Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

Click on "contact", won't you, and wave right back at me?

Creating Photo Mosaics

Creating Photo Mosaics

Here's a fun and useful tool I've discovered - Andrea Photo Mosaic. It is a small, free program that you can download from here (I recommend the Beta version), that takes a pool of images and builds a mosaic version of another image.


Thanks to Adrian Bruce who mentioned the tool at his excellent whole-day session at the ELH conference.


Now, it just so happens that the Year 9/10 Visual Arts class at my school were doing portraits, and who better for their teacher, Jann Ramage, to coopt as a subject than the vain, self-obsessed, narcissistic Steve Collis? I willingly agreed! They interviewed me at length, and then tried to capture the essential Collis. The result - 22 portraits of me!



So then I used Andrea Photo Mosaic to take those 22 portraits and put them together in a mosaic based on a photograph of me trying to do a 'brainstorm' face. You can see the result below.

The software is very easy to use. I recommend you download the "Beta" 
version from the web page because it works fine and has a better interface.

What has this to do with learning!? Well, here are some ideas, and if you have others you could add a comment with them:

  • You could decorate your room with a big, laminated mosaic made of photos of the students.

  • You could put something similar in the school newsletter, or use it for marketing purposes.

  • Visual Arts students could add it to their set of tools. What a great summary of the students' work a 'class mosaic' would make!? Perhaps you could sell some product, like a mug, or stationery, with that summary printed on it, for fundraising.

  • For any topic in any subject where images are relevant, students could make a mosaic out of the relevant images. E.g. Historical images could put assembled to create a key image that is relevant to the topic. I think this would be a great way of encouraging students to look at relevant images in more detail.

 Bells and Whistles:

  What is especially hip and groovy about the tool is that it will also create a webpage version of the mosaic in such a way that when you hover over any particular part of the mosaic, the image tile will automatically load, so that you peer into the fabric of the mosaic.This is what I've done in the mosaic above, although the image seems to load back at the top of the page, argh!

Note that the images are very sluggish to appear when you hover, because they are quite large and have to be downloaded as you move your cursor.

There was a slightly tricky bit to me making the mosaic interactive in this way - basically the web page that the program spits out contains references to the images on your computer, but to make this work on the Internet you have to re-reference the html code to point to the images on the Internet (not on your local computer).

...but that is absolutely irrelevant if you're not fussed about having the bells and whistles of an interactive mosaic, and just want a mosaic image.