Title: Superimpose
Cost: .99
Platform: iOS or Android

superimpose logoThere are a lot of photo editing apps available. But, sometimes I find that they are confusing to use because they offer a wide assortment of tools for accomplishing a variety of tasks. With Superimpose that’s not the case. This app gives users the chance to do one thing – superimpose one image on to another. And, it makes it pretty easy to do that without adding lots of extra bells and whistles.

The basic way that it works is that a user selects a background image. Then selects a foreground image. And then marries the two by creating a mask for the foreground image and using filters to blend things together as much as desired.

The 10 minute screencast below shows you the basics of how Superimpose works. You can then read on to learn about even more features and possibilities.

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Title: Paper
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free with in-app purchases available

paper app logoIt’s been at least a couple of years since FiftyThree’s Paper app originally launched. The latest update brings the app to the iPhone and adds some new features, functionality, and updates. As a result the app is now, even more than it was before, a tool that teens and library staff will want to consider for their arsenal of creative thinking, note-taking, and designing tools.

Watch the 14.5 minute screencast below to see a brief overview of how the app works and read the rest of this post after that screencast to find out a bit more.

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Title: ReBoard
Platform: iOS
Cost: $1.99 plus in app purchases

reboard logo Over the past few months I’ve tried out a lot of keyboards for my iOS devices. There are keyboards that allow me to type by using the touch screen instead of the keyboard and keyboards that allow me to add videos and gifs to documents quickly. There is even a dog image keyboard. Most recently I tried ReBoard and it’s the one I think I will probably stick with.

Watch the 13.5 minute screencast below to learn how ReBoard works and you can read more about it  below the video.

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Title: Padlet
Platform: iOS (Android coming soon)
Cost: Free with paid versions with extra features for schools, businesses, and personal use

padlet logoPadlet is a web-based tool that’s been available for a few years. Recently an iPad app launched which makes it easy for libraries working with and for teens to use the tool in a variety of ways.

As with the web-based tool, the Padlet app is a good way to create walls of content. The content might be a curated list of resources – including audio, video, websites, Google Docs, images, and more – that a teen is going to use in a presentation. It, might be a wall where teens brainstorm together and collaborate on ideas for a new project. Or, it could be a place where library staff working with and for teens collect resources of interest to help them provide high-quality service to the age group.
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Title: Status Board
Platform: iOS 8.4 or later
Cost: Free with in-app purchases available

status board logoStatus Board is an app that’s been around for a few years but I just learned about it recently. I think it has some interesting possible uses for teens putting together infographic like presentations and for library staff and educators who work with adolescents.

The idea behind Status Board is to create Boards that aggregate information with a particular focus. It’s possible to create Boards that show personal information such as email, weather, calendar, RSS feeds, etc. However, that’s not really so unique as it’s possible to create similar kinds of screens of aggregated information with other tools.

What does make Status Board potentially useful for those working for and with teens, is the ability to create Boards that show data on a particular topic. The data can be integrated with text and web-based content to provide opportunities to display from where information was gathered, as well as the data/information itself. The images below show the two-types of boards that I created as examples.
status board with life info - email, calendar, feeds, weather.
college and career readiness status board example

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Fyuse LogoTitle: Fyuse
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

There are so many different photo and video apps available for mobile devices that it can to tough to keep up with them, but Fyuse is one that caught my interest pretty quickly. Fyuse is one of the recent apps to take advantage of the built-in cameras on iOS and Android devices to allow users to create media that is a cross between a 3D image and a video. The end result is a unique sort of image that is fun to create and a great way to record an event or location.

Once you have downloaded the app, you have the option to create an account or login via Facebook or Twitter. After you are logged into the app, you can check out content created by other users, either through the homepage, which offers featured images, or by searching through images created with the app using hashtags or usernames. Both of these are nice resources for seeing what you can do with the app and offer inspiration for new users. You can also connect with users through the app or by finding friends from your Facebook or Twitter accounts.

All of these features are just the background for the true purpose of the app, which is capturing the details of the world around you. Creating an image requires you to press and hold the recording button to reveal four arrows, up, down, left, and right. You must carefully select which direction you will move your device because you can only move in a single direction while creating an image. While still holding the button, you then move slowly around the object or view that you want to record. This step requires a bit of a delicate and steady hand to ensure that you get a smooth image, but it isn’t much more difficult than recording a clear video with your device. When you are done, you simply release the button and tap the image in the lower right hand corner of your screen to preview your Fyuse image.

This is a fun new option for creating dynamic images and I think it is one that will be enjoyable for all ages. It is definitely worth checking out. You can see it in action in the video below.

Title:  Kong
Cost:  Free
Platform:  iOS and Android

Kong iconWhen stories about Kong, a social media app devoted to selfie GIFs, started popping up in my news feed, I had some questions. Mostly of the “why?” and “really?” variety. I couldn’t see how a network of moving selfies could possibly be interesting or worthwhile. But I’m here to tell you I was wrong. This thing is super fun.

Set up an account and you’re introduced to the app through your home page, which starts as a grid of brightly colored boxes that are empty except for the top left square — a live feed from your front-facing camera (the only camera Kong allows you to use at this time.) The other boxes will eventually fill up with the feeds of friends you add through your phone’s contact lists or by following other users.

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Title: Pursuit of Light
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS 7 or later

pursuit of light logoPursuit of Light is a game in which players have to move through a set of challenges in order to help the main character reach the light. The challenges get harder as the game play progresses and as higher levels are reached more trouble-shooting and critical thinking skills are required. The video below provides a brief overview of how the game works.

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Green Screen logoName: Green Screen by Do Ink
Platform: iOS, compatible with iPad
Cost: $2.99

While digital media labs complete with green screens, cameras, computers and software may be out of reach for many libraries, creating composite photos and videos with your teens doesn’t have to be. I set out a few weeks ago to find a free or low-cost green screen option and have been fortunate. After testing several chroma key apps, Green Screen by Do Ink is the one I keep coming back to for flexibility and user friendliness. I had begun by looking for free apps, and quickly discovered that I could either pay up front for green screen capabilities, or download free apps that include “in-app purchases.” In-app purchases meant paying to unlock the chroma key tool or to get rid of an obtrusive watermark that rendered the free version essentially useless. I also discovered in one case that the developers’ definition of green screen did not match my own (it was basically a $4.99 masking tool, something that comes included in many photo editing apps). With no advertisements or watermarks, Green Screen’s $2.99 cost is worthwhile.
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Storycorps LogoName: StoryCorps.me
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free

Several years ago, YALSA Blog covered the original StoryCorps app, but recently StoryCorps released a new app that offers some great new features. The app allows you to create an account, but you can also proceed without an account if you would prefer. Once you make that decision, you can get started with your first oral history right away.

When you get started with your first interview, you can opt to either start recording right away or prepare your interview questions in advance. If you pick the option to prepare your interview first, you are offered several tips on best practices for conducting this time of interview. These are very approachable for those who are new to interviewing and cover the basic protocols that should be followed in a way that lets novices feel like experts very quickly. You are then prompted with the three preparatory steps for the interview: customizing a question list, selecting who you will interview, and setting the length of your interview. Read More →