I have totally abandoned using installed image editing software…even excellent open source applications such as Paint.NET or GIMP. Instead I use online sources not only in the classroom but for more complex personal use. Here are some favorites roughly organized from more to less powerful.
For a pseudo Photoshop, try SumoPaint. The Flash-based layout is not as sophisticated as CS4 but experienced designers will recognize the tools and toolbar placements. With a nice compliment of brushes and filters, you can create complex, multilayered designs. Save your work to your free Sumo account and you can open and edit your work on any computer. For classroom use, SumoPaint works well in a high school environment.
My current favorite Web 2.0 site is actually a Google app (yes, you need a Google Apps account)… Aviary Design Suite for Education. This app has tons of great features to edit images, create vector artwork, record podcasts and more. I really love the audio editing. Use it to create custom sound tracks for student projects…it’s a blast!
Pixlr is a nice site to teach layering techniques. It is not as complicated as Sumo Paint or Aviary but includes multi-layer capabilities, typical editing tools and a nice array of filters. This site works well with upper middle school students who are ready to go beyond the basics of image editing.
My favorite site for student projects as well as quick edits and tweaks, such as red-eye removal, is Fotoflexer . Fotoflexer is not meant to be a full-fledged graphic design package. Therefore, you will not have the Photoshop-type layout. However, the tabs across the top have lots of goodies to create cool projects. One of my favorite things to do with students is create a digital collage. Students can import multiple images, add text and stickers and arrange the elements into an amazing creation. It’s easy and kids love it. Upper elementary through middle school age works well.
PicMonkey is another basic image editor that’s great for the classroom. First of all, kids can edit images without advertisements! If also has all sorts of cool effects and is very simple to use. For that reason, I usually use Fotoflexer. When using in student projects, students always want to use the effects that are blocked!
Try ditching you graphics applications and go all-out with these 5 web 2.0 image editors! If you know some other web 2.0 image editors, please post a reply. Thanks for reading the educational technology blog, Teach Amazing!