Author Archive

January 30, 2010

Connecting Teachers to Classrooms with Adobe Connect

Recently an intrepid group of teachers in Palm Beach County undertook a remarkable journey–a 6 day canoe expedition through the northern reaches of the Florida Everglades. Sponsored by a local environmental group, the Arthur Marshall Foundation, these teachers and their guides paddled from the north shore of Lake Okeechobee to the Grassy Waters Nature Preserve in West Palm Beach as a means to draw attention to the ongoing battle to preserve the natural areas that once predominated in South Florida, but that have been lost to development and agriculture.
As fascinating as the trip was, the teachers were able to interact with their students and with others around our school district while in the Everglades. Armed only with an inexpensive netbook computer, a wireless cellular aircard, and an Adobe Connect virtual classroom, the teachers spoke with their students each morning and answered their questions–making the experience one that hundreds of students could share and one that took the idea of a teachable moment to whole new levels.
In the 6 minute video below the teachers and students relate what the experience was like for them, and once again demonstrate how powerful technology can be when placed in the hands of talented educators.

5:21 AM Permalink
February 6, 2008

Don’t You Just Love It When You See Student Work Like This?

We’re ramping things up in our school district for one of the biggest events of our teacher’s year–our annual technology conference held every Spring.
You betcha. In a district as large as ours we have a vast audience to draw from, and this year we expect to have 2,500 teachers and their principals on hand for the big event.
So, what’s that have to do with student work? It’s the big design competition that happens to be one my favorite part’s of the big event.
Every year we hold an open competition for students to design the cover of the conference program, and this year’s winning entry is a real stunner. Created in Photoshop (big surprise there), the depth and detail of Javon’s design, seen here in a slide show view of the top three finishers, really pops and shows a wonderful sense of balance, scale and proportion. I can’t wait to see this one on paper!
I know Javon is dedicated and passionate about his craft (he finished second last year), and I’m looking forward to handing him an Adobe Master Collection and a small check as his prize for winning this year’s competition.
I don’t have any doubt in my mind which one he’ll be most excited about.

4:49 PM Permalink
November 30, 2007

The Future of Online Video in the Education Market

Jeremy Allaire, (the originator of a little program called ColdFusion), has published an outstanding treatise on the trends that he sees in online video. As a principal in Brightcove, one of the leading video delivery services in the U.S., Jeremy has a unique perspective on where video will be going in the near and long term. In Internet TV Platforms Come of Age, he takes a look at how the three major forces of community destination sites, ad driven sites, and network supported sites will all work together in the coming years to shape consumer expectations for online video.
(Thanks to John Dowdell for the link. JD is soliciting comments at his blog on this topic if you’d like to grab the ear of an Adobe employee.)
So, what does any of that have to do with education?
The key take-away for me in this arena is how consumer expectations will likely shift as the Web becomes more and more dependent on multi-media files of all kinds, particularly video, to engage and entertain consumers. In the coming years we in education can expect our own particular target audiences–teachers, students, parents, the community–to become more accustomed to an engaging experience that brings the world of the school right onto their networked device. How long will it be before parents will expect to attend PTA and school advisory meetings online? When will it become common place for teachers to record class sessions via video and deliver instruction to students who are absent, or who want to take an extra class, or instruction for students in specialized classes where instructors are scarce? I would argue that it will be sooner than you think, and based on the trends in the commercial, monetized space that Jeremy examines, we in education can expect to see demand from our constituents for similar experiences.
Jeremy also has one other gem that will impact education. In is summary he discusses the ways that the 3 forces at play will impact online communities and how they consume these new rich internet experiences.

One of the key insights from the last two years is that short-form online video does best when it’s placed in a context. The context could be created by pages in a website, comments from users, line-ups in a player, etc. Regardless of how it’s done, getting the context right means you can put the right video clips in front of a viewer, which makes everyone happy. We expect that contextual in-page video publishing will grow, and that it will be extended to slideshows and audio content as more and more rich media is brought out of silos and into the core of websites.

If your interests lie in how to better leverage the Web for delivery of content of significance in the education space this is an absolute must read.

3:45 AM Permalink
October 11, 2007

Merging Broadcast and Online Video with Adobe Connect

My partner in crime, and fellow Adobe Education Leader Lee Keller, have been working on a very cool project that blends the use of traditional broadcast video with the online capabilities of Adobe Acrobat Connect. Here’s a recap of our project and how we’re bringing these two worlds together.
When our school district purchased a super-size license for Macromedia Breeze two years ago we knew that one of the challenges we faced in spreading the good word about what this new transformative technology was that many people in education were just not that familiar with how online, collaborative meetings might be used in education. As part of our viral marketing campaign we launched The Palm Breeze Cafe, a weekly online “show” where members of our team discussed educational technology tools with any teachers or school media specialists who cared to tune in. What we found was that while the online presentation had a good turn-out, we actually got much higher viewership for the recordings of our sessions. Schools were replaying the shows to their staff and using them as part of their professional development program. Cool!
But Lee, being one of those people who is always trying to take over the world, decided that we ought to take things one step further. For this year we made this plan:
We would pre-record the show at our district television station.
The recordings would be converted to Flash Video and placed on our Connect server. (Although we still persist in calling it Breeze.)
The same recordings would also be made available via the regular broadcast network that our district owns. Each week we now run our own version of one of our old favorites, The Screen Savers show that used to run on Tech TV.
The same shows are simulcast by our local cable provider.
So, now we have four ways to use the same video content: Online via our live Palm Breeze Cafe show (so teachers can continue to ask questions and interact as they watch the presentation), directly into the classroom during the regularly scheduled broadcast times, on-demand through their browser via a web link, and finally, if they have cable, right in the comfort of their own homes.
Effective? Oh yeah, we think so, and despite not having ALL of the equipment in place the results are darned good.
But, I’ll let you be the judge of that. Here’s a presentation that Lee and I taped a few days ago where we put Google searches that our students might want to do up against the research databases that our district subscribes to. While this session talks about three different databases that we subscribe to, we also talk a bit about the problems that teachers and students face when they turn to Google as their first stop in doing research. (You’ll need to click the Play button in the lower left hand corner to get started. Oh, and I’m the good-looking one. )
Google vs. Research Databases

4:23 AM Permalink
July 27, 2007

Top Ten Tools for eLearning Practitioners

We had an awesome session yesterday with Silke Fleisher, Product Marketing Manager for Captivate, on the newest release of that particular eLearning application. Silke is always a terrific presenter and it was cool to see some of the new tools available in Captivate 3.
I suppose that has me thinking a bit about the entire topic of how eLearning content is developed and why a posting at Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies caught my eye. Top 10 Personal Favourite Tools provides a list from a number of eLearning practitioners from around the world and may reveal some new tools that you weren’t aware of. It’s interesting to see the many ways that different software and services are used to accomplish the same goals. Definitely worth a look!

9:43 AM Permalink
July 26, 2007

Lots of Love for Fireworks

Here at Adobe Education Leaders Camp we had an awesome session with Alan Musselman from the Fireworks team at Adobe. We had so many fervent Fireworks users in the room that for a minute I thought we might hog-tie Alan to his chair and force him to stay to talk with us about our favorite graphics application.
Alan finally escaped us, but not before we had a chance to see some of the ideas being floated around for the next version of Fireworks. Nothing that can be shared here unfortunately, but it was awesome to see what Alan and his team have in mind, AND to hear that Adobe is devoting engineering dollars into the next version of Fireworks.
Alan mentioned one of my favorite extension developers over at which I wanted to link to for the members of our group. There’s always incredible FW stuff there, so it’s definitely worth a look on a frequent basis to see what kinds of new things are out there.
Also, don’t miss Jim Babbage’s run down of Essential Extensions for Fireworks CS3 over at Community MX. Jim has a great listing there that provides a one-stop listing of some of the really cool new things that Fireworks extension developers provide.

9:05 AM Permalink

AEL Fearless Leaders

Props to our fearless leaders at Adobe for pulling off this week’s Education Leader’s Camp.
First up, Megan Stewart, Adobe’s Worldwide Education Marketing director and tireless advocate for digital design tools in education. You go Megan!
Next, Johann Zimmern, K-12 Marketing Director for the U.S. Johann is the get-it-done guy who wades in when problems need to be resolved.
And finally, Jack Podell, who heads up the AEL program and is incredibly instrumental in keeping things moving along with our little group.
Thanks so much! Now, if I can just get some good pictures of the two Lisa’s we’ll be able to have all of our incredible hosts documented for posterity.

8:27 AM Permalink