Thursday, January 7, 2016

Powerful but easy image editors for student use

Into the second half of the school year, and looking for ways to engage your students in creative ways - demonstrating their knowledge with the addition of images in their work? Perhaps it’s a poem or short story to illustrate, a card or poster to prepare, a presentation to make.  And there are now many resources of public domain images for use by students - one of them is the Image Gallery, where there are all kinds of curriculum related images.  

But there is much more than just adding images to make that project/poem sing! With the use of image editors, students can add detail, effect and depth to those found images. Image editors are no longer restricted to use by CTF students because of complexity in learning the tool. There are some very good free drawing tools and image editors that can be used with little instruction that provide lots of opportunity for creativity.

Here are two tools that we will feature for older students - Be Funky and Sketchpad 3.7
Note that our samples are done in response to potential upcoming Valentine's Day season activities, but the possibilities for themes and topics are endless.

This image editor and collage maker is great for one-time quick work by students [13 years and older] because:

  • the ‘free’ portion of the tool has lots of available features such as effects, stamps, frames, overlays, textures, cutouts, etc. [if you really want the additional features, the cost is $5 per month].
  • you can upload and download the created image you work on into your computer, without it going into their public gallery, unless you indicate otherwise.
  • in addition to the usual image editing features, there are lots of special effects that students will love.
  • it has an easy collage maker
  • it’s web based so access is easy
Note that in the free version, the work done on an image should be done in one session. The saved image can be uploaded for additional work, but the original work done cannot be edited.

This is a much more sophisticated drawing tool and image editor, written in HTML 5 that students will love once they explore the tools. 
With many features such as the ones found in Photoshop type programs, Sketchpad 3.7 is worth considering because:

  • there are lots of features for the creative artist - for example, there are brushes that emulate fur, chrome and spirographs
  • layering is used, so that you can add, move, hide, and delete layers.
  • under the clipart icon - images can be uploaded as backgrounds, act as stencils for drawing [then later hidden], or can be made into stamps.
  • there is a history feature so you can easily move through the development of your work without deleting
  • there are many options for download, including save to Google Drive.
  • HTML 5 allows use by multiple technologies

More tools like these for students of all ages can be found in the Create site under Drawing and Painting.

Images used in the samples were found in   For many Valentine’s Day activities, have a look at our Enjoy Valentine’s Day page.