Maddy has loved using Pixie ever since Kindergarten.
Her school has it installed on all of the computers in the lab, and when I asked her what she wanted to do on our computer early this summer, she said, Pixie!
Pixie is ‘creativity’ software by Tech4Learing that can be used to share ideas, imagination, and understanding through a combination of text, original artwork, voice narration, and images. I love it.
I have learned that it’s affordable for home computers, too, and shhhhhh! for this week’s Smart Summer Challenge grand prize week, we’ll be giving away five year-long subscriptions to Pixie 3–so you and your kids can use it at home, too!
We’ve been playing with Pixie for awhile now, and Maddy has had a blast showing Owen, Cora, and me the ropes. Maddy has even used it in combination with some poem-writing she did this week, which was just so, so cool–
Here’s the skinny:
- Playing with Pixie: Really, Pixie is an all-in-one creativity software where kids can draw, use text, include voice recordings, import images, capture images from a webcam, create presentations–you name it.
Initially, Maddy, Owen, and Cora had just used it to make pictures–adding backgrounds, playing with the image adjuster (making mirror images, skewing lines, adding ‘stickers’ using the ‘spraypaint’, you name it.
Then Maddy, after watching an Electric Company where the people were creating rhyme poems, said she wanted to write a poem and decorate it on Pixie. So I told her to go for it, but then she didn’t know where to begin; I asked if she knew what she wanted to write about, and she said I want to write about a Queen and use words that rhyme with ‘queen’.
I said, Perfect. That’s a pretty solid idea–and a really great place to start brainstorming! So how about we make a web? A web is great for getting all of your ideas down, and it helps you remember what you want to write. So we write ‘queen’ in the middle, and then we write down everything that you can think of about a queen in bubbles around it. So what do you know about this queen?
She gave me what she knew: her green eyes, she was 13, green hair, eats beans, etc.
When she got stuck, I suggested we make a list of all the rhyming words we could think of since the purpose was to write a rhyming poem. So we listed all of the words we knew that rhymed with ‘queen’, and we talked briefly about rhyming patterns–but I didn’t want to limit her writing–I just wanted to give her a starting point.
So she left and did some serious writing.
And when she was finished, I set her up on our netbook on a Google Doc to type her poem.
Once the poem was typed, we checked for spelling errors and read through to make sure it was what she wanted, and when she gave me the go, I set her up on Pixie.
All I did was copy the text from the Google Doc and paste it onto a blank Pixie Doc–easy peasy. (And please note: you can absolutely do word processing on Pixie, but we don’t have Pixie installed on our netbook–it’s on our laptop, and I figured that while Maddy was typing her poem–something that would take her a bit of time–Owen could use Pixie on the laptop. I was being time-efficient. So that’s why we did it this way.)
So after Owen and Maddy switched places, Maddy decorated her poem–she added images, resized, deleted, added, and made it perfect. We printed, and she was totally proud.
Maddy’s (almost) finished poem!
Here’s Cora using Pixie (Cora’s 4 and loves it!)
Here’s what I love about Pixie:
- it’s easy to use— kids get the hang of it quickly
- the choices–there’s a ton they can choose from, and it’s easy for them to ‘undo’ a mistake or misstep
- the searches— you can search for images in ‘stickers’ by typing in a word and all related images appear
- the colors, clarity— simple, bright, eye-catching without being too much
- the voice recording— kids can read, narrate, explain, and it’s so easy!
- the video recording— with one click, kids can take a photo of themselves and add their image to their creation = so fun
- there’s a final product— after their hard work, kiddos can print out their creation, hang it on the fridge, and smile every time they walk by!
- multi-page projects— in Pixie 3 (just released last week) kids can create multi-page projects. I’m imagining incredible stories, fabulous images to go along with Reader’s Theater, or whole research projects or poem series in one happy place. So cool!
- it’s natural, it’s timely, it’s technology— with kids who love Wii and LeapFrog Explorer and the DS and smartphones and iPads (no, we don’t have one. . . ), 21st century learners need this kind of technology integration in their education because it’s where we’re going. And it’s a synthesis of all types of learning styles–visual, auditory, kinesthetic–and it’s engaging.
So really, that’s that–and if you come back tomorrow for the Smart Summer Challenge link-up, we’ll be giving away FIVE yearlong subscriptions to Pixie 3. SERIOUSLY! You can have this fun at your own home!
fyi: This is a totally unsponsored post, and the opinions here are my own, influenced only by my three little computer-users. I did receive a year-long subscription to Pixie from our friends at Tech4Learning, and they also kindly provided the prizing for the Smart Summer Challenge!
By the way, we’re almost at the end of the Smart Summer Challenge!
We’re now only a day away from our HUGE giveaways which I cannot wait to share. We’re coming down to the wire with our Smart Summer Challenge, the 6-week fun summer learning campaign I’m running with Candace and MaryLea, where we’re challenging all parents to do what they can to throw in a little bit of fun learning every day (or as often as they can!). And seriously–summer reading counts!! So link up your ideas through the whole week and win prizes. That’s how much we love our readers and value summertime learning!