Apple Distinguished Educator Applications Open
I have a beautiful new laptop but I have yet to transfer over my actual drawing programs (Omnigraffle, Photoshop, Illustrator). I had the need for a few icons for a website I’m working on and Keynote 6 is on this machine so I gave it a shot. I was very pleasantly surprised by the vector drawing tool. It’s different in a way that’s hard to articulate but I think people who are not familiar with vector drawing will really like it (and it probably won’t make the others too angry either). One minor trick worth knowing is that if you copy items, vector items in this case, in Keynote (and other programs) and flip over to Preview, you can create a new image with just that selection by choosing File>New From Clipboard. That saves you a few steps and in this case gives you a nice PNG file with alpha transparencies with no effort. The results look something like this. No muss, no fuss. The icons are on Flickr if there of any interest and if you choose the original size you’ll get the PNG files with transparency.
If you use a Mac it is now really easy to make your own custom widgets. Dashcode (beta- so no promises) is a neat little WYSIWYG that makes widget construction quick and easy. You can make all of the default widgets above or make your own from scratch. It’s free to download once you join the Apple Developer’s Connection (which is free but requires you to give some information). Not a bad deal. Educationally, it’d be a fun way to do a number of things. An easy intro to RSS for staff and/or students but with you in control Countdown timers for Spring Break, exams etc. An upcoming events widget for your school with sports, meetings etc. A staffdev feed of recommended articles and posts I realize these are all things you could do easily other ways (and in some cases with greater ease and flexibility).Â The thing is widgets will often succeed where you would fail utterly with a less “cool” or “fun” option. Our school has widget mania so I’m going to try to tap in. If you’d like a widget for BionicTeaching’s rss feed click here. Yeah, I know it’s probably useless for the majority of you but like I said- It’s all about the widgets baby.