Thing 12: Media Skills


Photos, graphics, video – media is everywhere! Knowing how to use photos, take video, capture screenshots, annotate images, create collages, share images online and so on, are crucial skills that area as essential as knowing how to use a word processor or a spreadsheet. This lesson is a hodge-podge of tips and tools related to images and video. There should be something new for everyone to explore and practice.

NOTE: Though I’ve tried to find services and tools that don’t stray into the NSFW (not safe for work) area, be aware that you never know what sort of graphics some services might display.

Photos in Education

Before we get to the long list of tips and tools, here are some student photo project ideas to inspire you.

  • Easy Creative Projects – Karen Bosch has a series of slide decks w lots of interesting creative project ideas for various age levels, including some great photo apps and projects.


And for the usual “this page is too long” reason, your learning activity is up here at the top. Remember, you don’t have to explore everything on this page, there’s a lot here to make sure everyone finds something new and interesting to do.

Your assignment is simple:

  • Explore something new to you. Or something familiar, but in more depth.
  • Create a photo, video or other creative media project of some sort – simple or complex – you choose! But challenge yourself to learn something new and think about how you could use it with students, connecting with your school community, promote library services, etc.
  • Write a blog post about your experience. Embed your project if you can, or link to it so we can enjoy what you’ve done.

LOG YOUR LESSON: Don’t forget to log your blog post when you’re done!  When you finish this lesson by fill out the log form. You’ll need the URL of your first blog post to complete the form.

A few ideas for activities



Knowing how to take a screenshot is handy in many different situations – to share tips on how to use a website, to create a custom image to upload to Pinterest, to capture an image for a presentation slidedeck, create posters, add images to web-based projects and much much more.

Windows Screenshot Tips

  • Printscreen key on keyboard – creates an image of the whole screen and puts it in your clipboard, from there you can paste it into any software that will let you paste from the clipboard
  • Alt-Printscreen – Takes a screenshot of the active window.
  • Snipping tool – Free tool built into windows, outline a freeform area, select a rectangular or freeform area, various options for saving.
  • Snagit from Techsmith – ($) Lots of features not available in free tools. Mac & PC desktop application. Free trial. Educational & individual pricing.

Macintosh Screenshot Tips

  • Command-shift-3 – whole screen is copied to your clipboard
  • Command-shift-4 -portion of the screen is copied to the clipboard
  • Grab App – more options – one handy feature is a timer so you can set up what you want to show before the shot is captured.
  • Snagit from Techsmith – ($) Lots of features not available in free tools. Mac & PC desktop application. Free trial. Educational & individual pricing.

Browser Extensions – These tools capture screenshots of what you see in your browser screen. Some are specific to a particular browser and/or operating system.

  • Awesome Screenshot – Chrome, Safari, Firefox browser add-on. Options capturing whole web page, visible part or selected part. Includes cropping, editing, markup. Save online, in your Diigo account, Google Drive or to the desktop.
  • Lightshot – Another browser add on, with similar editing, markup and cropping option. Most unusual feature is option to search Google for similar images right from the screenshot editing window. Handy.
  • Snagit for Chrome – Browser extension with simple editing options. Sends screenshots to your Google Drive account.
  • How to take a screenshot of your iPad or iPad Mini – Push the Power and Home buttons at the same time.


  • Saving an image – don’t forget the simple trick of using your mouse “right click’ to to download an image or save it to your clipboard.
  • Snaggy copy and paste to a box on the Snaggy page, get url to share image. Very handy.
  • Clipping Magic – Upload image, easy to use selection tools let you edit out the background of an image and save it as a transparent gif.
  • Picasa – The desktop app offers some editing options, poster creation. But it’s true strength is helping you organize your photos.


Who needs fancy, expensive editing software when there are some great, free tools available, both online editors and desktop editors.


Powerpoint and Google Slides are handy tools for making a bunch of photo/quote images quickly. Paste a photo into a slide & use the title area to write a quote over top. “Save As JPEG” will export each slide as separate image.

Some online tools for creating quote graphics and word clouds are:


Need an image digitized, use a scanner. Don’t have one? Use a smartphone or tablet app like CamScanner or the scanner built into the Evernote app.


The internet world is once again in love these animated images. They were hot in the mid-90′s when the web was new and now tumblr, that wildly popular blogging service, is full of them. They’re made by either snipping out a short section of a video or by stringing together some still images and having them loop over and over.

Though animated GIFs can get annoying, they can also be used to create short digital stories. Upload a series of hand drawn and scanned sketches to make a little animated cartoon. Create PowerPoint slides with quotes and images, save them as individual images to create a short slide show. This video, How to Make an Animated GIF, presents a simple, free tool for creating them and uses quote/image slides as an example. (my example)


This is a huge topic in itself. There are so many ways to take video now, with our smartphones, regular cameras and fancy video cams. This section lists a few tools and resources to experiment with. There are tons more!

Video apps

  • Instagram – Video option built in for posting short videos. (iOS & Android app)
  • Vine – The Vine app takes videos to share via Twitter & Facebook. (iOS & Android app)
  • 1 Second Everyday – Chronicle your year with 1 second of video every day. Strangely fascinating. (iOS & Android app)
  • Check out the iPad and Android app stores for more video apps.

Online storage

Editing, etc.



2 thoughts on “Thing 12: Media Skills

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