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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apple news
Title: Apple News
Cost: Free with iOS update
Platform: iOS 9

Think RSS is dead? Maybe it’s really just hiding. Like Flipboard, the Apple News app delivered as part of the iOS 9 update earlier this month focuses on the very thing missing from earlier feedreaders: the aesthetic.

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As part of the roll-out, Apple is offering development tools in the form of Apple News Format to inspire digital journalists to embed videos, animations, and photo galleries specifically for this application. And the channels of well-designed sites are especially attractive within this interface.

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As with RSS readers, when you first launch Apple News, you can select from among legacy and online media outlets to add to your feed. You can follow particular sites (they become your “favorites”) or browse by subject (“explore”), and search for breaking stories by keyword. The “channels” appear to be vetted through the application rather than simply allowing someone to pull in any site with a feed (like this blog).
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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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Giphy Cam LogoTitle: Giphy Cam
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free

GIFs are a fun part of online communication. Whether shared through a text message or on your Tumblr, GIFs can help to share your emotional state or just make the reader laugh. But, most GIF fans just find their GIFs online, they don’t create them. Giphy Cam is an app that can change all of that. From the team at Giphy, a platform for finding and sharing GIFs, this iOS app uses your device’s camera to let you create your own GIFs. Read More →

crop
Title: Crop
Cost: Free, with $ 1 in-app purchase to remove ads and maintain aspect ratio
Platform: iOS

Sometimes an app is so simple, but works so well, it’s hard to imagine how you would get along without it. For me, one of those is Crop by Green Mango Systems.

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Whether it’s focusing on the content of a screen-captured Instagram post or creating a quick thumbnail for an avatar, there are many occasions when you’ll want to remove the bulk of an image or rotate it on the fly. You simply select the image, use the eight points of the image canvas to determine the size you want, and you can keep finessing things until you hit “Save.” And unlike the crop option within the iOS photo roll, Crop saves your creation as a new file, so you don’t loose the original.
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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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Screenshot 2015-08-04 at 6.58.57 PM
Title: Cardboard
Platform: Android and iOS
Cost: Free

It’s more than a high-tech Viewmaster. Google Cardboard that takes advantage of the gyroscope in your phone to replicate 365 degree, stereoscopic viewing. Cardboard itself is an app which helps you get started, calibrate your device, and learn to manipulate the navigation and controls. A whole stable of apps and games build upon the Cardboard concept, but the populist VR trend is so new that the content is very uneven. Even in Google’s demo, the international capitals captured through Street View pale next to the underwater landscape of the Great Barrier Reef.

Screenshot_2015-08-04-11-57-58

Google Cardboard is truly low-barrier. It works as well with Android as with iOS, so more students can use it, manufactured Cardboard cases are inexpensive and you can download a kit to create your own headset.
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Title: Specimen: A Game About Color
Cost:  Free
Platform:  iOS

If, like me, you’ve always loved the paint chip aisle at your big box hardware store of choice — the orderly color squares andSpecimen rectangles, the fun color names, the act of comparing a Bubblegum Pink and a Primrose Blush until you can see their subtle differences plainly — you, too, might think you’d be a whiz at a game that’s only objective is the matching of colors. If so, I wish you better luck than I’ve had.

Specimen: A Game About Color is a color-matching game that puts your eye for color to the test. Instead of gazing at rows of orderly paint chip samples, players are called to match jellybean-like blobs of color floating in an inner circle to the color that fills the screen outside the circle, all while a timer ticks away the seconds.

https://vimeo.com/ericagorochow/playspecimen

The game gets tough pretty quickly, though you can earn extra lives by showing exceptional skill, and the addition of special blobs in the higher levels allow you to do things like detonate two color blobs at once (or so I hear.) Lives and special blobs can also be purchased through the app to further gameplay.

At first glance, a color-matching game might not seem to lend itself to library programming, but for those libraries with Apple devices, Specimen could be an unexpected addition to an art-based STEAM program. And much more fun than staring at paint samples.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know.  And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog’s App of the Week Archive.