Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Posts Tagged ‘images’

Search images with Tag Galaxy

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 13, 2009

Tag Galaxy is a Flickr photo search that displays the results in a beautiful and unique way.

When you go to the site, you are asked to enter a keyword. I entered Perth and got this result:



This lovely galaxy of tags rotates slowly. It’s an excellent way to see what keywords or tags are associated with a topic (remembering that these are user photos). If I click on one of the smaller planets (e.g. Beach) a new galaxy with new keywords will open up. 



When I click on the central planet in any galaxy, photos from Flickr with those tags fly on to the planet.



You can then rotate the globe with your pen or finger, and double click on any image to see a larger size.


Flickr images are moderated, so you can feel reasonably safe to do the search in front of a class. However, it never hurts to do a quick search before they arrive, just in case anything unexpected appears!


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Improving the look of your images with transparency and point to point

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 18, 2008

This post rather goes against the spirit of the previous post (which guarded against perfectionism 🙂 )

But once you’ve had a bit of practice with your software, you start to get fussier about the way your images present on your flipchart.

Here’s a screenshot of a flipchart with three fruits:


Let’s start with the orange. When I copied the picture onto my page, the white background came too. This looks ugly against my plate.

In Activstudio, double-click the picture. Then ‘pick the tick’ (click on the properties icon which is a red tick).object-edit-toolbar

In the grey box that appears, click ‘Appearance’ on the left hand side. Then put a tick in the transparency box.

The default for transparency is black, so in this case, you will need to change it. Click on the black square (You won’t see the black square until you’ve ticked the transparency box).

Now you have a pop up image of the orange. Click on any of the white space to chose that as your transparent colour.

The apple isn’t very effective, because there are too many in the picture.  I’ll use a picture of a whole apple instead. I’m also going to use the point to point option on the camera tool in Activstudio to capture the edges of one apple, instead of taking it with a background. I’ll do the same for the picture of the pear.

I’ve been looking for an alternative print screen tool that allows point to point for non-Promethean users, but can’t find one at the moment. If you know of one, let me know!

The final flipchart page. I’ve arranged all the pieces of fruit on the plate (to show off how nice they look).


It would look nicer if they were all photographs but I wanted to include the orange to show how you can work with clipart.

Using the transparency tool to hide a background is not as effective with photographs. Even if the background looks white, there are usually shades of grey that don’t appear until you drag it onto a coloured background. But the technique works very well with drawings and clipart.

Now you’ve taken the time to neaten up these images, make sure you save them into your resource library so they are ready for the next activity.

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Using Google Images more effectively

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 10, 2008

When I’m making a flipchart for my whiteboard, my first stop for images is the Resource Library. The Search function (magnifying glass symbol) is quick and effective, and I’m often surprised how many resources are available for my topic.

If I’m doing something more specific though, or would like a change, my next stop is Google Images.

Here’s my five top tips for getting the results you want with Google Images.

1. Be specific. Typing cake into Google images returns 44,400,000 images. Chocolate cake returns 3,120,000. Slice chocolate cake returns 216,000 – much better. I’m still not going to go past page 1 or 2, but at least nearly all the images returned are slices of chocolate cake.

2. Change the image size. At the top left just above the results, there is a drop down menu allowing you to change the image size. This is particularly useful if you are looking for something that will cover your whole screen, like a background or a painting. When I wanted to search for Monet’s Water Lilies, I changed the image size to Large, which brought the results I wanted.

3. Change the content. Next to the image size menu, there is a content menu. You can change this to Photos, Faces, or News to refine your search.

4. Use Advanced Image Search. This is to the right of the search box. I particularly like being able to change the colour. If you search for black and white, it will often return clipart/ drawings. Greyscale is also nice if you are looking for old-fashioned photos.

5. Have a quick link to Google Images. You might want to include it on your links or Bookmarks bar, or set your search box to go to Google Images.

If you use Firefox, there’s an even easier option. You can set up  Firefox Quick Searches in your address bar. So if I want to search Google Images for chocolate cake, I type gi chocolate cake into the address bar and press enter, and the results come on my screen. I also have similar shortcut searches for YouTube, imdb, wikipedia etc. Have a look at this blog post if you’d like to try it.

Once you’ve got your picture, use the camera tool, copy and paste or drag it on to your flipchart page. And as always, checking copyright is a good idea.

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