Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Accidental iPad-Yearbook connection

Sometimes the best ideas are completely accidental and the most simple. I grew up in an era when disposable cameras became ubiquitous and many people would put them out at social events and let guests document the occasion. The host would collect the cameras at the end of the party, develop them and select the best ones for preservation and/or distribution. This year I decided to purchase 5 iPads for use in the library, not knowing exactly how they would be used, but holding out a vague hope that the students would use them to read stuff. I put on various apps that provide access to reading materials including: Pulse, Follett Reader, Zinio, National Geographic, Classic Books, and quite a few more. However, the Apps that got by far the most use were related to the camera. Over the course of the year, students took hundreds of pictures, mostly in the library. I thought of the old 80s idea of disposable cameras as documentation tools! The iPads were documenting daily school life and figured I could capitalize on this. I decided to lay out a plan to download and store all of the pictures from the iPads on my computer and send the best selections on to the yearbook. I use Windows computers and when I plug in the iPads I get an Autoplay window that allows me to download all pictures and videos in a single click. I change the settings to allow tagging of pictures and then erase the pictures from the iPad. The output allows me to sort the pictures in batches. It takes very little time and I think I'm providing a valuable service by organizing these pictures. The yearbook sponsor was very grateful;and why should't she be. This simple project eliminated much of the need to send yearbook photographers around taking pictures and the pictures are real, spontaneous depictions of student life.