature App, and Genius Scan (which I will discuss in my next post in ‘Apps for the Busy Professional on the Go’).

Within SignEasy, you enter and save your signature by  writing it with your finger.  You are then able to open a document directly from an email and insert your signature onto the appropriate page.  You simply pinch the signature to shrink it to the right size and drag it to place it right on the line.  The App also has the function to enter dates, addresses and other text formalities. There is an easy to follow tutorial which shows you how to digitally sign a document.

SignEasy tap for signature

This is a sample document from within the App which shows the simplicity of the design and instruction.

digital signature

When you enter your signature, you have a nice open screen to write it with your finger. You can see how you are able to select the ink colour you need.

SignEasy signature App

Adjusting and Placing Your Signature

When your signature appears on your document you will need to shrink the size and move it to the appropriate spot. You can see from the choices at the bottom that you are also able to enter the date and any text that might be necessary for you to add within the document. After you select ‘Done’ you will have the option to share and send the document to the intended recipient.

I have been using this App for a long time now and I believe there have been a few upgrades along the way providing an enhanced user experience with even more options than I have described above, and this App is free.  As a very busy working mom I have been extremely grateful for the time and headaches it has helped me to avoid!

Flipagram: How To Make A Flipagram?

Thanks to The Cloud, new Apps show up on my phone all the time from the kids downloading them on their phones!

Thanks to The Cloud, new Apps show up on my phone all the time from the kids downloading them on their phones!

Flipagram: How To Make A Flipagram? This question has come up, as I have been watching and observing my teenagers’ online antics and I have learned an important lesson from them!  It’s more important to come across as having fun and even looking goofy than it is to look good when posting to social sites.  One avenue they have been using to express this is Flipagram.  Flipagram is an App in which you create stories using pictures.  It is an ideal vehicle for creating Vine posts, or saving to your camera roll to use on other sites, or even just to send to one or two particular people.  Flipagram is a social sharing site within itself as well.

I have been enjoying giving my kids’ App choices a try and so thought I would make a little video introducing the idea that I will be sharing more throughout the year.  Within this video you can see the Flipagram mini story I made myself with quite the silly intent, plus a tutorial on how to make Flipagram videos!

My apologies about the sound and video quality in this first video bite from Apps My Kids Use, I am new to creating these videos and still experimenting with how to best set them up.

 Taking the photos to use was half the fun! We encourage you to give in to your creative side as well and make some photo storytelling magic.

The Stories Our Superpowers Tell

We’ve all said it many times when trying to get through a difficult situation; “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” We have all been able to call on inner strength in different moments, but what if there was something challenging in your life bigger than just a moment?  What would your inner strength be capable of developing then, and where would it take you?  Most importantly, what great stories would you have to share as a result?

Photo Courtesy of BK

Photo Courtesy of BK

Realwheels Theatre is exploring this in a community storytelling project, #SuperVoices.  They are inviting storytellers who self-identify as having some form of disability to share with them in written, pictorial or video form, their superpower.  Everyone is invited to engage and benefit from the inspirations that are so often sparked by stories so bold and honest. Being that this is a digital project, they are hoping that even those with limited mobility will be able to participate.

In some cases a superpower is an exceptional talent that emerges, as in the case of Stephen Wiltshire, who is known as the human camera.  In the video below you can see Stephen fly over Rome and then draw everything he saw down to the exact number of windows on buildings.

In other cases, superpowers are a new sense of intuition or knowledge that becomes heightened as self awareness blossoms into new capabilities.  One of the #SuperVoices participants, @freeandclear1, is able to smell toxic chemicals and avoid them as a result of migraines.  One of the most powerful stories shared so far in this campaign is by Lynnthargic, who wrote a very poetic blog on all that she is now able to see. It is simply titled, Superpowers.

If you would like to share your superpower, please do so with the #SuperVoices hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, or by posting your story on the WheelVoices Facebook page or G+ Community. You may also email it to Realwheels directly at: realwheelstheatre@gmail.com. Tell your story using your own preferred technique; photos, videos or written word.

Instacollage : Apps My Kids Use

Instead of sharing a whole album of photos, I’ve noticed that my kids compile their favourite shots from an event and share them as just one photo collage.  It’s something they’re always excited to do when we get home.  They sit on the couch and go through all the pics we took, then go about creating their work of art.  I actually like this process because, rather than mindlessly uploading everything all at once to an album, they spend a long time reminiscing about the day and then enjoy a period of creativity.  The App they have come to love for this is Instacollage.

This is a free App, which actually provides a lot of options within it.  You start by selecting the layout you want to use.  This works best if you’ve already decided on how many photos you will be using.  There are standard straight line options, as well as many other interesting shape combinations.

This is only a small sampling of options.  If you swipe to the right while on this screen (which you can do several times), you will have even more to choose from.

This is only a small sampling of options. If you swipe to the right while on this screen (which you can do several times), you will have even more to choose from.

Once you’ve chosen the layout the fun begins! You upload your chosen photos either one at a time or all at once.  You can resize them and move them around.  You can play around with background colours and add text or special effects! You pretty much have the option to change the colour of everything.

 This is the beginning of a collage I'm thinking about making to showcase all the meals I've cooked with pumpkin so far this year!

This is the beginning of a collage I’m thinking about making to showcase all the meals I’ve cooked with pumpkin so far this year!

Adding the finishing touches is the best part.  There are multiple frames to outline your collage and the kids love the ‘stick’ feature which allows you to place fun and quirky stickers anywhere you like. Decision making has never really been my thing, so I spent quite a long time creating my first Instacollage!

Here it is! My first one made with guidance from the kids using shots from our garden! I love the white picket fence.

Here it is! My first one made with guidance from the kids using shots from our garden! I love the white picket fence.

Within the App you have the option to share your collage directly to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your camera roll, email, and Flickr.

That’s the inside teen scoop from my house to yours!

Do you have a different collage app that you like to use? We’d love to hear about it, and what you like about it!

Garden Sketch, A New App For Garden Lovers

As we are approaching Autumn, your garden is probably finishing up quite a round of transformations as it went from buds, to blooms, to full Summer glory, and now an Autumn harvest! This is where the creative genius Maija Leivo and Ian Herring comes in. Inspired by their own gardening experiences, they have created and recently launched Garden Sketch App, an interactive iPad experience that lets you plan out your garden design strategy now to have an even more delightful, invite everyone over to enjoy your garden kind of story for next year!

Essentially, the Garden Sketch App is a planning tool where you can plot out various arrangements if you are looking to transform your garden space, or if you find yourself with a yard you’ve never tended to before and you need to dream up some ideas to transform it into a beloved garden.  Once you enter the dimensions of your space, you can map out as many different designs as you want, making your time spent on this App almost as Zen-like as gardening itself.  You really are creating your own storyworld that you get to live in through next year’s growing season! We’d like to illustrate the technology for you in a before/after scenario.

BEFORE.  You begin with a blank slate made to the size of your own property's dimensions, which you enter upon starting. Choose the house shape that most resembles yours and begin to create!

BEFORE. You begin with a blank slate made to the size of your own property’s dimensions, which you enter upon starting. Choose the house shape that most resembles yours and begin to create!

AFTER! Picture yourself enjoying a lemonade on your porch swing, or a morning croissant under your shady tree.

AFTER! Picture yourself enjoying a lemonade on your porch swing, or a morning croissant under your shady tree.  In our case, we’d be accompanied by a good book to read or notebook to start crafting one of the many stories that wanders through our imaginations.

The technology of this App over the old paper/pencil method gives you more freedom to create, move around and delete. For a full tutorial on how the above garden was created, visit the Garden Sketch site.  There are also great stories coming out of Maija’s and Ian’s own garden, which you may enjoy checking in with on their blog.  Like most gardeners, they enjoy sharing information, tips, recipes, and chatting about horticulture in general.  Join in the community love on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

 

Video Star : Apps My Kids Use

This is the first post of a new monthly series on Apps My Kids Use, keeping a tune to what’s keep our kids amused in our mobile world.

I will sometimes see my kids using a new App that I have never heard of and the next thing you know, all of their friends are using it and soon after the app becomes a big deal and a household name.  My kids are currently in high school, by the way, for a bit of age context here.  Later we shall get Erica adding to this column with apps that her much younger nieces and nephews use.  Some Apps ignite a strong addiction while others are over and done with and deleted quickly.  One App that has been used consistently in our house for over a year now is Video Star.  It has become a means of creating memories of family vacations and momentous outings, not to mention the great babysitting tool it has been for them to entertain kids!

Video Star

Within the Video Star App you create a music video.  You select a song from your own iTunes account, select a special effect to use for your scene, record a little action and stop when you are done.  When you are ready to record your next scene the App will automatically continue where you left off in the song.  This is amazing, because it allows you to film at different locations, even days apart and not have to do any editing!

Here’s a video that I made for Erica on the occasion of her birthday.  In her honour I was as silly as I could be!

You can see how this would be perfect for travel, as you can take a short clip of each place you go and end up with a music video showcasing memories from your whole vacation.  I feel you could even take this App into the business world. For example, if you are working on a film, TV, or theatrical show, you could use Video Star to get some fun behind the scenes clips to share with everyone at the end of the show.  You could certainly prepare some fun material for presentations, and get students up and active during workshops.

The only downfall with Video Star is that for sharing purposes you need to upload it to YouTube in order to maintain the digital quality.  Sharing with others via email or messaging sends a very grainy low quality version.  I hope you give yourself permission to have some fun and maybe capture a video to paste a smile on the face of your family, friends or staff this Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or other winter holiday! As Erica will tell you, it makes the perfect gift!

The Collection of Happiness Stories Continues

We always enjoy working with the Vancouver Theatre Company, Realwheels, and one of their latest quests has been particularly fun for us.  A short while ago we launched a campaign with them to find out the different things that make people happy. This was done in collaboration with OneStory, the video interview App.  Realwheels was curious to know how different people define their identity regardless of physicality by showcasing the universal concept of happiness and obstacles.

OneStory has proven to be the perfect place to collect people’s thoughts.  You can see what is there so far by visiting the OneStory site.  The different ideas of happiness are simple and inspiring, and everyone’s honesty with regards to obstacles is sincere and refreshing.  Here I am getting in on the action:

We’d like to know your story and have you add your voice to this project.  Interview your friends while you’re at it.  After all, someone has to hold your iPhone to interview you, why not turn it around on them? There are two questions we’d like you to answer, that will then be stitched together to form a seamless spot.

1. What is your name and what makes you happy?

2. Is there an obstacle to that happiness?

To do this you simply need to download the OneStory App for free on your iPhone or iPad.  Once you open the App you will see different categories of interviews.  Feel free to give a listen, people have some really interesting things to say! Our topic is found within the Featured interview topics, as well as within the Health related topics.

OneStory App

When you are ready to record your interview click on the red record button with an image of a camera on it in the top right corner of the screen.  Scroll down and select ‘What Makes You Happy?’ Press Next in the top right corner and then enter the name of the person who will be speaking.  Press Next again and then press the button that says ‘Record Answer’  when you are ready to answer the first prompt.

Share your story through your feeds using #WheelVoices and enjoy being a part of the Realwheels community where everyone has a story and everyone has a voice.