Instant Alpha

This afternoon I wanted to introduce one of the less obvious features in Pages to my class.

In my blog yesterday I shared the instruction sheet I had made.

My plan was to share the instruction sheet and demonstrate the skills on the whiteboard.

I then wanted some of the children to use MacBooks and use my instructions to create their own images whilst others used the same feature in the app.

The app works slightly differently, so my plan was that this would lead into an instructional writing task.

The lesson started well. They were really interested in the idea of isolating something in a picture and we talked about when this might be a useful feature.
I asked them if they could take a picture of themselves and then remove the background before adding a background or second person.

It linked well with the green screen work we are planning to do.

I’d planned and practised, but for some reason when my Macbook was being mirrored onto the IWB it wouldn’t let me access the photographs so I couldn’t actually demonstrate.

Luckily there’s always Plan B.

Some of the children took my instruction sheet and used it independently to test the quality of my instructions.
Imagine my relief when they worked.

The others explored the Pages app.

I mirrored my iPad and quickly showed them how to import a picture and where to find the Instant Alpha feature and then left them to work independently.

They soon realised that if you didn’t have a uniform background to the image you couldn’t use the alpha tool effectively.

Before long children were lying on sheets and posing in front of blank walls.

They produced some great images.

Some of them were swimming with sharks, others playing rugby with Welsh players.

The lovely thing about the lesson was the shared learning. Because I hadn’t produced a help sheet for the iPads they spent a lot of time discussing and demonstrating to one another.

They worked out that in order to build the image up you either had to be very organised and edit the photos in the right order or you could do them in any order and use cut and paste to layer them.

Next week we’ll take screenshot and write instructions for the iPads.

If you haven’t used this feature give it a go – it’s lovely for adding images to worksheets or webpages.

You can find it by importing an image and then clicking on the paintbrush.



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