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Adobe Education Exchange Interview with Judy Durkin

judy3forTEAJudy Durkin spent 23 years as an award-­‐winning graphic designer when she realized what she loved was teaching her teenage interns how to be designers. Thirteen years ago Judy entered the classroom and is now an award-­‐winning educator, an Adobe Education Leader, and a trendsetter on the Adobe Education Exchange.  She is passionate about using technology to transform education by engaging young minds.  Through more than 225 resources on the Adobe Education Exchange and her LearnDurkin website, you can see how Judy weaves reading and writing into all her lessons while teaching digital arts skills in a visually rich format that reaches, engages, and inspires her students.

Where, and in what school, do you teach?

I teach 16 different classes at the International Bilingual School at Tainan Science Park in Tainan, Taiwan. The school is a separate bilingual school within Taiwan’s #2 ranked public K-­‐12 school. Most of the students are children of diplomats or college professors, which makes for a student body that takes its studies very seriously and is a joy to teach. Of course, there are some of the usual childhood antics but less classroom management problems than I experienced in my 10 years of teaching in the United States.

What is your teaching background?

I was a freelance graphic designer in the Seattle area for over 30 years. I hired high school students to help in my freelance work from time to time. I decided to become a teacher when I realized I enjoyed teaching my high school employees the ropes of design work more than I liked freelancing. Teaching meant a huge cut in my income, but it has been worth it seeing several of my students go on to forge successful careers in commercial art.

What is your greatest challenge as an educator? How do you work to overcome that challenge?

Teaching in a computer lab has challenges. It is a real battle to get students to do preliminary sketches BEFORE they get on the computer. Students try to add every font, pattern, drop shadow, and manipulation to a project thinking that design is nothing more than software tricks. In my curriculum, students must master the design foundations of layout, color, and typography. Each lesson weaves a foundational skill into the thrill of learning powerful Adobe software. Students enjoy the great learning games that have been posted on EdEx, such as “Learn to Use the Pen Tool” posted by Kimberly Larson, “Serif Training Interactive Website” posted by Clint Balsar, “Type Connection: A Typographic Dating Game” posted by Mike Skocko, and “Photoshop Ninja Moves 4: Blend Modes” posted by Pete Episcopo. I usually follow the 20minute game playing with a relevant project where the students creatively demonstrate their understanding of the day’s design rules.

Marbles&MeTell us a story about a case where you used creativity in your teaching practice? What student outcomes did you see?

Although I have taught high school-­‐age students for most of my teaching career, for the last three years I have made a change and have been teaching Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop,

InDesign, Premiere Pro, and Muse to grades 4 – 8. At first I didn’t think the 8 year-­‐old students in grade 4 would be able to grasp the concepts and software skills, but I was wrong. I found some excellent lessons on the Education Exchange and have been surprised at how quickly the children gobble-­‐up the skills. By the time my students reach 8th  grade, I will have some excellent young designers with which to contend.

Once students catch the “Adobe fever”, it is hard to get them out of the computer lab. I build on that enthusiasm by increasing the challenges. Ultimately, students work on projects for nonprofit organizations so that students understand the need to meet client needs and expectations. One of my favorite places to find “real world” projects that students can work on is: http://www.artheroes.org — check it out.

By the time the semester is over, my students have skills that will help them achieve their creative dreams. Their designs are communicated clearly and powerfully. With some students, we talk about art schools, technical schools, and entry-­‐level jobs. If a student shows aptitude, I help them get small freelance jobs with former clients and friends in the industry.

What is your experience with the Adobe Education Exchange?

A quick tour of the Education Exchange rejuvenates me after a long day of teaching. There is no other place on the Internet where I can find so many opportunities to connect with other teachers and find inspiration to pass on to my students. The professional development is second-­‐to-­‐none. The collaborative classes are a fun way to try new things and exchange new teaching/lesson ideas with teachers of all ages and skill levels. I think I have only missed  one of the classes. While I wait to see what new classes will be offered, I have done quite a few of the self-­‐paced workshops. They are quick refreshers; I always come away with a new idea to try.

Picture of Me GOOD croppedHow has the Adobe Education Exchange benefitted you? How do you think it can benefit others?

The Adobe Education Exchange has made a big difference in my teaching, my professional connections, and my software skills. The only thing that comes close is Adobe TV, but that’s another story.

I have shared 225 posts so far on the Education Exchange. I gladly share everything I do in the classroom because I believe that teaching is not about coveting personal success but about spreading success to every student everywhere. By sharing and collaborating, teachers can bring more to the classroom and help students realize their dreams.

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200,000 Educators Transforming Learning on The Adobe Education Exchange

Yesterday, the Adobe Education Exchange (AEE) welcomed our 200,000th member. With your continued commitment and enthusiasm, we’re growing the AEE into the largest community of creative educators in the world — a place where you can find learning opportunities and teaching materials as well as fellow professionals with whom you can connect and kick around ideas. So, thanks. We’re extremely grateful for you.

Some fun facts and recent highlights about the Adobe Education Exchange:

  • The second 100,000 members joined twice as fast as the first 100,000. A new member joins every 6 ½ minutes.
  • More than 6,000 educators enrolled in a recent course on Digital Creativity.
  • AEE members hail from 208 countries.
  • Members are rewarded through a gamification system that has awarded 3.2 million points and 440,000 badges so far.

Beyond this member milestone, the bigger story is the shared effort to train and equip educators to ignite creativity in classrooms across the world. With your desire to learn, willingness to share and collaborate, and enthusiasm for all things creativity, AEE members like you are collectively transforming learning.

“There is no other place on the Internet where I can find so many opportunities to connect with other teachers and find inspiration to pass on to my students. The professional development is second-to-none. By sharing and collaborating, teachers can bring more to the classroom and help students realize their dreams.”

Judy Durkin, International Bilingual School, Tainan, Taiwan

Join us in celebrating this milestone — give yourself a pat on the back and toast your growing creativity. And there’s no better time than now to get more involved and learn something new. Join the thousands of educators who have enrolled in a course, taken a workshop or attended a webinar. It’s time to take your creativity to the next level.

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Adobe Education Leadership Forum 2015

By Dr Tim Kitchen, Senior Education Advocate APAC

The 10th annual Adobe Education Leadership Forum was held this March amidst the tropical beauty of Bali, Indonesia. The forum brought together more than 107 education leaders from 10 countries across Asia Pacific to discuss upcoming trends in education, emerging technologies, and the need to foster creativity in the classroom.

One of the themes to emerge from this year’s conference was the need to address the rise of a digital world powered by mobile technology and how classroom learning will change as a result. Millennials have a very different approach to learning and educators need to adapt their teaching styles to continue engaging this new breed of students. At the same time, the digitization of content means that educational institutions also need to change their strategies for engaging and attracting the best and brightest students.

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During the conference Adobe launched the results of its study, ‘Transforming Education with Mobile and Digital Technology’, which surveyed more than 1,000 educators from 13 countries across Asia Pacific. The study aimed to gauge the state of mobile technology adoption in the classroom and the importance of mobility and digital tools in education.

Surprisingly, the study found that far from being reluctant to admit mobile devices to classrooms, educators strongly believe that their proliferation is already having a positive impact, and influencing for the better the way instruction is delivered to students. While traditionalists may claim that mobile devices in the classroom can be a distraction, they are now in the minority with 77% of survey respondents felt that there was a positive overall net effect to having mobile devices strategically integrated into the teaching process.

The study highlighted specific barriers to the proliferation of mobile technology in educational institutions. Across Asia Pacific, educators felt that budget allocation (39%) and issues with integration of mobility with existing infrastructure (27%) were the top two crucial areas to overcome for faster adoption of mobile technology in academic institutions.

At the end of the two-day event, educators concluded that what was most vital was not focusing on teaching techniques or strategies, but instead ensuring the student learning experience was enhanced to capture the attention and imaginations of a new generation of students who have grown up naturally surrounded by digital technology and mobile devices. To them, swiping on a screen comes as a natural first response and educators felt that they need to better understand this shift in behavior in order to evolve their teaching curricula down the line. One often-repeated line at the conference was keynote speaker Dan Haesler’s urging to ensure students were “in task vs. on task”- in other words, making sure that students were fully immersed in their learning experience as opposed to ticking off checkboxes on a list of things that need to be done.

 

Watch recorded sessions from the Education Forum – http://new.livestream.com/WilkarProductions/AdobeEducationForum15

Here’s a 60 second video summary of the forum – https://vimeo.com/123374861

You can reach out to @timkitchen on Twitter

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