Monday, July 02, 2007
Photoshopping for Focus
(Gemara Skill Synchronization)
I am working on developing the backgrounds and templates for implementing the Gemaras skill synchronization platform.
Looking at a page of 1500 year old text is not particularly exciting to your average student. A typical page of Gemara can have between 8 and 10 different content zones each serving a different purpose. Teaching the student how to navigate through the different content zones on the page is part of the introductory lessons of any beginner’s Talmud curriculum. True familiarity with the page only develops with practice. The Catch 22 in this situation is that in order to guide the beginner it is essential that both the teacher and student not only be on the same page but also be on the same part of the page which involves knowledge of the page structure.
Photoshop to the rescue
Taking a Hi Rez (600 dpi) scan of a page of Gemara, I set the page as the background layer. I then selected the section of text we would use in the first unit and saved the selected text as a separate layer. I then went back to the background layer and created an adjustment layer raising the brightness and lowering the contrast. The results are here. (Left image) I am considering enlarging the selected text slightly to have it “pop” off the page a bit more while maintaining the integrity of the standard page layout like this. (Right Image)
I would appreciate feedback from the AviChai community as to whether there is a more efficient way to do this in Photoshop, as well as feedback regarding which of the 2 versions is best pedagogically and aesthetically.
Note: I am well aware that the Smartboard software has tools which make much of this unnecessary, but this part of the experiment is focused on what we need to do if e are using a Tablet PC. (Hopefully more on the Smartboard side in the next posting)