Friday, June 6, 2014

Pixiclip- A Meek Moose Adventure in Sponsorship

I've got a website review for you today.  And to be all upfront about it- I was contacted and asked to write the post, and they are compensating me for it.  But- with that being said- I was planning on writing about it anyway. So I'm not feeling particularly conflicted, and we all know I am compulsively honest- so I'm going to tell you exactly what I think.

I've been talking about all my social media adventures lately- the instatwitterlinking, as it is now.  I ran across an article about Pixiclip by Monica Burns from Class Tech Tips on my Linked In groups a couple of weeks ago when I first started reading group posts.  Monica writes an excellent article every day about some sort of technology that I now want to try.  And then I end up tweeting about it.  Which I believe is how it came to the attention of the Pixiclip people in the first place to make them ask me if I wanted to do a blog post about it.

Click on the picture of Monica to go to her site and see her Pixiclip article that got this ball rolling in the first place.  But then click the home button and read ALL of her articles on ALL of the fabulous technology that's out there waiting for you to use with your kids.  And then tweet it.  Become addicted to hashtags like me. #completelyrational #itsnotweird

Twitter.  It owns me now.  I even took an on-line free Udemy course about it to make sure I was doing it right. #totaldork  I'll talk about Udemy another day though.

Before I show you the two Pixiclips that I made, here is a very nice tutorial I found on YouTube:

If you know about the Educreations App, you can see right away the similarity.  In fact, here's a sample Educreations lesson from my second graders this year when we were studying about Solids, Liquids, and Gases:

Pixiclip has similar features- but two important differences that set it apart.
1. It's (right now) meant to be used on a PC from a web browser.  So if you don't have an iPad, or regular access to one, but you do have student computers- this is a big plus.  I have access to iPads at my school, but the whole school shares 20 iPads.  So, obviously, sometimes there's a line.
I will say this- I had the most success with Pixiclip using Mozilla Firefox as my browser.  Internet Explorer had a tantrum (which is common for it nowadays, no matter what you're trying to do), and I noticed something funky happening when I used Google Chrome and attempted video.  And that could completely be a my fault sort of thing.  
When I made my two Pixclips I made sure all other applications were closed and I was only running this site on the browser.  That made everything go super smooth.
2. It has a video option that puts you in a box on top of your presentation.  I find that appealing to me for use in digital portfolios.  Also, some kids really like seeing themselves in their work.  For those that don't, they can stick to audio.
One thing to note- there is a limit of five minutes to the presentation recording.  When it comes to digital portfolios, this is good.  Less data to store, and the student needs to make sure they are giving only the most important information and not going by Albuquerque to get to the point.  This is bad, if you're a teacher like me that can drone on for hours- and wants to!  So you're all saved today by Pixiclip having a time limit.
I chose to do both Pixiclips about George Washington. Click this picture of George to go to the audio clip:
  Like I said in the clip- I think it's a good tool for a summative assessment.  The student can annotate text passages or images with their understanding.  As the teacher, you'd just need to make sure the images necessary are available for the student to upload or that the student is well trained in how to get the images and upload them on their own.

Personally, I think I'd prepare a shared folder or flash drive with options for the students to use.  There would still be choice involved, but I would have framed what was acceptable.
Click this picture of Mount Vernon to go to the video clip:

To reiterate- I HATE myself on video.  But I think it would be great for the kids to see themselves.  And I suppose, it's more like I don't want adults to see me on video- But I could easily do a five minute direction clip for the kids to watch to give them an assignment while they were on the computers.  Sort of a flipped classroom take on it.

And as far as storytelling goes- it would be easy enough to take pictures of their work on paper, and then load the Jpegs for them in a shared folder or flash drive and have them tell their story this way.  Just another ebook alternative.

Once you've created your clip, you can choose if you want to make it public or private or hidden.  And while you are watching it through, you have options to share on Facebook, Twitter, through email or by embedding code.

Now- as far as what I might like to see changed or added to
1. I couldn't get the embed code to work.  It wouldn't show up on my post at all.  This might be my error, but I was able to get the YouTube video and Educreations video to embed- so I'm not sure.

2. The two photos I used of Christopher and Mount Vernon, I had to open up in a video editing program and scale down the size, so that they would be turned right side up in the upload image drawer.  Straight from my camera, the file size was apparently too large, and the program flipped them sideways.

3. That being said, I would like to see the ability to rotate pictures added, and not just moving them.  That way, I could have shrunk them with the diagonal arrow and them flipped them right side up.  I have a photo editor and am comfortable manipulating digital images- but other users might not be.

4. And look into whether or not it does really matter which browser you use.  I'm fine switching between browsers- but some schools might be limited.

5. Lastly, I'd definitely like to see it transition its way onto a tablet as an app as well as the PC.  Just to give me more options.  If it was a good day at school, and I could have a few iPads plus my student computers, I could have ten or more of my kids working on a Pixiclip at the same time.  

But, if I were to do that, I might want to invest in some of those headphones that have a microphone attachment on them by the ear piece, to cut back on background noise if all my students were recording simultaneously.

And there you have it- my first sponsored post, on a topic I was going to write up anyway.

So what did you think?  Try it out and then let me know if you come up with some other ways it would work in the classroom. I love technology...

post signature


  1. Hi Heather, I love trying out new technology and I would totally have used Pixiclip in the classroom. My EFL students would have had a blast creating their own videos.

    I'm also thinking there's something to be done with it as far as blogging is concerned and I'll be looking into using it.

    I'll let you know how my adventures into Pixiclip territory turn out.

    Thanks for the very informative post!

    - Lucy

  2. You are totally geeking out over Georgie Wash. in that video.

  3. I stand behind my geekery with pride! No shame upon me 'ead