By Art Wolinsky
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!