Lesson Plan: How to make a Photo Essay on the iPad

A couple of days ago I was having a conversation with Ms. English Teacher, who was asking about the possibility of using the iPads for her photo essay unit for her Grade 9 class.

Now, it just so happens that this March Break, my kids and I went around our neighbourhood taking photos for our own photo essays. One daughter used her iPod touch, the other used a digital camera and her phone, and I used my iPad.

Which meant that I had the perfect batch of photos sitting in my camera roll ready to be put in an essay!

Of course, the problem is finding just the right app for such a project.

I wanted to find something that resembled this:

Katrina Photo essay App

The criteria:

1. That you should be able to import from the camera roll.

2. That there isn’t any maximum number of photos you can plug into your essay.

3. You should be able to add photo descriptions to the images that will be visible in slideshow mode.

4. That you can either import it into iMovie, or directly to youtube. Or alternatively, make it into an epub that you could then email your teacher.

5. Editing capabilities,and sound options would be an asset, though not totally necessary for this project (you can edit your photos in the camera roll and there is no sound component to this project.)


So. After way too long looking for the perfect tool, then enlisting the help of Miss tech Guru, we (okay. she.) found ReelDirector. As its name suggests, it is used for editing videos, but works nicely for our purposes.

Price: $1.99

ReelDirector imports your photos from your Photo Library and then allows you to add text directly to the photo:

Although you don’t have many options in terms of style, you do have a few:

You can add as many photos if you want, though you can’t edit them in ReelDirector. Once you are done you can upload it to youtube, save to camera roll or email it, though it might be too large a file for that). But you also have the option to compress your file if you want,

so that might help.

Miss English Teacher also wanted her students to be able to add effects to their photos. Though you can’t do that in Reeldirector, you can use Pixlromatic which has a wide array of special effects, from turning your photo black and white to a sort of retro 70s polaroid, to overlaying themes and choosing funky borders:

However, I didn’t want to use any special effects for my photo essay so the above is just an example.

Here is the final product. I only described a few photos due to the fact that this took way longer than I would have liked (mostly finding the app- not the actual plugging in the photos), but I wanted to give you an idea of how it looks.

There you go! Easy as pie once you find the right tool.

6 thoughts on “Lesson Plan: How to make a Photo Essay on the iPad

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