Sunday, February 21, 2010

Could Aviary Challenge Photoshop in K-12 Settings?

For the last couple of years Aviary has been steadily rolling out a slew of web-based image editing tools. With only a handful of exceptions these tools have been completely free to use. Ten days ago Aviary announced a change to that policy and is now giving free, unlimited, access to all of their editing tools. These tools include a vector editor, color editor, image editor, effects editor, image markup tools, screen capture tools, and sound recording and mixing tools. Embedded below is a fast-paced overview of Aviary's image editor.

Applications for Education
Aviary probably won't replace Photoshop in commercial settings anytime soon, but for schools Aviary could be a great way to introduce students to the principles of image editing, markup, and vector editing. Aviary's sound recording and mixing tool that they offer is an excellent free alternative to Garage Band that I've used in my classroom.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Aviary Offers a New Option for Screen Captures
A Very Simple Way to Make Screen Captures
Myna - Free Online Audio Mixer

National Geographic - Return of the Wolves

The cover story of this month's National Geographic magazine is about the return of wolves to the Western United States. The article, appropriate for high school readers, outlines the eradication and reintroduction of wolves to the American west. On the National Geographic website they're offering an interactive map depicting the current dispersal of wolves in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The map shows the growth of the wolf population since their reintroduction in the 1990's.

The reintroduction of wolves to the Western United States is a good topic of discussion for science classes as well as social studies classes. In my US History classes I've shown Peter Jennings Reporting: In Search of Americaa few times as an example of states' rights versus federal jurisdiction. In the video Jennings interviews Idaho ranchers who opposed the reintroduction of wolves and he interviews wildlife experts who advocated for the reintroduction. The video almost always starts a passionate discussion in class.

Wolves, produced by David Douglas, chronicles some of the scientific and political issues surrounding the reintroduction of wolves to the Western United States.

NASA eClips - Educational Videos for K-12 Students

NASA offers numerous educational resources for students and teachers. One of those resources that I recently rediscovered is NASA's eClips videos. eClips videos are arranged by grade level; K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. There is also a section labeled for the general public. The videos are short clips designed to show students the work NASA is doing and how that work impacts space science as well as its potential impact on everyday life. All of the videos can be viewed online or downloaded for use on your local computer.

Applications for Education
NASA provides viewing guides and project ideas that teachers can use in their classrooms. The videos for K-5 students are designed to show students how NASA's research helps us learn about our world and our solar system. The videos for 6-8 students are centered around the theme of real-world problem solving. The videos for 9-12 students are focused on problem solving. The project suggestion for 9-12 students is to design a cooling system for astronauts in space.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Explore Google Sky
View the Moon in Google Earth
Solar Eclipse Simulation in Google Earth