Posts in Category "Profiles"

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

Prolific Powerhouse Profile – Terry White!

terrywhiteheadshot09.jpg
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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