Archive for July, 2012

July 25, 2012

Do we have an inspiration gap?

Imagine a situation where you finally have something you and others have yearned for for years and yet it has now become common and people have become blasé about it. You struggle to get everyone excited about it, to find it relevant to their work and daily lives, to take advantage of it. No, I’m not talking about the right to vote in the US. I’m talking about Adobe’s great tools and technologies.

After years of conversations and negotiations my institution, Indiana University (IU), signed an Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) with Adobe giving our students, faculty and staff access to Creative Suite, Captivate, Lightroom and others. At first they melted the wires downloading it, but now it’s become commonplace. Sure the Fine Arts, Journalism and IST students are still in hog heaven, but what about the Business or Chemistry students? How can we make it relevant to them? Think of how well Mendeleev could have presented the Periodic Table if he’d been able to throw together a mock-up in Fireworks. And imagine how much more accessible E=mc2 would have been to the average reader if Einstein could have added an Edge animation to his landmark “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” paper.

How can we broaden the conversation about Adobe tools? How do we get our entire school populations to think outside of the creativity box? This software is not just about makin’ thangs purty. This software helps us express ideas – sometime simple, sometimes complex. It should be an arrow in our communications quiver. We need to help our communities screw in and turn on the lightbulbs of inspiration. These tools are for everyone.

How. Do. We. Do. This?

First, we need be sure the tools are up to it. Are they simple enough to use? DW has a nice drop-down list to change the layouts. Can you make a “for dummies” layout that gives you just the essentials and removes the finery? if Adobe can simplify the UI for the touch apps, why can’t they give us an option for a simplified UI in the desktop apps. Sure, we want to power, but only when we need it. The rest of the time we want simplicity. Imagine Steve Jobs designing an SUV. It would be able to 4-wheel up the mountain when necessary, but the rest of the time it would be a car simple enough for anyone to drive to the grocery store. Can we get reach those heights of UI simplicity for PS or IA?

Second, we need someone – the community? Adobe? – to examine the WHOLE education space, not just when the teacher is in the classroom with the students, and develop relevant examples to seemingly mundane activities for all to see. Adobe Connect for office hours? Not really flexing the muscles of the product, but it is simple, relevant and gets people using the tool. A time-lapse profit chart in a Business student’s company case-study report? It will not only blow away his professor, but it will give the student a deeper understanding of the content. It might even be their gateway drug to other CS apps… The list goes on.

I have the greatest respect for those who work and teach in the visual and creative arts. I am envious of their talents. However it is far too easy for the Adobe Creative Wow Factor, exemplified by their work and the praise it justifiably receives, to so dominate the conversation. It can seem unattainable to and shut down the imaginations of those who exercise less artistic pursuits.

We need inspiration. We need examples. We need to show a broad spectrum of use cases from across the academic spectrum. Adobe tools for the poets and scientists! Adobe tools for music and pre-med! Adobe tools for the researchers! Adobe tools for the secretaries! If the tools can be used by everyone (jury is still out on that question), then lets show everyone using them.

This may not seem relevant to you. You may be in a school where getting the software is a struggle. It was a struggle for us too. That’s why keeping it, by showing its ROI, is so important.

Stand up and be counted! Share your thoughts.

10:13 PM Permalink
July 20, 2012

Adobe Education Leader Institute and Adobe Edge


This coming week, from July 23rd through July 26th, myself and a whole bunch of other Adobe Education Leaders [K12] [HED] will gather at Adobe headquarters in San Jose for our annual institute.

During the gathering this year, there is sure to be a lot of discussion in regard to to both older and newer technologies and toolsets. I’m presenting a couple of sessions which revolve around the Adobe Flash Platform and gaming, there will be discussions around Creative Cloud, Touch Apps, et cetera. There will surely be sessions on Adobe Edge as well – roadmap discussions, workshops, and other activities will abound. In the afternoon on Thursday, AEL Tom Green will be presenting a 90-minute session on Edge which is sure to gather a large audience among attendees.

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on a giveaway with my publisher to coincide with the institute:

For those in the wider community that will not be at the institute, I’m going to provide a way to get familiar with Edge for the price of a mere tweet! I’m giving away three ebook copies of my Adobe Edge Quickstart Guide published by Packt. All you need to do is tweet your favorite feature of Adobe Edge with both the hashtags #AEL12 and #EdgeGuide – pretty simple, no? We’ll close the giveaway on Friday the 27th and choose 3 random tweets from the pool! Winners will be contacted through Twitter.

Here is the Adobe Edge Quickstart Guide:

“As a visual designer who loves to make things move and not spend my time coding, I found this book provided what I needed to get up and running in Adobe Edge. I even enjoyed building out some interactivity, discovering it isn’t all that difficult when taken one step at a time!” – K. St Amant

Also be sure and check out the FREE video2brain feature tour from Tom Green:

“Adobe Edge is a robust motion graphics and interactivity tool designed for the web universe, and in this workshop author and expert Tom Green shows you what it can do. You’ll learn how to create animations, add moving elements to a static HTML page, and create and use symbols. You’ll also see how Edge integrates with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks and how to use to use the Edge Code panel to add interactivity, looping, and code. A tutorial on using web fonts to apply typographic techniques to your work rounds out this quick but rich course.”

2:53 PM Permalink