One of the biggest reasons why I love my iPhone is that it can be used for so many different things if you are willing to push its limits. Since becoming a teacher, in the last few years I have started to experiment with using iPod Touches, iPhones and other mobile devices in the classroom. I love to show kids how they can use their smartphones for more than just texting their friends and actually learning something.
One of the main things that we use the devices for is to not only consume content, but to make content that they can share with me and other classmates. There are a variety of apps out there that can do this, but I had my students try out Backspaces for a bit, and they seemed to really take to it. The more that I started to use and play with it, the more I saw why they liked it.
Think of Backspaces as a blank canvas of sorts, and you choose what you want to put on it. You can add photos that you have taken, or you use the camera feature within the app. It has a variety of different filters that can be applied to the picture that you are taking and each one can have a piece of text underneath it to explain it.
You also have the option of just adding plain old text to your space, and you can write up to a thousand characters in the text fields. Unfortunately, there are no editing features such as different fonts, sizes, etc. Hopefully, in a future update they will give you the ability to do some of these options, maybe as paid features.
Publishing and Interacting With Other Content
After you are done creating what you want on your Backspace page, you can then publish it privately or publicly for the world to see. Your posts can be sent to Facebook, Twitter and by email for your friends to join in. If they have the Backspaces app on their iPhone, they can also comment and “like” your page.
Outside of these social features, Backspaces almost feels like Tumblr in that you can follow other people and see what they are creating. You can find people to follow based off of your Facebook friends, Twitter followers or your iPhone contacts. But you don’t have to only follow people you know, Backspaces has a few ways that you can browse what other people are making where you can check out their pages and follow them.
A Myriad of Uses
What really got me excited about using Backspaces in my classroom is that my students instantly found a variety of ways that they could use this in their everyday life both in and out of school. We spent a whole week in class finding ways we could integrate Backspaces into our class and students would share how they used it at home. For example, in class students could write their daily journals and then email them to me or I could follow them and I could comment from within Backspaces. Some students decided to do a writing assignment in it and then have me comment on it to give them feedback. I even had one student make a poster of something that he wanted to sell, which I thought was kind of cool.
To me, this is the huge selling point of Backspaces and its potential for the iPhone. They make it so easy for you to create something with text and pictures and they cut out all of the other unnecessary features, which could be a good thing. If you are willing to be creative (and it doesn’t take much if I can get 12 year olds to come up with some cool ways to use this), Backspaces can come in very handy.
What I appreciate about apps like this is that I can go right in and start using it right away with no problems, and even though I would like to see more features, I hope they can do this without losing much of the simplicity of the app itself. As Backspaces continues to take shape, I would love to see a couple of features, mainly text editing options and the ability to add videos because they would greatly enhance the ability to be more creative. It would also be cool to see Backspaces on the iPad and the web, as you can again expand on creating content by going to these two mediums.
Backspaces is free on the App Store and I would highly suggest you go and download it and start creating some cool things. There is so much that you can use it for: photo album, journal, blogging tool, etc. Since it is mainly on the iPhone, it is quick and easy to use and there are no complicated directions to get started. Test it out and see what kind of creative things you can make with it, and hopefully I can see them and take a look at all the awesome things you guys come up with.
Create various type of web pages with text and pictures using Backspaces.8
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