Thursday, March 11, 2010

Take Flight with Aviary

With the March 9th launch of the Marketplace, Google Apps soars into a new world of productivity. Similar to Apple's Apps Store, Google Apps Marketplace provides a wealth of free or for-profit cloud-based add-ons for Google Apps.

The biggest buzz in the educational sector is the addition of Aviary, a free suite of editing tools that allows users to capture screenshots, edit images and create audio podcasts, all in the cloud.

Those familiar with Garage Band will find Myna, the audio/mixing software fairly drag-and-drop intuitive. I played around with it this morning and, while I was having problems with delayed response times--it seemed to be working very slowly--I realized later the problem was my computer and it cleared up with a restart.

Myna comes with a set of loops, or you can import your own. You can also make voice recordings within the program. I did find editing the tracks a bit problematic. For example, the demo video (below) shows that you can custom fade the tracks, but I can't figure out how. Nor is there any documentation or tutorials for Myna yet, though they say they're working on it.

(UPDATE: Duh! Click on "auto" tab (red arrow) opens up a volume-editing track (green arrow).

Coolest of all, the file saves to your Google docs account, which means students can share and collaborate--a big plus over Audacity or Garage Band.

I'll blog more about the photo editing tools later. I haven't had a chance to look at them yet. But if your school uses Google Apps for Education, definitely talk to your site admin about adding Aviary!

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