July 22nd, 2016

7 Tips for Taking Better Smartphone Pictures

 

take better smartphone pictures photolab app

Flickr photo: “iPhone Photography” by Olle Eriksson

The capabilities of most smartphone cameras have increased enormously over time. Using iPhone as an example, you can see dramatic improvements with each iteration. Celebrating these advances, Apple has even used snaps by users in the recent Shot on iPhone 6 ad campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 3.00.52 PMIt’s also becoming more common to professionally print smartphone pictures; they’re getting that good. Our own Photolab iOS app makes this process fast and easy — available soon for Android, too.

Of course, smartphone picture quality still lags behind results you’ll get from a high-end DSLR camera, or even from an advanced point-and-shoot model. With this in mind, we offer this collection of useful tips and tricks for taking better smartphone shots. (We hope by now everyone knows to press the screen to auto-focus!).

Here are seven ways you can improve your smartphone photography today.

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September 2nd, 2015

How to Greet–And Charm–The Teacher

Teacher and pupils working at desk together at the elementary school

Back to school means new classrooms, new school supplies—and a brand new teacher for the year. We spoke to a handful of British Columbia primary- and high-school teachers and asked them what would totally charm them for the new school year. Read ahead for the three things you need to make a great first impression on your instructor.

Detail from Michelangelo's famous painting

Help Children Craft the Story of Their Summer

It’s an oldie but a goodie, teachers say: asking students to share stories about their summer.

“It’s a great icebreaker for students if we can talk about our summers together on the first day of class,” says Mindy, who is welcoming back a class of Grade 2 students.

Not only is it a great icebreaker, she says, but the storytelling exercise can help students feel more at ease speaking in class. Many teachers plan to use a storytelling exercise in the first few days. So if your child has social anxiety in any way, or is perhaps just a wee bit shy, you can help by working with them to pick out a great story and practicing at home. A positive initial experience will help your child participate more fully in classroom discussions all year round.

High School Students With Teacher In Class Using Laptops

Organize the Not-So-Obvious School Supplies

Many students need more than just pencils and a backpack to navigate today’s classroom. Tuck a thumb drive into their pencil case to make getting homework assignments home a snap. If your teen is smartphone obsessed, ask them if they would like to experiment with an app like Remember The Milk or Wunderlist to help them track homework assignments, university applications and chores.

“Having any usernames and passwords easily accessible also makes the first day go smoothly,” says Lynette, a high school teacher. She recommends figuring out how to get them as soon as school starts, if not in a scheduled computer class, and keeping them tucked somewhere safe until the student has them memorized.

One key to a great first impression on your teacher? An open and positive attitude.

Show Up With Enthusiasm and a Positive Attitude

“Whatever happened last year is in the past. Every one of my students starts with a clean slate,” says David, a grade nine teacher. Every teacher we spoke to reiterated the importance of being enthusiastic about the upcoming year and avoiding defeatist attitudes.

“I hate it when kids come in on the first day and say, you know, I’m no good at math,” adds David. “Everyone has subjects that they find difficult. Positive thinking helps everyone make a good start. It’s okay not to know everything on the first day – that’s why they call it learning!”

Ultimately, going back to school is a matter of preparation that extends far beyond the bookbag. And your child’s teacher is an important partner in helping your child grow into a happy, healthy adult. Charm them and you’ve got a charmed year ahead. 



August 22nd, 2014

Canadian Students are Massively Mobile

Canadian Students in a Wired World

Canadian Students in a Wired World
( Click to view PDF )

More students now access the web through mobile devices than desktops, 59% own their own mobile phones.

Back to school means more data, more talking, and more texting, as a record number of students are taking their mobile devices with them into the classroom. Mobile devices among students have become commonplace in Canadian schools, with 59% of students owning their own mobile phone as of 2013, according to a MediaSmarts study.

While it’s not surprising that 90% of older high school students have their own device, it is becoming more customary for younger students to carry their own mobile devices as well; in fact, 1 in 4 students between the ages of 9 and 10 now have their own mobile device. Even in Grade 5, more students now access the Internet through a tablet or laptop than through a desktop computer.

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