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.
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.