Archive for September, 2012

September 30, 2012

Changing Digital Tool Sets and Education


Tools. Craftsmen love their tools. Without a proper set of tools, their jobs would take much longer, and probably would not be done as well. If you were to speak to someone who works with tools, they would tell you that they have favorite tools among their collection. You will hear a story about how they will use these favorite tools constantly, and utilize the rest only when necessary. The craftsman will covet and care for these tools, as old favorites just cannot be replaced with new ones and have the same feel in their hands.

When better tools do come about, the craftsman may give them a try. It may take a while, but the new tool probably will work just as well, and probably better than the old favorite. Suddenly, the craftsman has a new favorite tool, and has found that it saves time and produces solid work.

I spent many years working with hand tools as a jeweler. I have a set of favorite tools that are on the front of my bench. I have new ones that I bought along the way to replace the favorites, but they remain in the cupboard waiting for me to pick them up. One pair of pliers had been in my hands for over 30 years, the “needle nose” is long gone, ground down so many times to keep them sharp. One day I just could not get the tip into the spot I needed to get the work done. Out came the new ones and the job got done, quickly and cleanly. Out went the old ones.

My full time days as a jeweler have been replaced with digital media production and teaching the techniques. I have been having fun producing and teaching the skills to build websites, videos, digital graphics, etc. for over 12 years now. I have favorite tools and technologies for doing my work here as well (Ok, mostly Adobe’s toolset!). I have seen tools and technologies come and go during this time. Some of them I was very happy to watch disappear (Director), some I miss.

This industry is always changing. Learning never stops. There is always a new technology or “digital trinket” coming out that needs special treatment from us to work. Right now, our industry has been turned on its ear with so many new and evolving technologies that are coming out much faster than ever before. Technologies are here and in the hands of consumers that our current tool sets do not provide what we need to get our work done in a timely fashion. All of a sudden, I don’t have a tool (let alone a favorite tool) for some of the jobs I need to get done.

I am always studying to keep abreast of what set of tools are available so I can work efficiently and keep my students on the cutting edge. Adobe is providing its users with toolsets that are moving forward at almost as fast a pace as the technologies. The new set of Edge tools and services are indicative of the company’s hard work to provide the cutting edge tools necessary for today’s HTML 5, CSS3, and JavaScript environments.

I teach in a community college’s Computer Information Systems department. Besides Microsoft Office, our classes include web design/development and the study of computer applications. The Adobe applications our department focuses on are Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, and Flash (gone are Flex and Flash Catalyst). Right now, we are in a broil over how to proceed with our department and college web developer/designer certificates. It may take a student 3 (now with budget cuts maybe 4) years to get through the certificate program. Technologies are changing too fast to keep the certificates stable for that amount of time. If we do not change them, we risk becoming stale and out of date, providing an education that will not be what employers are looking for when the students graduate.

Our certificates dictate certain Adobe application classes are required be taken, with others as electives. When the landscape of application/technology choices change so fast, the certificates become out dated in months, not years. With the “death” of Flash as a web technology, Flex and Flash Catalyst were “killed” too. Flash I is still a requirement for our certificates, Flash II is an elective. Flex and Flash Catalyst are also electives. Our certificates are becoming “littered” with technologies that are not pertinent, and missing the ones that have become so.

The Flash platform technologies will not provide the job skills necessary for our students studying web technologies when they graduate. It is very difficult to ever know, in our field, what will be the job skills in 4 or 5 years, but we have to try to provide what we know right now to the best of our abilities. As of today, this is HTML 5, CSS3, and JavaScript. The release of Adobe Edge Animate this past week, with the offer of using Animate free for one year, should help to make the transition from Flash animation to HTML 5 animation a bit easier. The willingness of the instructors and curriculum committees to let go of their favorite old technologies and learn the new ones fast enough to keep moving forward is a key factor.

Schools and technology departments must make an effort to plan the new methodology for teaching the new workflows at a speed equaling the various technologies release, a plan to embrace the tools that will provide the modern skillsets for our students. The college’s ability to provide pertinent certificates will require some study and discussion to come up with an answer that will allow the fast pace of change.

Loving our tools means we love to work. Sometimes, even when it is so difficult, we must leave the tools we love and embrace the new ones. A modern web requires modern tools.

12:48 AM Permalink
September 26, 2012

Project-based learning

I am Chua Soo Han from Malaysia. I am currently a Multimedia lecturer in IACT College and I also teach part-time at Teras One Solution, an Adobe Authorized Training Center. Since joining the college I have been introduced to Project-based Learning; in short, PBL.

What we try to do here, is to get students involved in projects/assignments with real clients. I find this method interesting as it allows students to have hands-on experience with clients; understanding client needs and requirements; in turn help them to understand what they need to learn and research and thus prepare them to face the future with the industry (industry-ready) after they graduate.  I would like to share some examples on how it has turned out and how the adobe tools were essential in making it happen.

Project 1: Public Health Day
Client: Eulogia Community Center
What was done: Design a flyer for distribution and a banner and poster to be put up around the vicinity of the center.

The criteria for this project were to come up with a practical design that not only looks good, but also able to catch the attention of passersby in a short amount in time because the banner would be placed by the roadside in a residential area, beside many other signboards.  So it was very critical that important information such as the venue and date be seen by drivers and retained in a short amount of time.

Client Feedback:
I am so glad to have had the opportunity to work with IACT students,

Found them not only fun and joyful students, their creativity on the project can match corporate standards, even though they are only broadcasting students!


Looking forward to seeing them unleash their potential again next semester.

Pr. Perry

General Secretary of

Eulogia Community Center




Project 2: Brand Book
Client: City Square Shooting Gallery
What was done: Come up with a brand book that has a new logo designed for the company as well as a T-shirt design.

City Square Shooting Gallery had been operating for long time and it’s time they changed t heir logo and branding to suit the modern era. What they were looking for was a logo that could represent their company and match with their business principles.


Client Feedback
Working with the students has been a pleasure and a welcome change. Some of the ideas and designs submitted were eye-opening and refreshing. We look forward to seeing what more they can come up with as they advance further into the course. Always good to see how young minds work and perform as they bring different perspectives to the table.

Kelvin Lee
City Square Shooting Gallery



Project 3: iPad and iPhone Cover Design
Client: iGlossary
What was done: To design a cover for the iPhone and iPad that looks good and has potential marketing value.

Students were given the task to design and create an iPhone and iPad cover that was marketable to the target audience of the students’ choice.  They had to keep in mind the materials that are used to create the product as well as the mix and match of color. Research was required to find out what is the latest trend in the market today and why.

Client Feedback
Students were creative and passionate but still lacked the design knowledge; which was why they were encouraged to rely on library resources more in order to gain knowledge on design theory. Many potential students could be seen during the critique session and I personally think IACT can encourage these students to take part in various competitions. Students construct their own motivation based on their appraisal of the learning and assessment contexts. These influence the goals that students set as well as their commitment to these goals. Thus, it helps their motivational beliefs and self-esteem if they take part in competitions. It influences how students feel about themselves and affects what and how they learn. Overall, I had a good experience during the visit to IACT, interacting with the students.

Raymann Kuan,
Founder of iGlossary




– All projects were accomplished using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. It is not enough to just teach software skills to the students, but we must also show students their practical uses. The feedbacks by the clients (who also use Adobe products in their line of work) during the critique sessions have provided invaluable input to the students to better prepare them for what awaits them once they step into the real world.

– ALL students were only in their first semester. I believe that by the time they graduate they will be well equipped for the industry.


6:18 AM Permalink
September 15, 2012

Adobe Education Leader Summit 2012 Sydney



Day 1 (Orientation and Presentations)

iphone 6×6 panorama

The first AEL Summit to be held in Australia took place at the Kirribilli Club in Sydney over the 12th, 13th and 14th of September. It was an extraordinary gathering of new and existing AEL’s from across the country and included identified leaders drawn from the ranks of Teachers, Principals, Deputy Principals, ICT Co-Ordinators, Regional Advisers and Project Officers.

For me this truly became the most significant and valuable Professional Development event of my teaching career.  The opportunity to focus completely on the planning and development of curriculum support material aligned to the emerging standards for the National Curriculum and develop strategies and projects to support professional development for a range of identified stakeholders within the teaching profession with such an incredibly dedicated and talented group of people was a paradigm shifting experience.

Firstly a big vote of thanks to Matt Niemitz, Donna Magauran, Anna Mascarello, Peter McAlpine, Michael Stoddart, Paul Burnett and the ever-effervescent Brian Chau for the quality of support and/or organisation provided over the three days of the Summit.

To the AEL’s (Vincent Albanese, Susan Bell, Daniel Rattigan, Megan Townes, Jason Carthew, Brett Kent and Pipp Cleaves) who presented at the Summit, what more can be said?  Inspiring and accomplished; it was an honour to present alongside you.

Not much spare time in my day. Just wanted to put this up to acknowledge the quality and commitment of the new AEL Australian team. It’s not often that being a part of an organisation or team inspires a sense of pride for me, but it certainly has in this case.

And so……

Some of the impressive new stuff for me that’s not under NDA was Adobe Tutorial Builder for Photoshop. Very impressed with this plugin from Adobe Labs. I’ve downloaded it already and will be adding this to the tutorial work-flow as of now. Also taking a closer look at Edge Preview; some nice developments on the horizon here as well.

Adobe Configurator was another tool that has slipped my attention. Hiding in Adobe labs this little gem will enable me to configure workspaces for Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign with unbelievable ease.

There are some real surprises in store for Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements users on the horizon. Keep your ears to the ground for version eleven releases. Nice work Adobe.

See more here




2:07 AM Permalink