Author Archive: Richard John Jenkins

Adobe Education Exchange Announces The 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards

Just as Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences, educators are changing the world through innovative teaching. From creating inspiring curricula to bringing dynamic, media-rich content into courses and assignments, educators go above and beyond to prepare students for today’s global workforce. But creating those amazing learning experiences for their students is not an easy task. To encourage educators to share their successful teaching materials and help each other get ready for the new school year, the Adobe Education Exchange launched the 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards. Starting this week, educators can win great prizes by simply submitting their best projects, lesson plans, curricula, and tutorials. Prepare to be inspired!

The 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards will recognize and reward Adobe Education Exchange members who submit the most innovative teaching and learning materials. The community will choose the winners of the awards by rating and voting for one another’s entries. Educators can submit entries in four categories including:

 Higher Education Digital Arts and Media

Primary/Secondary Digital Arts and Media

Higher Education Cross-Curricular

Primary/Secondary Cross-Curricular

Grand prize and runner-up winners will go home with prizes like laptop computers, tablets, digital cameras, and the new Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 to help them continue to create innovative learning experiences for their students.

For more information on the 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards or to enter, visit: http://www.adobe.com/go/AdobeEDUAwards. For inspiration and examples, join or sign in to browse the resources on the Adobe Education Exchange. Also, be sure to follow @AdobeEDU and #AdobeEDUAwards for the latest updates about the awards. Get your creative juices flowing, submit your great teaching materials and win big!

Underserved Youth + World + Media = Adobe Youth Voices!

As an educator you are most likely aware of many of Adobe’s great products, our super teacher resources like Adobe TV for professional development and the explosive growth of the Adobe Education Exchange. But what about those students of yours, especially students in underserved communities from around the world who could be empowered with some help from Adobe? Adobe Youth Voices (part of the Adobe Foundation Philanthropy Program) aims to help youth and educators who teach to them in these underserved communities from all over the world.

I recently had the honor of attending the 2011 Adobe Youth Voices summit in San Jose, CA where eighty educators chaperoned two youth from their schools and programs spending five days with them learning about Adobe products, technologies and teaching methodologies. But for me (who was on hand at the Summit doing some training) the high point was seeing what the educators along with their students created; outstanding short five minute movies covering subject like: Human Rights, Relationships, Communication, the Environment and other important topics.  Using basic video & sound capturing hardware gear and primarily Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements to edit their videos the attendees broke into several teams and over the course of five sleepless days and nights produced amazing videos in record time.

Check out examples of some of the great Adobe Youth Voices videos in the Youth Media Gallery link here as well as more general  information about the program here.

 

Abracadabra! The Green Screen Magic of Premiere Elements 9

Adobe Education Leaders (AELs) in front of a portable green screen

Adobe Education Leaders (AELs) in front of a portable green screen

If you’ve ever been to famed Las Vegas, Nevada you may have had the pleasure of seeing one of the many fantastic Illusionists preforming their incredible magic there. Several years ago I had the fun opportunity to see world famous illusionist David Copperfield in action at Cesar’s Palace along with my wife. During one of David’s sold out performances I was one of twelve lucky audience members who was picked by him to come up on stage to take part in one of his tricks. After entering a strange transparent on all sides box like contraption with the other volunteers the contraption exploded with a bang into flames, fireworks and flashing lights! I suddenly “disappeared” along with the eleven other audience members to the simultaneous loud gasp from hundreds of people watching the trick from their theater seats. To my amazement along with the other eleven people who disappeared with me we all had a big laugh together when we realized how David actually made us disappear – it was incredibly simple how he did, but from the perspective of the people watching the trick out in the theater it was astonishing.

Before we were made to reappear in the magic box and be reunited with our friends and loved ones David appeared in person back stage with all of us! David quickly told us he would give each of us a personalized autographed photo of himself in exchange for our life-long swearing of total secrecy of how he did the trick. All twelve of us happily agreed and promised David we would never ever tell anyone how he did this trick; to this day fifteen years later I never have – even to my wife or kids who have begged me repeatedly to divulge all. So what does this have to do with Premiere Elements? – read on.

What’s interesting is some of the earliest silent film makers were previously stage magicians before they hand cranked a film camera. In fact one the earliest projection apparatus even before film cameras and film projectors were invented was called a “Magic Lantern,” a tin lamp-like device with a concave mirror, lens and an oil lamp or candle inside of it which was used as the light source to project a still image on to a screen or wall.

We’ve come a long, long way since the eras of the early stage magicians and first film makers who magically made things disappear and reappear on their limelight lit stages or in their early hand cranked films shown in picture palaces. In the case of the silent film makers to make say an actor magically disappear or appear in a scene it simply came down to scratching the actor’s image out of the nitrate film with a sharp blade.

In this digital age we are all a part of right now we are stunned by the digital CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) magic of the likes of James Cameron’s award winning film “Avatar,” or a flim like I saw last night; Rise of the Planet of the Apes and other amazing movies and television series that use state-of-the-art 3D techniques, or compositing tricks to create the illusion that different elements are all parts of the same scene to make things magically disappear or reappear in scenes.

Now you might be thinking to create this same kind of CGI magic for your own movie projects is not only super expensive, but most likely really hard to do – not at all. In fact with Premiere Elements it is as simple as shooting two clips of video, dragging & dropping them into Premiere Elements timeline and then clicking the mouse just once to achieve the same kind of CGI compositing magic of a James Cameron or making things appear or disappearing like David Copperfield on a live stage. Note in Premiere elements we call this cool trick “Video Merge,” but it also goes by a few other names like: Blue or Green Screen, Chroma Key and Compositing.

I’ve created two short Adobe Captivate screen capture demonstrations of how to do a basic Video Merge effect with Premiere Elements as well as a bit more advanced features and posted the demos to YouTube. Check out Part 1 or Part 2 (links below) to learn how you too can become a CGI magician in just a few mouse clicks using Premiere Elements Video Merge!

Part 1: Movie Magic with Adobe Premiere Elements Video Merge

Part 2: Creating Video Merge effects with Adobe Premiere Elements

How Are We Doing? Introducing Adobe FormsCentral!

First on behalf of all of the Adobe Education Solution Consultants (formally Solution Engineers) who contribute to this blog a big and sincere Thank You for stopping by and learning about Adobe tools and technologies from us. We are all honored to have you here reading our post, posting comments and more.

Second I wanted to invite you to tell us how we’re doing here as authors and at the same time introduce you to a brand new online based tool we recently announced and made live called Adobe FormsCentral. Adobe FormsCentral is a new online service that lets you easily and quickly create and distribute online forms and surveys – including analyzing the results.

I’m really excited about FormsCentral because I believe powerful tools do not have to be complicated to get a job well done. In fact in my humble opinion powerful tools that are easy to use are the true mark of outstanding software craftsmanship. FormsCentral is powerful yet super easy to use too. That’s why to solicit your feedback here on our blog to help us all do a better job for you I used FormsCentral to create a quick and easy feedback form to have you tell us what future topics you’d like us to consider blogging about, get suggest from you on other ways we can improve the blog and continue to serve you better.

Note the link below will take you to a super short FormsCentral form that took me less than half an hour to design, test and distribute right here in this blog post. Now you may be thinking I have days and days of experience in FormsCentral to have been able to do this in half an hour – nope. The truth is I played around with FormsCentral for about one hour total and was creating nice looking forms within that hour and even posting them online!

You might also be wondering that this new tool cost a pretty penny. I’m happy to inform you there are two affordable subscriptions offered for FormsCentral and a third which is free!

To give the Adobe Education Technologies bloggers some feedback on the blog please click here; time to fill out the form is about three minutes or less.

To get started with FormsCentral click here to open a FormsCentral Account.

Happy FormsCentral form making!

Richard John Jenkins

Prolific Powerhouse People: Teacher, Mike Skocko and the Mac Lab

Mike Skocko Keeps learning exciting and in balance in his Mac Lab

Valhalla High School teacher Mike Skocko keeps learning exciting and in balance in his Mac Lab.

 When it comes to learning Adobe software and technologies there is a fantastic cornucopia of terrific choices out there: great books, in-person seminars, online webinars, weekend hands on intensives and much, much more. I’m a visual learner so when it comes to my own way of learning Adobe tools I tend to gravitate towards one of the super online video offerings from companies like: KelbyTraining.com, VTC.com, TotalTraining.com, AtomicLearning.com, Lynda.com or our very own Adobe TV.

With the exception of Adobe TV mentioned above all of these training companies offer deep discounted education pricing to educators who subscribe to their offerings and in my humble opinion they are a super value. But what if I told you there is another source of terrific online video training available on Adobe tools and to access the videos it won’t cost you a dime?

Enter amazing prolific powerhouse Mike Skocko (pronounced skotch-ko) of Valhalla High School in El Cajon California who has produced and posted over 3,000 online video tutorials (no that’s not a typo – 3,000 and counting!) covering a wide range of Adobe tools and technologies. Best part, they’re totally FREE to watch and learn from. In fact Mike already has close to 300 videos on many of the current Adobe CS5 tools posted online and adds new ones daily.

Mike stated to me recently (and in the most humble way) he would have had near five hundred videos posted on the Adobe CS5 tools by now but since he was recently derailed by being accepted into Adobe’s Education Leaders (AEL) program and simultaneously started work on a Masters Program along with his fulltime teaching duties at Valhalla High, he’s only been able to add one video tutorial post per day. One per day!?  Five per week!?  Twenty per month!? Are you kidding me Mike!? I’m lucky if I can find the time to write three blog posts here on the Adobe Education Technologies Blog per month! So now dear blog readers you know why Mike has been picked by me as a Prolific Powerhouse Person here on our blog.

I encourage you to check out Mike’s excellent videos on Adobe’s software tools and share this great and free learning resource with your students and education associates far and wide.

The Mac Lab’s Online Adobe Software Tutorials can be found HERE.

Check out a cool interview Mike conducted with one of his former Students HERE.

Prolific Powerhouse People: Teacher, Dr Katherine Nell McNeil

Dr. Katherine Nell McNeil, East County Academy of Learning, Lakeside Union School District, San Diego, California.

Dr. Katherine Nell McNeil, East County Academy of Learning, Lakeside Union School District, San Diego, California.

It’s not every day when I man an Adobe booth at an education tradeshow talking with our education customers that I suddenly see someone in front of me practically jumping up and down and waving their arms to get my attention. Usually educators stop by our Adobe booth and politely ask us questions about education pricing, when the next versions of our software is due out and where they can learn more about professional development or certification. But at the last CUE (Computer-Using Educators) Conference held in Palm Springs, CA I rapidly finished up a conversation I was having and turned my attention to the woman at our booth who now had tears streaming down her cheeks and suddenly burst out, “Adobe save’s lives! Adobe changes lives! Thank you so much for all you do!”

I stood there jaw dropped and thunderstruck not quite sure of how to respond. I recall saying something really lame like “Excuse me!? Come again!?” But the woman standing there was now so emotionally choked up she couldn’t even speak! I sensed I better do something quick before she really started crying so I took her gently by the hand and asked her to sit down in our booth so I could calm her down.

After several minutes she finally did and said, “My name is Dr. Katherine Nell McNeil. I’m a Special Education teacher from the East County Academy of Learning in the Lakeside Union School District in San Diego, California. I want you to know for all the work that Adobe does, to each employee who has had a hand in making your software a reality, you all need to know that I stand up and yell thank you.  Adobe saves lives.  Adobe changes lives. You guys are dream makers not dream breakers.  Through your products my students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders learn not only how to make award winning digital media designs, but also develop new behaviors, higher order thinking skills, academic and social skills which they previously did not possess”.

Now it was my turn to get emotional. I remember getting tears in my eyes and blurting something like “Wow! Really!? Thank you for sharing this!”  Dr McNeil went on to tell me she has been a special ed. teacher for over ten years and by using digital media design tools like Photoshop, she’s made a profound difference in many of her students behavior. She stated many of students have severe learning disabilities including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHAD).  But through the use of digital media tools many of her kids have been able to turn their lives around by expressing themselves and building self-confidence using these tools. In fact she beamed when she informed me that several of her students won ribbons at the recent California Del Mar fair for their digital media creations made with Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe tools.

Dr McNeil's student's showing examples of their Adobe Photoshop work.

Photo sent to me from Dr McNeil & her student's showing examples of their Adobe Photoshop work including ribbons!

To learn more about this prolific powerhouse educator, Dr. McNeil and her special education teaching techniques check out this great video interview with her made by the San Diego Department of Education (SDDOE) at the link below.

Classroom of the Future Foundation Interview with Dr. McNeil

Lynda.com APP for iPhone & Adobe!

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Recently as part of my job for Adobe I drove to one of Ventura Unified School Districts middle schools to conduct an hour long Acrobat 9 Pro demonstration of Acrobat’s incredible ePortfolio tools. Never knowing what Sothern California’s traffic might be I left early giving me plenty of time to get to De Anza Middle School about ten miles from my remote Adobe office here in east Ventura county. The traffic Gods were smiling on me and I actually arrived about half an hour early to the school. After turning off my car’s engine I wondered what I could do with the extra time I had when it suddenly dawned on me. I had been brushing up on learning the ins and outs of our recently released Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 application just before I drove to De Anza at my remote office watching one of my favorite online video training companies – Lynda.com.

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Prolific Powerhouse Profile – Terry White!

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This is the first post of a new series of profiles of Prolific Powerhouse People who use Adobe tools and technologies in a creative way. Feel free to inform me if you know of someone who is doing amazing things with Adobe technologies within HiEd or K12 education or beyond.
Photo by Joe McNally
If you’re like me trying to stay on top of all the amazing Adobe tools and technologies can be frankly a daunting task! Case in point Adobe just announced our CS5 suite of tools that will be available soon. As an Adobe employee my main focus right now is to quickly get up to speed on as many of them and their amazing features as I can before we actually start shipping the products; issue is I still have more to learn about our current CS4 tools. Thank goodness for Terry White!

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Easy Flash with New Flash Catalyst!

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I attend a lot of education conferences all over the U.S. as part of my job for Adobe Systems. Typically I will demonstrate our award winning tools to educators at these conferences in our trade show booth which usually has a small theater set up in it so conference attendees can watch half hour demos of our tools and learn all about the amazing features they have.
After my demonstrations I always get several folks who come up to me and ask the same two questions repeatedly no matter what conference I’m attending or in what part of the country I’m in. The first question typically is “Richard, where can I find affordable training on Adobe Tools?” In regards to this question I wrote a whole blog post about it here called Teacher’s Pet – A List of Affordable and Free Adobe Tools Training. The second question (which is the topic of this blog post) for the most part is “Richard, I love Adobe’s tools, but they have such a steep learning curve, especially Flash!”

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Three’s a Charm! Syncing, Sharing, Backing Up Photos & Videos with Photoshop/Premiere Elements 8 and Photoshop.com

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Imagine you’re a Science or Marine Biology classroom teacher who wants to help your students learn about Orca Killer Whales. You assign your students a project to do some research about Orcas on the web, write up a paper or two about the whales, and best of all since your high school is located not far from the Pacific ocean in the North West area of our country you arrange a fun and exciting field trip.Your students and you board a ocean worthy vessel. Your students take tons of photos and videos of actual killer whales with their digital video & still cameras in their natural habitat to use in their projects.
Now imagine you’re back in your classroom after the field trip with your excited students; all your students have these great photos & movies of Orcas on all kinds of cameras including photos & videos they’ve taken with their camera equipped mobile phones or PDAs. Your students are giddy as heck to share their photos & whale movies with each other as well as use the images for their Orca projects. You’ve asked them to create multimedia slideshows of the whale photos, edit their movies, copy and paste the images into their papers and maybe even post a few images on a web page or two as part of an online gallery.
If you’re like me you may be thinking (or in my case complaining!) what I would have to do next is to get all the photos & videos put in one place (part of a workflow) so the kids could see all the pics & movies all together. I would then have to collect all those digital camera’s SD cards, copy and paste all of the kid’s photos/videos off of each card on to one computer, or I could plug one end of a USB cable into each camera and the other end into my computer and transfer all the photos/videos through the cable to one folder on my desktop – either way a very, very time consuming pain in the butt chore!

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