Archive for February, 2009

February 27, 2009

Showcase: Palm Beach County School District featuring Adobe Education Leaders

Credit where credit is due – see how the 11th largest district in the country, Palm Beach County (PBC) School District in Florida, is helping to educate students for 21st century life. From CTE programs focusing on graphic and web design to innovative teachers bringing physic lessons to life – to new ways of educating a large and diverse district staff via online professional development, PBC is doing some amazing work. Most of all, thanks to some very innovative Adobe Education Leaders and forward looking administrators that make it all happen.
See for yourselves.

3:35 PM Permalink
February 26, 2009

Reflecting on TCEA 2009

I have to say, the 2009 TCEA conference was the best of ‘em yet!
TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) continues to host one of the largest educational related technology conferences in the US. This year’s Texas-sized conference hosted over 400 sessions and workshops and a slew of panel discussions. The conference also had more than 400 companies exhibiting their products in over 800 booths!
While the economy was taking a hit, the conference certainly seemed to be faring well. Over 8,000 education professionals attended this year’s event, and most of those that attended ended up spending a large amount of time checking out the latest technology products inside the “vending area.”
The Adobe booth was very well attended. The Adobe software gurus did an excellent job “wowing” the crowd as they demonstrated how to create PDFs, edit video, build websites, and do amazing stuff with digital images and print.
I stayed busy teaching Adobe-centered workshops throughout the week. This year I taught five workshops – and every seat was full! I was most worried about filling pre-conference workshops, as the onslaught of conference attendees tends to reach its peak toward the middle of the week. However, I was pleasantly surprised that both my early-in-the-week workshops (Adobe Captivate and Photoshop Elements) were packed full of eager-to-learn educators.
Toward the middle of the week, I had the opportunity to host two Photoshop CS4 workshops and an Adobe Acrobat 9 workshop. The Acrobat participants were amazed (as I still am) at Acrobat 9’s ability to generate student portfolios. I also noticed ear-to-ear smiles as they learned how to run the Acrobat form wizard to effortlessly crank out interactive forms – simply amazing!
Photoshop CS4 is always great fun to teach. I had to chuckle when I heard the gasps of amazement as the participants learned how to stitch together a folder of images into a panorama (File>automate>Photomerge). One guy exclaimed, “This just made the conference worth every dollar!” (Tip – you can also run Photomerge from Photoshop Elements – New >Photomerge Panorama).
Perhaps the fact that my lovely wife was able to join me for the final two days of the conference added to this year’s enjoyability factor. She has been making an effort to integrate technology into her 5th grade math class and wanted to pick up a few more tips and techniques. She asked her principal if she could attend and he gladly granted her permission. Let her story serve as a lesson – sometimes you just have to ask.
By Thursday evening I had completed my conference commitments and was looking forward to enjoying some of the great food and entertainment that Austin, Texas is famous for. My wife and I joined a tableful of other people at MariaMaria restaurant for a fine experience that consisted of great food, superb company, and a wonderful atmosphere. Thanks Adobe!
Make sure to include next year’s TCEA Conference in your 2010 itinerary. You will learn a heap of great information and have a blast while doing so.

7:16 AM Permalink
February 21, 2009

February School TV Workshops A Success!

Participants enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at how Amherst Middle students deliver live school newscasts using Adobe software at the Amherst Tech TV studio in Amherst, NY. Although it was a snowy and cold two days, participants made the drive from as far as North Carolina, Pennslyvania and Ohio. One even flew in from Belgium to take our unique workshop!
We began with a tour of the studio facility, and then discussed the basic hardware items needed to get started. Participants were surprised to learn that for only around $500 you can begin school newscasts using any classroom or office for a recording studio. School newscasts no longer require expensive hardware like years ago. Now any classroom can serve as a professional newsroom! A basic camcorder, microphone, and green sheet is all you really need to begin creating newscasts, classroom video projects, slideshows, and more using Adobe’s Visual Communicator software.
Everyone was impressed at how easy and simple the software is to learn. Below are the links to watch some of their first video projects made during our workshops. Thanks to them for allowing us to share with the world!
Visit our Workshops Calendar to see when the next workshops for Adobe Visual Communicator are offered. We’d love to have you join us, and learn just how simple and affordable Adobe Visual Communicator is for TV production, newscasts, projects, web videos and more.
If interested in Summer 2009 Adobe Visual Communicator Training and Workshops, please complete this survey.

11:21 AM Permalink
February 20, 2009

Online Professional Development Resources

Adobe took the time and listened to a few Adobe Education Leaders, Adobe Connect Pro Product Experts, and other points-of-view and developed a resource center dedicated to the building and support of Online Professional Development using the Acrobat Family of advanced software tools. The Resource Center uses excellent visuals and work flow strategies to develop and deploy a variety of scalable professional development models, which can be distributed over the web. Whether you need to create and distribute on-demand professional development content, deliver live professional development sessions, or deliver a hybrid of both models, you’ll find great help and resources within this area on Adobe’s website.

Professional Development Resources Link

Professional Development Models
My Profile

12:21 PM Permalink
February 16, 2009

Want to be a Connect Pro Superhero?

The million dollar question: How do I get audio from a multi-person phone conference into a Connect Pro Meeting Room? Well, I can make you the Connect Pro Superhero! The parts you need for the solution is a JK Audio – THAT-2 for around two hundred dollars, Computer, Connect Pro Meeting Room, Phone, Phone Conference Bridge, and RCA mini jack plug. The RCA mini jack plugs from the THAT-2 device into the microphone jack into a computer. The person who sets up the phone conference should be the person who opens up the Connect Pro Meeting room as the Host. First, the Host of the meeting should make the call and open up the phone conference. Second, the Host of the meeting can run themselves through the Audio Set-up Wizard to make sure the Connect Room is listening for the audio coming from the THAT-2 device. Next, the Host of the meeting can push the “Hands-free” button inside the Connect Pro Meeting room to start the stream of audio from the phone. I would make sure as the Host not to promote anyone, keep everyone in the room as a Participant because people who are promoted to Presenter or Host could also push the “Hands-free” button and mess up the audio set-up. If you must promote someone higher than a participant, make sure you tell them not to push any buttons! One last piece to your Superhero success, don’t forget to push the record button when you start the meeting.

JK Audio – THAT-2

Dave Forrester
Adobe Education Leader
My Profile

3:58 PM Permalink

What I’ve Learned from Presenting at TCEA

Austin, Texas. What a great place for a technology convention for educators.
For the past 5 years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching the two-day Web Academy at the TCEA convention. Educators from all over the state make up the class – and each brings with them a variety of skills and needs. What motivates Texas educators to enroll in this workshop varies. Some take the class because they are looking for best practices to follow for designing and managing their school web sites. Others sign up because they need to learn how to use Adobe software in order to train their own staffs when they get home. Whatever the reason, I try to throw everything I can at them for the two days we are together.
I’ve made my share of mistakes over the years – so each year I try to improve.
Here are my Top 10 Things I try to remember when I teach a workshop on how to use Adobe products:
1. Teach educators the same way you would teach your students in your classroom. Keep them engaged and constantly review them on the skills they have learned.
2. Give your workshop participants time to practice their new skills.
3. Provide participants materials to take notes. They will remember what they learned better if they take their own notes.
4. Never give your participants all your handouts all at once. You will keep your students attention much better if you spread out throughout the day the passing out of handouts and materials.
5. Try to have door prizes. Adobe is great about providing software for your trainings – so be sure to order it in time to have it when your training starts.
6. Make sure your participants know about all the free educator materials on the Adobe web site. I am always surprised at how many teachers do not know about the Digital Design Curriculum that is available in the k-12 section of the Adobe site.
7. Plan for the unexpected – especially if you are training in a lab that is unfamiliar to you. Just because the Fireworks Slideshow tutorial works great on your laptop does not mean the RAM- challenged computers in the training lab will produce the same results.
8. Be honest. It’s okay to tell your students you don’t know the answer to their questions. They will appreciate your candor.
9. Give breaks as needed. Six hours in a dark, cold lab gets uncomfortable fast.
10. Try to make yourself available when the workshop is over (I know this is hard.). Share your email address in case your students have questions later. Also, make your handouts available online for downloading extra copies when they get home.

2:16 AM Permalink
February 13, 2009

Stop Cyberbullying and a Few Reflections

On February 25th, in Washington, DC, WiredSafety will host the 9th annual Wired Kids Summit. It’s a day where the kids are the stars. They present awards to their favorite web sites that entertain, educate, and keep kids safe. They present research they have done as part of their Teenangels and Tweenangels training. They are on stage and the industry leaders, law enforcement, policy makers, and other adults are the audience.
This year we will be launching our Free Stop Cyberbullying tool kit. It is a soup to nuts resource collection to help schools and parents deal with a situation that is growing daily.
Our informal surveys of more than 45,000 students indicate that 85% of them have experienced or been involved in some form of online bullying in the last year. Yet only 5% of them have made their parents aware of it.
I’ve just put the finishing touches on the professional development portion of the tool kit and there is no way I could have come close to developing this material without Adobe support and software.
The professional development is unique in that it is not add-on curriculum. It is Web 2.0 training with ideas and resources for fighting cyberbullying woven throughout the lessons and activities that will help teachers and students achieve a wide range of national standards.
Rather than simply creating a written manual, Adobe Presenter allowed me to create and include nineteen different multimedia presentations that make the content come alive. But if reading is your thing, Presenter allowed me to include the text of the presentation as searchable notes.
When it came to creating tutorials on making and using blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, Adobe Captivate 4 allowed me to make ten video tutorials that show teachers the step by step processes.
Needless to say, we used Acrobat to create PDF files throughout the tool kit, and dozens of our WiredSafety videos, animations, and games that are included throughout the product were created with Flash and other Adobe tools.
Finally, I used DreamWeaver to package my material and send it off to be included in the final product that we will announce at the Summit.
This all started seven years ago, as part of a state grant program that funded twenty-one projects to improve reading and writing with technology. I was mentoring in the Atlantic City School District.
The grant required teachers to create a web site to document and disseminate their work. I had been using a program called 3DWriter, which I had developed just for teachers, and was having good success. Then, Marilyn Cohen, the visionary Technology Director of the district asked me to take a look at Macromedia Contribute. After examining it for about 30 minutes, I was sold. The teachers took to it like ducks to water. By the end of the year they had created more content than any of the other twenty grant programs.
The amazing work those teachers did with Contribute, helped me become a Macromedia Education Leader (MEL), and gain the support of a great company and a dynamic group of educators.
A few years later Adobe acquired Macromedia and the MEL’s met the Adobe Master Teachers. The merging of the two groups into the Adobe Education Leader (AEL) family created the most amazing and dynamic group of educators I have ever come across.
The support offered by Adobe and my fellow AEL’s has been exhilarating and nothing short of life changing for me. I’m sure it has had the same effect on many of my colleagues and teachers throughout the world.
Thanks, Marilyn, for introducing me to Contribute and thanks, Adobe, for all you do for me and my colleagues around the globe!

7:16 AM Permalink
February 5, 2009

Do Educators Want Connect Pro?

A little over 48 hours ago I released our first online Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional course on our district’s Blackboard system. I was curious to see what the response would be. In December we offered two stand-and-deliver (SAD) format courses and both filled up within 15 minutes of being released on our district system. With an overbook capacity of 24 participants planning on filling the room we thought we would be training a lot of educators, both administrators and teachers, on the benefits of Connect Pro.

Continue reading…

1:01 PM Permalink
February 2, 2009

Student Video Messages to President Obama made with Adobe Visual Communicator

To tie into 2009 inauguration events, my students created green screened video messages to President Obama using Adobe Visual Communicator 3 software. The concept was simple– if you had 30 seconds to talk directly to the President, what would you say? Since we couldn’t afford to travel to Washington D.C. we took a “virtual trip” and using our greenscreen studio made it look like we actually were recording our segments around town.
We were lucky enough to be featured nationally on and our local CBS and ABC affiliates in Buffalo, NY came into our school to cover this unique project.
Watch the introductory video segment below from our local CBS affiliate and visit our blog to view all student videos at

Interested in getting started with Adobe Visual Communicator in your classroom or school?
Visit for advice and resources.

11:25 AM Permalink