Pixlr is a powerful online flash-based image editor that can be included as a LAMS activity. The editor has powerful image creation and editing features, and the interface will be familiar to anyone who has used Paint, or more advanced editors like Photoshop or GIMP.
Haldor Lønningdal of ICT Publish has recently published a whole set of video tutorials on using the advanced features in the actual Pixlr client.
You can find them at http://www.ictpublish.com/pixlr.
Pixlr functions best with the latest version of Flash - Version 10. Get it here.
Pixlr Activity Learner's Guide
The first screen displayed in the Pixlr activity shows the image uploaded to the sequence for Learners to edit.
The Pixlr window will open, and the site will automatically fetch the image from LAMS.
Pixlr Help Guide
Click here to read the Pixlr manual, which describes all the tools and effects available.
Once Learners have made their changes, they can click Save to send the modified image back to LAMS, or save a copy to their local hard drive.
Back in LAMS, the activity displays a thumbnail of the modified image.
Learners can preview responses from other Learners.
Pixlr Activity Authoring
All properties sheets contain three tabs:
- The Basic tab controls the content of the activity.
- The Advanced tab controls how the activity behaves.
- The Instructions tab allows authors to comment on the activity itself.
The basic use case for the Pixlr activity is that the author uploads an image to LAMS which Learners can then modify. When the learners have completed their modified image in Pixlr, they return to LAMS and their image is saved as part of their sequence (the image is also downloaded with the lesson portfolio.) The image can also be made viewable by other learners in the sequence.
Basic tab for the Pixlr Activity
View of the Pixlr Activity Basic tab.
There are two features on the basic tab common to all activities:
- Title: All Activities have a web page title which is presented at the top of the activity page when displayed in the Learning Environment. This is NOT the same title as the Title that can be set using the Properties Inspector.
- Instructions: All Activities have a text area that is presented beneath the title. This is where the main activity text to be displayed to learners is entered. The text can be formatted using the Rich-Text Editor. Image, Video, Audio and URL content can also be displayed in the Instructions area.
Specific Features for the Pixlr Activity
- Add Image: The Add Image box allows the sequence author to upload an image for learners to edit.
Advanced tab for the Pixlr Activity
View of the Pixlr Activity Advanced tab.
- Lock when finished: This option is available on all Activities.
Enabling this option in Pixlr means that once a Learner clicks "Next Activity", they will not be able to make further changes to their images.
The learner can still return to view the images by selecting the activity from the progress bar.
If disabled, learners can return to the activity and make changes for as long as the sequence is available.
- Add Notebook... : This option is available on all Activities. Enabling this option creates a Notebook as part of the Activity, which Learner's can use to reflect on the activity just completed. The reflections are personal (ie: not shared with other learners).
Advanced Features Specific to the Pixlr Activity
- Allow Learners to view other learners images: When enabled, this option will display the modified images from each learner as part of the activity.
Each learner will be able to see the images from other learners in the sequence or group.
View of the Instructions tab. This is the same for all activities.
The Instructions tab contains the same features for all Activities.
It allows the Author to create specific instructions for the activity, as well as upload files that may be useful for running the activity (ie: support documents, etc.). It is a resource that can be used by teachers who are running the sequence for their learners. (In the Monitoring Environment, the Instructions for an Activity can be viewed by double clicking the activity on the Sequence tab and then selecting the Instructions tab.
The instructions can be retrieved by other authors who open the activity, or by monitors running the sequence.
There are two types of Instruction possible, Offline and Online, depending on the mode that the teacher wishes to run the activity. The feature is useful for teachers who are sharing sequences with their colleagues as it provides an area where the Author can describe any learning objectives and/or the specific purpose of the activity.
Branching Conditions Specific to the Pixlr Activity
The Pixlr Activity does not yet support Output Conditions for Branching.
Monitoring the Pixlr Activity
Monitoring Summary tab for Pixlr.
Click to expand.
The Pixlr Summary tab will display the Number of Learners who have attempted the activity (where necessary, shown in groups or branches) and a thumbnail of the modified image each Learner has created.
Monitors can click the thumbnail to display the full size image.
Sequence monitors can select Hide image from other learners to restrict viewing of individual learner submissions.
Monitoring Instructions tab.
Click to expand.
In the Authoring Environment, Authors can use the Instructions Space to attach support files for a specific activity, or leave comments for othe Monitors about how a given activity should be run.
These comments and files can be viewed from here - the Instructions Tab.
Clicking the Edit Activity button opens a new screen identical to the _'Basic'_tab in the authoring environment.
From here, Sequence monitors can change the default image for the activity, and modify the activity title and instructions.
Note: if a Learner has accessed the activity, LAMS will display a warning:
Warning: One of more students have accessed this activity. Changing this content will result in students getting different information.
Unlike Live Edit, this form of Editing can only modify the content of an activity, as opposed to the structure of a sequence.
The Pixlr Summary screen displays a breakdown of the number of learners who have access to the activity, and the number of learners who have completed the activity.