In January, I got a dreadful email that my beloved Picnik was closing. Picnik was a free (with premium options — and I was a premium member) photo editing site that was absolutely the best solution for my many and varied needs. A flurry of blog posts ensued, with Picnik alternatives, but they weren’t alternatives. They were just other photo editing sites. I loved that Picnik was NOT trying to be like Photoshop, because it made it so accessible to my students. Or, if they veered close, they had ads that were not PK-12 appropriate, so that doesn’t work either. Or, they just didn’t have the essential tools that my undergrads need — a major use of Picnik for us is to anonymize photos of students to keep in line with FERPA, so if you don’t have a “focal pixelate” or “focal blur” option, you aren’t going to work. (Use ‘reverse effect’ to blur out student faces or names while preserving the spirit of the image.)
With the kill date for Picnik being 4/19, I tried to impress upon the student teachers that they needed to work on getting their images edited before then, and then shared my hope that the developers of Picnik would spin off a new product before then that they could take to the classroom once they were practicing teachers. Hallelujah, Picmonkey was born!
It worked out great, actually, and Picmonkey was what we used at our last teacher workshop. The only wrinkle? One of the cheeky suggestions was, funny, to an adult, but might lead some kids to wonder what “sacrifice a virgin” meant. I tweeted to the Picmonkey team, and emailed them, and within HOURS — hours! — they had changed the text to reference a “hamster in a wheel” instead. I was beyond impressed.
Picmonkey fills that gaping hole that Picnik left for me, and for my students. It’s NOT Fauxtoshop. It’s not peppered with ads for dating services. It’s easy to use for anyone who touches it. And when they offer a paid membership, I will totally be first in line to buy it.