Our popukar Top 10 Tips column returns once again! This time we have photo and text manipulation app PhotoFunia in the spotlight. Steve shares some of his tips for applying some of the vast array of effects that the app offers within the classroom.
If PhotoFunia teaches us one thing as iPad Educators, it's that it can definitely pay off to look outside the education wing of the App Store. I first picked up on this app thanks to a great blog post about using it in literacy by perennial innovator Lee Parkinson and have recently deployed it in lessons of my own.
Harnessed creatively, it can have a wide array of applications in the classroom. Here are some top tips and tricks for getting the most out of this excellent, engaging app.
Explore! With over 400 effects built in, PhotoFunia is a veritable treasure trove of content and you'll find something me to spark your creativity each time you dig around in it. As well as the New and Popular sections, spend some time looking around in the Categories to see what you can uncover!
Virtual Galleries Use the Art Gallery template, which allows for multiple images to be inserted to create a neat digital presentation of students' artwork. This could either take the form of a selection of various students' work or a portfolio of one student. If you have a school blog or website, this could be an incredibly effective way to share students, work rather than just taking traditional photos of it. Other gallery templates are also available which focus on a single piece if that is more to your preference.
Read All About It PhotoFunia is an excellent classroom tool for creating writing stimuli. One area of English I've had particular success using the app is writing newspaper reports. The app has a couple of different newspaper templates which you can customise with a headline and image. I've had students create these and them use them to generate quotes using direct and indirect speech. Another approach would be to leave the headline off, add your selected image (be it your own or sourced online) and have them come up with suitable headlines to accompany the photo.
Creative Potential You can also generate some fantastic stimulus images for creative story writing. It's hard to identify just one of the app's templates to use for this as it really does depend on the genre etc. Some good choices include the movie style ones and those that put the student into a potentially unusual situation - a press conference or rock concert for example.
Board the Hogwarts Express Harry Potter projects can work like magic in the classroom. Add something unique to the project or classroom display using two brilliant concepts in Photofunia. There's the Hogwarts letter template which allows you to customise an invitation to the famous school for wizards and also a Wanted Wizard poster. Of course, either of these would also make great writing stimuli too.
Sell, Sell, Sell! At the school where I work there is a dedicated focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship in education. Students in various year groups engage in various projects to craft and market their own products for charitable causes. Often they will create digital adverts for these using a range of apps and software. As well as snapping images to use within the app, anything in your camera roll can be imported into PhotoFunia. This opens up a wealth of app combo possibilities. Add a cool, eye catching twist on those adverts by adding them to PhotoFunia via one of the varied billboard style templates to create a striking effect. This example features an ad for a cool Pom Pom product designed by three of my students.
Keep Calm and Use Photofunia Why bother with a paid app to make a Keep Calm style poster when you can do it for free in PhotoFunia? These may have dropped out of favour in social media circles over the last year or so but still make a worthwhile addition to a World War 2 project. Quick and easy to generate. The vintage photo effect is another worthwhile template for a period study too as it allows you to age images with minimal fuss.
Want to engage students in a unique way to develop their knowledge of spelling patterns? Why not try using one of the app's customisable text templates to generate some unorthodox forums for spelling practice? You could have them spell words in a soup bowl, carve them into a virtual tree or even add them to a tattoo. Definitely makes for some memorable learning and an engaging visual aid afterwards!
Photofunia Inception Don't just stick to one effect - it's easy to create multi-layer image manipulations using Photofunia. For example, add a word into the soup bowl effect and then export this to camera roll. You can then import it back into the app as an image on the art gallery wall or on the cover of a newspaper. Using this little trick can open up a vast range of possibilities for creating writing stimuli. Here's me in a coffee as a newspaper headline -
Use With Caution I think there's only one real negative aspect to using PhotoFunia in the classroom- some of the available photo manipulations could be a little inappropriate for younger kids to be using. There's nothing too full-on but there are some sexy ladies/Miss World type pics as well as some zombie stuff that can be accessed. As such my last tip is to moderate the app's use carefully to avoid any awkward situations!