In December, we wanted to frame our family STEAM program, Mission BOOMbox, around the idea of holiday card giving. We opted for a green screen challenge program that utilized the library’s classroom set of iPads and the purchase of one incredible green screen app in order to allow families to create their own unique greeting card images. Green screen technology has become easier to use with the evolution of apps for mobile devices. Such easily accessible green screen technology aligned perfectly with our goals for this program: ease of use and the ability for families to make many images that represent their personalities. Here’s what we did.

Screen grab of Green Screen by Do Ink app interface.

Since we had a classroom set of iPads on hand for the program, we made sure the program attendance cap allowed for one iPad per family. This limit kept our attendance lower than other Mission BOOMbox programs–our classroom set limited us to 15 groups of participants. In preparation for the program, we searched for easy to use and highly rated green screen apps to use with the iPads. This research resulted in our purchasing copies of Green Screen by Do Ink. The app includes an overview video that features a youth, which we felt would empower our program participants.

After families entered the program room, I started the program by asking what they knew about green screen technology. We then watched a short video about the uses of green screens before presenting the greeting card image challenge. I demonstrated how the app works and showed several examples. We talked about what “fair use” means in terms of using images for their cards, and then I demonstrated how to search for fair use images using Creative Commons.

Child poses for green screen image. Face covered for privacy.

Child poses for green screen image. Face covered for privacy.

Families then worked together for about 30 minutes finding images, taking turns using the portable green screen for photographs, and connecting to Apple TV to share their creations with the group once they’d created their images. Participants were able to email themselves their images by signing into email accounts on the iPads. (We made sure everyone signed out before the program ended.) And for those who did not feel comfortable using their own email addresses, I signed in with a library Google account. If your program participants have their personal Apple devices on hand in the program, you could also share their creations directly to their devices using AirDrop.
This green screen greeting card challenge is a quick program that uses available technology and inexpensive, or even free, apps. The program also combines information literacy and digital literacy and shares information about potential careers that use green screen technologies. In the end, families have the opportunity to learn and create something together. One thing to mention to patrons when they sign up: don’t wear green!