Pic Collage (Free, but beware in-app microtransactions for “Sticker Packs”) is one of those apps that most students have already heard of, already use, and already love. However, many teachers either don't know about it or don't realize how it can be used in the classroom.
Let's take a look.
Pic Collage is a simple app that lets you easily organize photos into collages. Students start by picking a layout and then choosing as many photos as they want. In the above photo, all the layouts involved small numbers of photos, but don't be fooled. Your layout options change based on how many photos you add to the collage:
Once you add the photos and choose a layout, it becomes incredibly easy to manipulate your collage. You can delete photos by dragging them to the trashcan, add replacement photos by clicking on the now-empty spot, change the background, change the layout, add text or stickers, or even change the thickness of the lines between the pics:
It is also really easy to move a photo around within its frame to ensure the focus is on the best part of the picture.
Once you are done with your collage, you can choose to save it or share it:
All the major social networks are available, including PicCollage's own. You can even have it automatically turned into a postcard and shipped anywhere in the world (for a fee), which is great for sending something to grandma, but probably not useful in a classroom.
Given that we are talking about school iPads here, you will probably want to go into your settings and turn off the social sharing features when installing this on student/cart iPads:
Anyway, so that is how it works. But how can you use it? Here are some ideas:
- Design pages for the school yearbook.
- On a smaller scale, have students create a yearbook for just their class. This could be a class-wide project. Split into groups and every group has to make pages for different class events from throughout the year, then assemble it into a single book. Be sure to take lots of photos throughout the year and then ensure all students have access via a shared Dropbox folder!
- Create pages for books in Book Creator. I have my students write a children's picture book for their first grade reading buddies. I encourage them to create their picture pages in Pic Collage, save it to their library, then insert it onto a page in Book Creator to improve the creativity and organization of their picture book.
- For younger students, you can have them find pictures of items that start with a specific letter. They can use the iPad camera in the classroom to take photos or they can use Google image search (assuming your school has a robust filtering system in place). You can also make collages themed around shapes, colors, favorite things, words that rhyme, people, and pretty much anything you can think of.
- If reading a book, students could assemble a collage of characters or items important to the plot, then label them andresent it to the class.
- Create collages and insert them into Keynote slides to ensure presentations are visually attractive and organized.
- I'm not an art teacher, but I am sure there are a million ideas for art classes. Feel free so leave suggestions in the comments.
- Student clubs can use it to make flyers advetising their club or a club event (like dances).
- You can always use it to make educational mini-posters for your classroom walls or hallways.
Remember that any picture you take and save can be submitted to the teacher via Showbie.
Overall, this is a pretty straightforward app with a wide range of uses for creative teachers and students. It is one of those apps that I don't mind allowing students to just “play around” with in their spare time, as it really helps foster their creativity.