Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pixorial - easy to use web video editor

** Sadly, Pixorial ceased operation in July, 2014. WeVideo is another great web-based video editing tool which can be used to make interesting videos for students to show what they know. **

"Digital Storytelling" is a Holy Grail of Ed Tech, but it also can be a daunting one, particularly if the chosen tool is not super easy to master. Thankfully, Pixorial is a web-based video editor that students and teachers will find easy to use and fun. The educators account provides 30 gb of space - plenty of room.

Teachers and students can sign in via a Google account (great feature!), and all videos show appear in Google Drive once the editing process is started. There are other methods to access Pixorial as well - here's a How To for educators page, which contains some other good details for teachers, too.

It's very easy to begin using Pixorial; not a lot of time is wasted trying to understand next steps. Uploading a video was easy. Video files can be acquired from the hard drive, recorded directly using webcam, or via an iPhone or Android app too (haven't tried that yet). My 7th graders used a Flip Cam connected to Chromebooks. Pixorial grabbed the video clips and successfully uploaded them. You can also upload still images, if desired.

The Create Movie function is used to organize the clips via a "timeline" on the Create Movie page. Adding a title, on screen (simple) graphics, transitions, and credits was a snap - fast and intuitive. Chopping out unwanted sections was also easy. There are built-in music tracks that can be added, if desired. When done, click the Finalize Movie button. Soon after, the video is ready to share. Lots of functions are built in for sharing as well, with a good level of privacy, including easy sharing between students and teacher, embed codes, and so on.

My students felt that Pixorial was easy to use, reliable and 'fun.' Pixorial supported the students' ability to show their subject matter knowledge, in a fun and creative way. For many, it was their first attempt at making a movie, and Pixorial's ease of use definitely helped. Pixorial has added a nice Tips and Tricks pane on the right side, and it's helpful as well. Their "Help" pages are well structured, too. I give Pixorial two thumbs up!

CC Connection: Pixorial fits well as a tool to support Digital Storytelling, and so, really covers a big chunk of the ELA Writing Anchor Standards. It would a good cross-curricular tool, as well, since it supports other ELA standards, and some Math, Social Studies and Science standards. If I had to choose target standards, Production and Distribution of Writing is a sweet spot (related mostly to the writing/editing part of Digital Story creation): 4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience; 5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach; 6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others. Give this tool a try on a Digital Storytelling project! Start small, gain some confidence, and have at it!

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