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.
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!”
With Adobe Flash Player integration within the new Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro and Adobe Reader 9, PDF files can become far more than static documents and forms. PDF portfolios (which are special types of PDF files) can be created to deliver a wide range of engaging multimedia content to include music, photos, movies, Flash (SWF and FLV) content, 3D content, and much more. The interface used to experience the PDF portfolio content is a Flash-based navigator with different layouts. Steve Adler (Adobe Acrobat Specialist for Education) has a fantastic blog article explaining how to create PDF portfolios and their possible uses in K-12 and Higher Education environments. Below I have provided five PDF portfolio examples which you can download and view offline using the free Adobe Reader 9 or a trial version of Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. Examples include:
Once you have viewed these PDF portfolios, try creating one yourself using Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. You can use Steve Adler’s blog article as a guide or watch a recorded webinar. Also, there are new PDF portfolio navigator layouts you can download and start using for your projects.
In a previous
Adobe Education Technologies blog article we examined how to use Adobe InDesign CS4 to create a visually rich layout, add interactivity with hyperlinks, buttons, and page transitions,
and then export to SWF. We were able to do all of this without using Adobe Flash Professional and Actionscript programming. The downside of this direct-to-SWF export is that there isn’t an easy way to edit the SWF file should we want to further modify it.
Now, Adobe InDesign CS4 allows designers to create multi-page layouts and then export to the new XFL (XML for Flash) file format. The XFL file can be opened directly in Adobe Flash CS4 Professional preserving layout and typographic fidelity. Then developers can enhance the file with animation, interactivity, and video. Let’s take a look at the workflow:
With each new release of Adobe Creative Suite there are features so fantastic that they warrant special mention on the Adobe Education Technologies blog. For this article I would like to focus on Adobe InDesign CS4 and its ability to quickly create and export interactive Flash (SWF) files.
In case you aren’t familiar with Adobe InDesign, it is the leading page layout application enabling creative freedom along with precise control over graphics, typography, color, transparency, effects, and placed images. Though Adobe InDesign provides direct-to-print capabilities, many have used it to create PDF files which capture all design elements and can be shared and viewed with the free Adobe Reader. What has been missing was an easy way to create rich interactive content that could be viewed with the Adobe Flash Player. Click this link to view an example of what we can now build with Adobe InDesign CS4 (at 2MB it takes a few seconds to load, but is worth the wait – move your cursor over one of the page corners, click, and drag to turn the page):
Let’s examine how to create this Flash file!