Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Thing 6: Reflective Practice

Thing 6: Reflective Practice

Thing 3 – Image Banks
For Thing 3 I downloaded an image from an image bank site and uploaded it to my blog. I had prior experience with only one of the sites, Google Images, so I began there with a search for ‘labelled for reuse’ images. I then explored Pixabay and Flickr, creating an account in the latter. Once logged in, I searched for my two favourite things, ‘libraries’ and ‘dogs’ and got 96,536 results. When I modified the search by selecting the ‘all creative commons’ option this whittled down the results to 5,231. I selected an image of a therapy dog who listens to children reading in a library from the Pioneer Library System gallery. I then clicked on ‘download this image’ and chose small as an image size. Finally, I saved the image to the desktop and uploaded it to my blog.
My experience of using Flickr was very positive. Once I had registered and logged in I found the website very easy to navigate. One of my favourite features was being able to modify image searches by colour. 
I feel I learned a lot from Thing 3. I occasionally use background images to create library posts for social media but to sidestep the minefield of copyright I have limited myself to the use of free images on one poster promotional website. I was aware of the image site Flickr and had a passing acquaintance with the term ‘creative commons’ but with Thing 3 I was given the opportunity to inform myself about varieties of licence type and image banks. Flickr and Pixabay are applications I now use in my day-to-day work.  

Thing 4: Communicating Visually
I decided to create an image for the library so I downloaded the app PhotoFunia to my phone and by following the simple steps provided had within a matter of minutes created and downloaded an image to my phone. One I had saved the image to my computer I then uploaded it to the blog. I could not believe how easy a process it was. I am often struck by the clever and witty images used by libraries on social media and have always wondered about their creation. I had never heard of any of these apps so I was delighted to discover that really sharp images could be created so easily. I will definitely get use out of PhotoFunia. My days of tinkering with MS Paint are done.

Thing 5: Video Presentations
For Thing 5 I used Screencast-O-Matic to record a few minutes of a screen cast explaining how to complete a simple function on a website. Once I had watched the short introductory tutorial a number of times, I downloaded Screencast-O-Matic’s record settings. I decided to create a short screencast on online renewals at the library. Obviously I had to do a number of takes and what I found frustrating was that the record settings I had downloaded onto my laptop kept disappearing from the task bar. This meant that I was not always able to stop a recording when I wished.

Once I had completed the recording, what I did not like was not being able to edit the screen cast, i.e. simply shorten it, unless I opted for the pro version. I then had difficulties playing the video I had saved to the laptop. After fiddling around for a while, I finally succeeded in doing so. My last frustration was not being able to upload the video to Youtube (I do have an account). I tried a number of times but the program would just not open. Eventually I had to go with uploading the screen cast to Screencast-O-Matic. The process of embedding the video in my blog was very easy. Once I clicked on the link / embed button I played around with sizes until I found the most appropriate one for my page.

Despite my misgivings about how finicky the whole process was, I reckon Screencast-O-Matic to be a very valuable instructional tool for libraries. Without doubt, use of the program would improve with more practice. However, I do believe that to create really good screen casts you would have to purchase the pro version.

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