Pixlr (http://www.pixlr.com/editor/) is an online image editor that allows you to upload your images and edit them in your browser (Firefox or Internet Explorer). Pixlr is perfect for students when they want to create or edit images to be used in multimedia presentat ions l ike PhotoStory, PowerPoint or imovie. They can also use it at home as it is online and free!
While it’s not the most full-featured image editor you will ever use, Pixlr makes it fairly easy to do some sophisticated graphics manipulation with images online. The Flash-based web app has an impressive set of tools, from graphics tools like paint, blur, pixelate and emboss, to layers and filters for masking and effects.
Students can create a painting using the pen and paint tools or import images from digital cameras or the web … or even better via a web address (URL). For instance, as shown in the example, students were given the task of studying rainforest birds and their characteristics. The students did a search for pictures of rainforest birds as part of their HSIE unit. When an appropriate graphic is found, the web address can be copied and pasted into the ‘Open from URL’ window. Pixlr will then open that graphic in its own window. With the lasso tool, the bird was selected, copied and pasted into the main project window. A selection of birds were copied and pasted into the project and text and drawings added. For example, foliage could be copied or drawn in. The finished graphic can then be saved as a jpg to import into other programs.
Pixlr has a number of features similar to PhotoShop and other quite expensive software applications and can therefore be used to teach many of the graphics skills students need. Pixlr uses built in Flash so you need to have a Flash plug in for it to work. If Pixlr doesn’t function automatically see http://www.adobe.com/ products/flashplayer/ for details.pixlr