Friday, June 18, 2021

Wick Editor - A Nice Tool for Creating Animations

Wick Editor is a free tool for creating animations in your web browser. It was recently mentioned in Rushton Hurley's Next Vista for Learning newsletter and I immediately bookmarked it when I read about it. This morning I finally got a chance to give it a try. 

Wick Editor doesn't require you to register or sign into any kind of account in order to use it. Simply head to the website and click "launch web editor" to get started. The editor itself doesn't have a lot of text or menus to tell you what exactly the features are or where they're found. You kind of have to just click and try things. That said, watching this tutorial video found on the Wick Editor homepage will show you everything you need to get started. I highly recommend taking five minutes to watch that tutorial video before using Wick Editor.  



Once I watched the Wick Editor tutorial video Wick Editor was easy to use. I made a simple animation of a stick figure running across the screen. To make the animation I used the pencil tool and the onion-skinning tool in the editor. The pencil tool is exactly what you think it is, a pencil for drawing on the screen. The onion-skinning tool allows you to a slightly faded version of your previous frame while drawing on your new frame. That allows you to properly place your drawings in sequence so that they don't overlap unless you want them to. In short, onion-skinning in Wick Editor is like having a sketch pad open so that you can see your previous sketch on your left while creating your new sketch on the right.

When you're happy with your animation drawings you can tinker with the speed at which the frames are played back. After you've set the playback speed you can add audio if you want to include it. Finished animations can be saved as MP4 files or as GIF files.

Applications for Education
Wick Editor reminds me of a slightly more advanced version of Brush Ninja which I've used and recommended for years. Wick Editor, like Brush Ninja, could be used by students to create animations to illustrate science concepts. Here's an article that I published a few years ago describing the process that I used with eighth grade students to have them create animations illustrating forms of energy.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image created by Richard Byrne using Wick Editor.

Icons8 - Easily Add Icons to Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets

Icons8 is a new Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets add-on that offers a large gallery of free icons that you can easily insert into your documents, slides, and spreadsheets. Within the Icons8 gallery you'll find thirty-five categories of icons. All of the icons are available in a variety of sizes from as small as 50x50 pixels to as large as 500x500 pixels. And once you've added an icon to your document or slide you can still use Google's built-in image editing tools to further alter the size and transparency of the icon. 

To use Icons8 simply install the add-on from the Google Workspace Marketplace. Once it is installed you'll find it listed in the add-ons drop-down menu in Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Open it from the drop-down menu and the gallery of icons will appear on the righthand side of your document, slide, or spreadsheet. From there you just need to click on an icon for it to appear in your document, slide, or spreadsheet. It should be noted that the icon will appear wherever your cursor is in your document at the time that you select an icon. Of course, you can always move the icon by just clicking and dragging it to a new part of your document. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Icons8 in Google Documents. 



Applications for Education
Icons8 provides an easy way for teachers to add icons to documents. Those icons can be useful in creating activities that utilize visual prompts for students to respond to. For example, I might use the house icon in a document in which I want students to spell the words "house" and "home." Icons8 could also be handy for students who are looking to add some "hand-drawn" images to Google Slides presentations.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image created by Richard Byrne using Canva.