When teaching a beginning Photoshop class, it is very easy to elicit OOHS and AAHHHs from my students. Showing them a filter or an adjustment layer can set the classroom into a frenzy. Two weeks ago, in my Media Production class, we covered how to change a type layer into a shape layer (PS 5) and use the pen tool to create a typographic design. I could not get through the lecture because the students wanted to try it… like NOW! Last week, it was animation in Photoshop (Our department does not have AfterEffects). One of the students began planning a birthday animation surprise for her sister.
I love it when I get this type of reaction in my classes. It is something I strive to accomplish. As mentioned, it seems to be easily accomplished when teaching Photoshop. It becomes more difficult for me when teaching anything web related. I have been teaching our Dreamweaver II class for 7 years now. It is an eye opener class for the students, as I do not hold their hands as much as in a beginning class. I lecture and demonstrate a taste of a new technology, and then I set them free to learn and discover it on their own. It is a skill I feel is necessary because they will be on their own soon. As important as this is to a graduating college student, it may not elicit as many loud cheers for the technology they have been sent out to learn, as it can be time consuming to “master”. I do get very excited students when they learn that they can do it themselves.
My Dreamweaver II class does not teach where the buttons or commands are, or much that was covered in Dreamweaver I. The class is geared towards actually using the tool and discovering how to incorporate the new technologies out there, such as jQuery and web fonts. Dreamweaver CS6 has made this much easier for me, as it has incorporated them into the interface. So, this semester, I got a very excited group of students that came in with some extremely fun projects. And, it wasn’t Photoshop!
I brought in my tablet and demonstrated Proto to the class three weeks ago. When they found out the HTML and CSS files can be brought into Dreamweaver to work on, they again got all flustered and wanted to dive in immediately. The big question at that time was “Is there anything like that for the desktop, or do I have to buy a tablet?”. I could only answer, not yet, and I am not sure.
Then on September 24th, it was my turn to get excited when I attended the Adobe Create the Web tour in San Francisco. When I returned to my classroom, I felt privileged to tell the students that YES, there is a desktop version of the Proto tool, but oh so much better!
When I played the keynote video piece about Reflow for them, cheers erupted in the room! YES, real cheers. All of us are so excited to get our hands on this piece of software and give it a try. I have yet to cover the new Dreamweaver CS6 responsive web design tools. It may be difficult to get them excited over them. Reflow stole the show. That is OK with me. Yahoooo, YIPEEEEE, and OH BOY… even I am excited.
Keep it up Adobe, you guys are really nailing it with some fun tools for us to use and teach. Incorporating the most popular technologies into our favorite tools makes the teacher’s job easier, and the users very happy. When the job can get done faster, we love it!