Pete Roythorne gets to grips with iLife

17th March 2006 at 00:00
Apple computers are becoming increasingly popular in education, and one thing fuelling this is Apple's software. Its iLife suite, which comes free with all new Apple Macs or can be bought separately for a paltry pound;50-60, can smooth the path of digital creativity into any classroom.

iLife is a highly integrated group of programs. Each element is a multimedia force in itself, but together they allow pupils to exploit the full potential of digital movies, photos and music in school projects and classroom presentations.

Whether you want to create digital video, transfer films to DVD, store and share photos, create music and movie soundtracks, record narrative, create podcasts (radio show-style audio tracks you can download from the internet) and weblogs (online diaries), organise or share all your digital music or create websites, iLife is a key tool.

What's in it?

iPhoto - Download, organise, edit and share your digital photos.

iPhoto also allows you to make professional-looking slideshows quickly, incorporating effects such as panning and zooming. It includes basic editing functions such as Red Eye and cropping. GarageBand - Perform, record and create your own music and other audio. Either choose from the 1,000+ supplied loops and samples covering a full range of instruments and styles, or plug in a guitar, keyboard or microphone and record direct.

The drag-and-drop interface makes this a very intuitive program that will have pupils creating music in minutes.

iTunes - Store and organise all the digital audio tracks on your computer. It allows you to sort your music and to create groups of tracks in playlists, which can help give your students easy access to selected tracks.

iMovie HD - Create movie projects that include digital video, photos and music, as well as narration and text. Why not get your students to create video science reports, their own short films or documentaries about current events.

iDVD - Once you've done all the above, iDVD enables you seamlessly to create DVDs to store and share digital projects, with menus and chapters, as you'd get in a commercial DVD.

iWeb - The latest addition to the suite allows you to create websites and weblogs that can include movies, podcasts, images and more from other iLife programs.

iLife is a powerful creativity tool, and this is only scratching the surface. From personal experience, its main selling points are its simplicity and usability. But don't take my word for it, check out the links below.


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