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Aviary Peacock

I hope that you all had a blessed Christmas!  What I learned this year is that even though I take a break from posting, spammers do NOT break for holidays and other bloggers tend to blog MORE when they have a break to do so.  This means that #1 I have a lot of spam to sort through and #2 it has taken me a long time to get through my Google Reader!  I am finally getting around to a post that I intended to do several days ago (actually 3 posts) all on the Aviary creative suite of tools.  So, without further ado- here it is…       What it is:  Aviary is a website on a mission to make creativity more accessible.  They do this by making powerful image software available online (no download required) and with free versions of the online software.  Aviary has four different offerings: Peacock, Phoenix, Toucan, and Raven.  Because each tool does something different, I am going to break it down into four posts.   Peacock is a “visual laboratory”that lets students experiment with pixel based images in fun ways.  Students can create pixel images applying filters (this will feel similar to other image editors such as Adobe).  Students can also blend several pixel based images together to create images.  These pixel images would make great backgrounds for other documents, web pages, or other Aviary tools.  Students can also upload “resources” or pictures from their computers or other sources to manipulate in Peacock.   Peacock easily integrates with the other Aviary tools switching images quickly between the applications.  This makes the possibilities for creativity endless.     How to integrate Peacock into the classroom:   Aviary Peacock is a neat way for students to explore and experiment with visual arts.  The application really does feel like a laboratory.  Students start out with one image of their choosing and can manipulate the image with different filters, blenders, etc. to come up with completely new images.  It is interesting to experiment with the different ‘ingredients’ to see how an image can be transformed.  Peacock can be used to create backgrounds for web pages, documents, or other Aviary creations.  Peacock can also be used to help students understand cause and effect as they manipulate images.     Tips:  Aviary Phoenix and Peacock are both in beta right now.  Be sure to check out the Peacock overview video to get an idea of how Peacock works.     Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Aviary Peacock  in your classroom.

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Pixel Press Floors: draw a video game on paper, snap a picture and play it!

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, Geography, Government, History, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 18-06-2014

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What it is: Pixel Press Floors is a seriously magical (currently free) app that brings a child’s imagination to life. With the Pixel Press Floors creation platform, students can literally dream up and draw their own video game without any coding. Students draw their ideas out on paper, and the Floors app turns the drawing into an actual video game that can be played. Print out the special paper so that the app can recognize the shapes “glyphs” that are drawn, or use the in app drawing tools. The drawing is instantly turned into a game that can be tested, designed, played, and even published to the “Arcade” where others can play it.

How to integrate Pixel Press Floors into learning: The first step of creation is to download the Pixel Press Floors app on the iPad. Next, go to projectpixelpress.com to download and print the free sketch guide. Students draw up the game of their dreams and then take a picture of what they drew from the Pixel Press Floors app.

The glyphs (shapes) that students draw are magically transformed into game play objects. After glyphs have been created, students can apply a design to the element, test it, and play it. Within the app, students can create games with:

  • Run and jump game play (Mario-style)
  • Create with 14 creator glyphs: terrain, moving blocks, ladders, portals, monkey bars, power-ups, coins, super coins, falling blocks, spikes, exploding blocks, start and end positions, pits and fireballs, keys.
  • Two original themes to get the creativity jump-started: “Save the Parents” and “Fiddleheads: Stones of Eden”
  • Publishing and sharing in the Arcade

Pixel Press Floors is a fantastic “maker space” element to add to your classroom. This app is perfect for prototyping ideas, design thinking (ideation and prototyping), teamwork and collaboration, and to build creativity. In designing games, students learn systems thinking, creative problem solving, art and aesthetics, writing and storytelling, and creates a motivation for further STEM exploration.

There is so much to learn from digital games.  As a player, students learn to think strategically, persist through failure and experience epic wins that can translate to what they do and are willing to try out in real life. As a designer students learn systems thinking, creative problem solving, digital art and aesthetics, and storytelling and writing. Students love being able to bring their creations and ideas to life in the form of a game. Video game creation could be the key to unlocking the storytelling genius in your reluctant writers. It has been my experience that a student faced with a blank paper and a writing assignment can be daunting. Introduce the idea of designing their own game and suddenly a storyline pours forth. It is pretty neat to watch!

Draw your own video games- no coding necessary! Draw your own video games- no coding necessary! Draw your own video games- no coding necessary! Draw your own video games- no coding necessary!

Students can create games that help them build skills. Instead of simply playing those drill/skill games on other websites/apps, they can create their own! This is visual notes 3.0. Instead of simply practicing math facts, students can create a customized game to help them learn and remember those facts! This type of game is perfect for creating games to practice: math facts, spelling, vocabulary, foreign languages, letter recognition, geography, history facts, etc.

Instead of passively playing games in their free time, students can create their own! The blend of the hand-drawn and technology is seamless and brilliant. Kids will have such fun creating their own games and bringing their imagination to life.

Tips: Game Star Mechanic would be an outstanding place to start, here kids can learn the thinking process behind designing their own video games.

Are you using Pixel Press Floors in your classroom? Leave a comment below and share the ways that you use it with students!

Rodan + Fields Consultant

Comments (2)

Hi Kelly! I posted about this last week, and one of the most fascinating things I’ve seen shared is the use of the Comic Life app to make a graphic novel out of the game. http://goo.gl/ZhPQHK Great app-smashing and integration of technology with writing!

LOVE that idea Terri! That is fantastic!!

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