Integrating Technology in the Second Language Classroom

Jean LeLoup & Bob Ponterio 
SUNY Cortland 
© 2017

Creating Clip Art

To more easily select an object without the background, select the background using the Magic Wand tool, then invert the selection.

Saving Clip-art as a transparent GIF or PNG

    1. When you are happy with your clip-art created in Adobe Photoshop Elements and want to save it as a transparent GIF:

      First you may select Image / Mode / RGB Color.

      Next you need to make the background a Layer by selecting Layer / New / Layer from Background.  The new layer will be named Layer 0.
    2. If your image is a background (this is the case for most flat images), you can also double click on the lock symbol for the layer to change it to Layer 0. You can also right-click on the layer and select "Layer from Background. n.b. If these options are not listed, you might need to Flatten Image first.

      Now tell the computer which part of your image should be transparent by selecting the portion you wish to make transparent and cutting it from your image. This should change the background to a checkerboard pattern. (n.b. The magic wand tool, the various lasso tools, the magnetic eraser tool can all help here.)

        Another example...

      Save as a GIF or PNG, but be sure to check Transparency if you see that option

      Save for Web is another Save option that limits formats to those available for the web, such as GIF and PNG. JPG cannot do transparency. You can select File / Save for Web, check the transparency box, and save. However, this is net required since Save as a GIF or PNG should also work.

      Save for Web dialog box

      Dialog box for GIF

      You could also select the part of an image that you want, copy, then create a new image from the clipboard. Either way will work.

    3. You can try it out in KompoZer or Dreamweaver just to make sure it is transparent.  After inserting the transparent GIF or PNG image, change the background color to something radically different, and your GIF will show up as transparent with the background color you selected showing through... if you followed the steps correctly.

    4. Practice this a few times until you are comfortable with the process.

Cartoons - modified for contextualized activities

Cartoons can be a great source of context for language. Here is an example of using an edited GIF image to use a well known catroon as the basis for generating new, original target language.

After the original text has been removed, the student can be creative. Of course, this can be done with a pencil and paper as well.

With some additional tricks, you might even be able to insert new text online.

<textarea name="comictext" cols="20" rows="3" style="font-family: Comic Sans MS; font-size:13pt" ></textarea>

Return to Syllabus