Fancy Up Your Apple Watch

Thanks to a sweet adoptive mama pal, I recently discovered the Rhonna Designs app. Great for all things graphic design, this app is super fun for those of you who enjoy editing photos and designing frames text. I don’t know who Rhonna is, but I really like her style!

While playing with the Rhonna Designs and RhonnaCollage apps - and by complete accident - I figured out how to make fun little Watch Faces for my Apple Watch! Here are a few I’ve doodled up so far: 

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Now, let me tell ya. I really love my Apple Watch. I’m about 2 years in and really value the way my Watch helps me manage my calendar, notifications, and messages in a way that is least intrusive to my present actions and conversations. I intend to maximize my productivity and time this year by tweaking how my Watch works for me.

But those built in Watch faces, y’all? They are just not my style. Not a single one. I’m not a military kind of person, or a butterfly kind of person, or a flower kind of person, or a half-blind-so-my-numbers-are-ginormous kind of person. 

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To create some Watch faces that reflect YOUR style,  just download the Rhonna Collage app (may be a part of a Rhonna Designs bundle, but you wouldn’t regret getting them all). You could probably do the same thing with another graphic design app, so just play around with what you have. 

Omce you’ve created your design, just save it to your photos and go there to open it. Then click the “Share” button in the bottom left corner. 

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From here, you can choose “Create a Watch Face.” *Note: Your Apple Watch must have the current OS update to complete this process. 

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Now you can choose Photo or Kaleidoscope Watch Face. Go with Photo to keep your design as you originally created it. 

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Here you can customize how you want your Watch Face to look. Add time, date, activity, calendar, etc. and choose placement for each. When you like it, select “Add.” 

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It should automatically update your Watch to reflect the new Face but if not, just go to your Apple Watch App on your phone and you can set it manually. 

Happy creating! 

Vine: Trash or Treasure?

Vine app Vine labs

Vine (owned by Twitter) is a hugely popular app in the teen and college-kid world. Users produce looping, six-second videos that range from strangely goofy to pensively artistic. 

I check out Vine periodically just to maintain an understanding of the service, and have found it...well, mostly annoying, to be honest. Even the funniest zingers are not remotely entertaining once they've auto-replayed a time or two, and many times users are solely striving to be recognized as funny or clever by their peers. 

And we all know that teenagers, God bless their little half-baked selves, they tend to have a very strange sense of humor. 

The thing about Vine, though, is that I do see hugely redemptive qualities within this app. Because of the ease in time-lapsing videos, kids could use Vine to record various parts of science experiments and their findings...a much more authentic use of the traditional science report that would command the type of communicative precision required in a global society. Kids could also Vine their reflections on a book they've read, or even use Vine to design or frame up a short story they're writing in an ELA class. They could use Vine to create tutorials for completing math problems (great for teachers implementing the flipped instruction strategy) or for demonstrating how to properly shade a 3-D picture in art class. My favorite aspect of this app is the raw creativity kids can show off when crafting a well-executed Vine. 

Vine app information

Because Vine's Terms of Service are pretty open, nudity and sexual content (just as with Instagram or any other microblogging platform) is accessible to anyone who knows where to find it. From what I gather, Vine has taken strides to prevent the inclusion of pornography in any collections (removal/banning of certain hashtags) but anyone considering classroom use for this has to go into it with the understanding that though it's entirely possible to avoid explicit material, it's also still there for anyone who goes looking for it. I wouldn't recommend it for elementary or middle schoolers at this point (not until a tighter community or circle of security can be drawn around student users), but can see it being really useful for some high school groups. Teacher savvy is key to effective integration of this app! 

More resources on Vine:
Vine: What Parents Need to Know 

Vine Terms of Service 

Common Sense Media App Review

Are your teens YikYakking?

Among the many apps out there that our kids are using is one called YikYak, which is an anonymous (and highly controversial) messaging app. Imagine...Twitter, only messages are streamed geographically, and with no usernames. Let that sink in. NO. USERNAMES. No form of identity. Participants can say...anything, really, with no consequence. 

I monitor it just to stay on top of these things, and some of the stuff I've read would curl your toes. In some places around the nation, school districts are seeing students and teachers being slandered, drug deals being arranged, and far worse.

The worst I have seen personally is just...crudeness. Remember that movie What Women Want? YikYak is basically like that...you are reading the minds of other people who are in close proximity. 

And that, my friends, is a scary place to be. 

It is important to note that YikYak, with all its flaws, does attempt to work with school districts to protect students and teachers. IT departments can contact YikYak and establish what is called a "geofence."  

yik yak