In K-12 education finding tools to teach 21st Century Skills can be expensive. There is buying the software, keeping up with minor updates, and the pressure of staying up-to-date every year or so when a new version is released. Even if you are able to obtain a computer lab with a site license of your favorite image manipulation software, what happens when students return home from school each day and do not have access to these tools?
A startup company has created Aviary.com. Aviary is an online suite of tools for artist and photo imaging enthusiasts. The Aviary Suite contains tools for editing images, screen capture, creating and editing vector images, creating visual image effects, image markups, color swatch editor, music creator, and audio editor. All of the tools are accessed via an online account. A gallery is also provided for users to proudly post their art for others to see. For educators this may not be ideal as students may stumble across images that may be considered to provocative or controversial for the classroom. This one reason why Aviary has an education version of its site.
Aviary Education (www.aviaryeducation.com) provides educators a safe environment to allow their students to freely create, edit and peruse other students’ digital art work.
• Create private student accounts
• Manage assignments and projects
• Use the image editor, vector editor, audio editor & music creator
• All content and images are 100% school safe”.
Currently Aviary Education is a free beta program that a teacher would have to request access to for her class to enjoy the the benefits it has to offer.
Recently the creators of Aviary have teamed up with Google to provide access to the aviary tools via your Google Login. Gmail users who use Google Docs to collaborate with peers and colleagues can take advantage of the image and audio editing tools, sharing their creations via Google Docs. Now students can work together on visual projects or audio mixes.
Schools who have signed up for Google Apps access can choose to have Aviary added to their Google Docs. The University of South Florida is one university that has provided access for its students to these tools. Aviary can be accessed by signing into your USF Mail account and clicking on the More link at the top.
The Aviary Tool Set (from http://www.aviary.com):
Below is a list of free educational software that may benefit you in your classroom. It contains tools for audio, web conferencing, editing images, blogging, and other technology educational activities. This list was compiled by a staff member at the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida.
The inspiration for this list came from this site http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/.