Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Aviary Suite

There are lots of great free web applications coming out now that cloud applications are all the rage. One of the more interesting ones I found was actually a suite of online applications that specializes in media, which is different from services like Google Documents that focus on things like word processing and spreadsheets. Aviary has tools such as Phoenix, which does most of what Photoshop does only for free and on any computer with Internet. Also included in the suite is a great vector art application for making tee shirts and logos, and (according to my students) and great little music editor called Myna. For those of you familiar with Apple’s Garageband, Myna is basically an online equivalent. It allows you to drag and drop music clips and arrange your own songs that you can then download as MP3s.  For kids wanting to make their own ‘soundtracks’ this is easily hours of fun. Unless, as their teacher (as I found myself) you end up subjected to the noise that these kids call music!

Aviary also has an educational option made just for teachers and is also free.  After you receive your invite to Aviary Education, setting up your classes is incredibly easy.  Take note, educational websites: this is how you set up a class. Quickly and easily, without too many bells and whistles.  It took me all of 5 minutes to get accounts made for all my students and have them logged in.

If you ever find yourself in need of quality photo editing on the cheap, or want your students to arrange a song, Aviary is a free and powerful option.

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