Scanning Pictures for use in Electronic Classroom lessons

1. Introduction.

The purpose of this document is to outline the steps that need to be taken to successfully incorporate scanned images into Electronic Classroom lessons. It is assumed that you are using an Apple scanner with the Ofoto software as this is the most common configuration for Electronic Classroom users. If this is not the case you may need to consult your software manual to find equivalent software options to those outlined below for the Apple scanner and Ofoto combination.

Please observe the current copyright law as it applies to your school situation in choosing which documents to scan. The acts of scanning and/or downloading using Electronic Classroom constitute 'copying' under the law as I understand it.

2. Decide the way in which the scan is to be used in the lesson.

If your scan is to be downloaded 'as is' (ie without any drawing or text being added) then you can just use the Ofoto software to scan the image and save a compressed PICT file. This file can be opened from within Electronic Classroom at any time during the lesson and downloaded directly. If this is the case, only follow step 3, below.

If, however, you wish to add text or graphic annotation to the scanned image before downloading it, then you will have to prepare a screen with Electronic Classroom, add the scan, then any necessary text and/or graphics and then save the combined lesson file prior to downloading it. If this is the case, only follow step 4, below.

3. Scanning 'stand alone' images for use in Electronic Classroom.

This is the simplest situation where all the saving and compression can be performed using the Ofoto software that comes with the Apple OneScanner. When it comes to delivering the lesson, the scanned file saved with OFoto can be opened directly by Electronic Classroom. No 'Lesson Notes' files need to be produced at all. It is entirely possible to open a mixture of Electronic Classroom and OFoto files in the one lesson.

The important settings that must be made before scanning are:

a) Set the calibration to 'Raw Monitor' or 'Screen', rather than a type of printer. (Screens contain only 75 dots per inch, printers 300 or more, making the scan 4 times larger than necessary)

b) Do not scan for more than 256 colours as this can make the scan 2 or 4 times bigger.

Now perform the scan. Remember to only scan the portion of your original that will fit your Macintosh screen as Electronic Classroom does not scroll graphics. Any part of the original outside the dimensions of your screen will simply be wasted. It will be make the scan larger and increase download times, but will never be seen in the lesson. For example, there is no point in scanning a complete A4 page as only approximately one third of it can be seen at any one time. the page will either need to be reduced in size, or split up to see it all in the lesson.

When you are happy, save the scanned image as follows:

c) Select a File format of 'PICT' from the drop down menu in the 'Save As...' dialog. This ensures the scanned file can be opened directly by Electronic Classroom. (Use 'Open Picture' or just 'Open' in version 2.5.9 or later)

d) Click the 'Compression...' button and select the Apple Photo - JPEG compressor from the drop down menu. Slide the Quality: bar all the way to the left to the 'Least' (1) setting.

Now click 'Save' after naming your scan. The saved file will be the smallest possible rendition of your original that will have the worst (but still acceptable) quality but the smallest possible download time. Most images should compress to well under 20K (typically 7 - 15K) in size using these settings. (Check the file size in the Finder using a non-icon view (View menu) or choosing 'Get info...' from the File menu). If your file is larger then, you have not correctly set OFoto as per steps 3 a), b), c) and d) outlined above. Correct any settings and perform the scan and save again.

Note that some settings you make in Ofoto may need resetting each time you save, or each time you reopen Ofoto. Check all settings carefully before each scan.

Each scan is saved in a separate file. Each of these files can be opened in Electronic Classroom at any point in a lesson and downloaded to students. (Use 'Open Picture' or just 'Open' in version 2.5.9 or later).

4. Scanning and modifying images for use in Electronic Classroom.

If you wish to add to, annotate or modify the images prior to the lesson, you will need to adopt a somewhat different procedure. Rather than compressing the images in OFoto, you must incorporate the best quality scan into an Electronic Classroom screen, then add text and/or graphics and finally save a compressed composite. In this way, the compression is applied after all modifications have been incorporated, thus ensuring the least affected compressed image. If compression is applied before incorporation into Electronic Classroom, the resulting image quality will be severely degraded.

Startup OFoto and prepare to scan the image. It is important that the following settings are in force to ensure that no more information is scanned than will be usable in the lesson.

a) Set the calibration to 'Raw Monitor' or 'Screen', rather than a type of printer. (Screens contain only 75 dots per inch, printers 300 or more, making the scan 4 times larger than necessary)

b) Do not scan for more than 256 colours as this can make the scan 2 or 4 times bigger.

Now perform the scan. Remember to only scan the portion of your original that will fit your Macintosh screen as Electronic Classroom does not scroll graphics. Any part of the original outside the dimensions of your screen will simply be wasted. It will be make the scan larger and increase download times, but will never be seen in the lesson. For example, there is no point in scanning a complete A4 page as only approximately one third of it can be seen at any one time. the page will either need to be reduced in size, or split up to see it all in the lesson.

If Electronic Classroom is already running, you may be able to copy and paste the scanned image directly into a new Electronic Classroom screen. If you do not have enough RAM to run both OFoto and Electronic Classroom simultaneously, you will need to save each scan as an uncompressed 'PICT' file prior to quitting from OFoto. (Click the 'Compression...' button just to ensure that the 'Compressor:' drop down menu is indicating 'No compression').

Now start up Electronic Classroom. Select 'Prepare for Lesson' and then use Open (or Open Picture) to bring your scan onto the screen. Add text boxes and any graphic annotations you require. Create a new screen and Open then annotate another scan if necessary.

When all scans are in place and suitably annotated, Save the entire set of screens into a Lesson Notes file as detailed below:

If the screens should never need further changes, you may choose to compress them when saving them, to save time compressing during the lesson (and to save space on disk). However, once compressed, further modifications will be to less than perfect copies of the screens. Select 'Save' from the File menu. When you are asked if you want to compress the screens prior to saving, click 'Compress' before clicking 'Proceed'. The 'Scanned image' option is the best compromise, although this may lead to any graphics added in Electronic Classroom looking like they have a slight case of electronic dandruff. This is an unavoidable side effect of the JPEG compression algorithm which is designed for pure photographs rather than composite of photographs and painted images.

If the screens will definitely need further modification do not compress when saving. Then when the Lesson Notes file is reopened at a later stage, the scan quality will not have been reduced in any way. The saved file will be considerably larger than if compression had been applied. Just select 'Save' from the File menu and immediately click 'Proceed' when the request to compress comes up. Do not click 'Compress' thus ensuring compression is not applied. When opening this file during a lesson, the compression request will be made again. At this stage click 'Compress' then 'Proceed' to ensure the fastest possible download.