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Pixlr ( 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 products/flashplayer/ for details.pixlr


Capturing learning experiences can be a very powerful tool for teachers as well as for students in their learning cycle. With a digital camera you can take a large number of photos of classroom activities, special events, excursions and student work samples and choose the best to include in multimedia presentations, online photo galleries and websites or print for display or reporting purposes.

Students should also have opportunities to use the camera to take photographs. These can be used to illustrate research and collaborative activities, as accompaniment to their writing and as a visual supplement to presentations. Some other ideas for integrating digital cameras into your classroom include:

  • taking a visual pictorial history of a project or activity
  • creating an archive of photos over the year for use in an end-of-year project: ‘My Year at School’
  • acting out emotions, historical events or scenes from a book
  • observing growth or change over time e.g. weather, plants, seasonal change, height, etc
  • illustrating a mathematical or scientific process graphically i.e. how to use a protractor, measuring water temperature, etc.
  • documenting a science experiment
  • demonstrating a sport skill, rule or PE activity.

Digital cameras are not only an excellent tool for enhancing writing and recording learning activities, but they can also play an important part in the assessment and reporting cycle. Photos of Visual Arts activities, musical and dance performances or oral presentations can be used for student reflection, self assessment or reporting to parents.

Multimedia software like PowerPoint, PhotoStory, MovieMaker or Stop Motion Pro use photos for backgrounds, title pages and credits. Instead of using clipart, why not have students taking their own photos and using a graphics program to edit, if necessary. Using graphics software like PhotoShop or Fireworks, students can manipulate photos they have taken to create artwork. For example, students could take photos of each other and experiment with interesting filters to create humorous effects. Photos can also be used to create personalized calendars, placemats, invitations and Thank You cards for school activities like Grandparents Day.

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