Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's Not Just For The Birds

It seems like every time I read a blog post I discover some new (to me) web 2.0 application that would be amazing for students or staff to use in their school or personal life.  In reading a post  by Joyce Valenza on April 16, 2011 at NeverEndingSearch on the School Library Journal blog titled Design Tools to Die For she lists Aviary .  The creators of Aviary state:  Aviary is on a mission to make creation accessible to artists of all genres

Aviary can be used without registration but registration is simply accomplished with a username, email address and password.  Under the Terms they are asking that users be 13 years of age.  If not they should be under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. 

Initially a user can upload a file or paste a URL into the frame on the first page.  That image can be altered by clicking on one of the eggs  to the right--sharpen, rotate, flip, resize, crop, redeye, blemish, colors, saturation, blur, brightness, contrast, drawing, text or stickers.  Beneath are golden eggs that offer various framing and effect options---Instant, Toy Camera, Old Photo and Retro. 

By clicking the Save button users can add a comment before downloading or even editing it further.  Image detail link, image URL, HTML image, HTML link, message boards or linked image are choices that can be selected prior to posting this image.  It can be posted directly with a mouse click to an Aviary account, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit or an email.

This is an uploaded photo that has been sharpened, brightened and enhanced with the Old Photo effect.  It was embedded using the HTML image feature.

Further down the screen Advanced Creative Tools are found.  These fall under the three headings of Photo, Design and Audio.  By launching the Image Editor, Effects Editor or the Screen Capture users can edit layers, merge photos, create patterns or use a variety of photo effects.  Quick cropping, creating logos, illustrations or matching colors can be done with the Vector Editor, Image Markup or Color Editor under the Design graphic.  Podcasts, editing of audio, creating beats or ringtones are some of the selections available below the Audio tab. 
Aviary has 87 tutorials for users to access and learn about these features which can create a definite WOW factor.

But the best, newest feature still in Beta is Aviary Education .  By asking for an account you need your school email, school name and location, how many student accounts and, so they can prioritize, why you need your account.  These student accounts are billed as being 100 per cent  safe and they are private.  Assignments and projects can be monitored and managed.  Educators are asked to get written permission from parents or legal guardians if  their students are under 13 years of age.  When I set  up my account the system was so new that  there was a small glitch which I will quickly point out has been fixed.  The reason that I mention it is that I was contacted by two separate techs until it  was fixed.  Their willingness to help and overall customer service rocks!

By the way, Aviary was selected as the name for the services that  this application supplies because the user is creating on the fly.

An Introduction to Aviary Education from Aviary on Vimeo.

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