Posts in Category "Adobe Connect"

March 13, 2012

Adobe Photoshop Touch and Adobe Connect Pro

Adobe Connect is still a solution in a major snow storm.  Rio and Judy can still collaborative even in a major snow event.  Safety, saving fuel, and the ability to re-watch a lesson are real advantages to Adobe Connect.  The ability to make some hot coco, put another log on the fire, and watch my son learn graphic arts while the snow falls out of a gray sky is a real blessing.  The next magical application is Adobe Photoshop Touch.  We are planning to download it this coming weekend for the iPad 2.  Rio is extremely excited to practice lessons on the go from Judy via Adobe Connect using this new kinetic application.  The next blog entry will be about Rio discovering Adobe Photoshop Touch.

Dave Forrester

1:45 AM Permalink
January 9, 2012

Swarm of Jellyfish – Procreate

Rio has been working on making jellyfish for the past couple of months.  He is beginning to master creating layers in Photoshop.  His latest creation, he calls, “Swarm of Jellyfish” was created with a new art tool,  Procreate for the iPad 2.  The program only cost 4.99, just as much as a jellyfish sticker book, but a lot more robust.   Rio works really fast.  This is what I really like about Procreate.  Procreate can keep up with Rio.  He uses a Bamboo Stylus at  blazing speeds.  He can modify the brush sizes, opacity, and type of brush in a matter of seconds.  All of his digital art lesson have been thanks to the use of Adobe Connect.  Judy Durkin continues to teach him via Adobe Connect through the internet.  Rio has been transferring what he is learning in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and now is applying his art skills to new programs like Procreate.  I like that Procreate can load new artwork in HD (1920 X 1408) format, send out through email in PNG file format, and be Gmailed out to a whole group.  I have setup a family email group for Rio, so each time he finishes a project he can email the artwork to the whole family in a few minutes.  We are going to explore how to use the PNG file format out of Procreate and play with filters in Photoshop next.

Dave Forrester

3:57 AM Permalink
December 9, 2011

Connecting with Teachers

A few weeks ago one of our teachers I had trained came up to me at a science curriculum meeting and asked if there was any training planned for Adobe Connect Pro.  She had been in one of my training courses over a year ago and quickly became one of our most avid users.  Her IB class met for reviews before tests during after school hours and often collaborated with teachers and classes at other schools around the country.  She had colleagues at Suncoast High School (one of the top public high schools in the country) that were interested in learning how to do the great things she did with her classes.

Participants with cams test the system.

Participants with cams test the system.

I told her I would create one and invite other schools and departments that had expressed interest.  Within a couple weeks I had a class of 17 coming from diverse backgrounds and needs.  My class is run online through our Moodle installation, but the actually training is done completely through Adobe Connect Pro.  Participants log into the system and I use the desktop share to immerse them in the program as they learn about it.  It increases their comfort level immediately when they see how easy it is to get started.

Before our third class an IB Economics teacher in the course called me with some questions about Connect.  As we talked, she expressed that she wasn’t sure how she might use it in her class.  I told her about my favorite use, bringing guest speakers into the class via Connect.  We talked about contacts she had and found that a friend of hers works in the Federal Reserve.    Suddenly, the lights went on in her head and the excitement in her voice told me that her class would be doing many field trips through Adobe Connect Pro.  Recording a session like that can make the experience available for other classes and schools any where in the world.

A little over a week ago I was doing a short presentation about Adobe Connect Pro at another local high school.  I mentioned the free app for Connect and within minutes several teachers were raising their IOS and Android phones in the air showing the online meeting.  They were amazed that students that were out of school for extended illness or attending events could still participate in class with nothing more than a smartphone.

While Adobe has so many great products, I really feel that Connect Pro is the best educational tool in their arsenal.  With it you can demonstrate any program as we often do with our AEL meetings.  You can bring in guests to speak from any where in the world and excite students about topics with collaborative projects.  Adobe has also made some very great pricing structures for K-12, making it a bargain in tough economic times.

5:50 PM Permalink
June 25, 2011

Using Connect to connect with a real audience

For the last few years, our Grade 2 classes have been doing a project called “Great Inventions” which looks at the history of various common items, such as toys, bicycles, toilets and Christmas lights, to name a few. Each child picks a topic, then puts together a slideshow about it. These kids are only in Grade 2 (about 7 years old) so there are quite a good collection of research, technology and presentation skills involved in this project.

Last year, I helped the Grade 2 teachers rethink this task a little, making three main changes.

Firstly, we scaffolded the task a little more than it had been, getting the students to have only three slides (plus a title slide) – one that informed about the past history of the invention, one that informed about the present state of the invention, and the third which tried to make a prediction about the possible future of the invention. This allowed for a nice balance of factual research with some imaginative dreaming.

Secondly, we created a wiki that had a sort of “sanitised” collection of the relevant information that we wanted to students to focus on. Being only 7 years old, we felt it would be better if we pre-selected the information that they would find most useful. This meant we could then ensure the language was at an appropriate level, and it gave the kids a bit more focus on the information we knew they’d be needing.

Thirdly, I suggested to the teachers that the whole point of creating a PowerPoint instead of a poster or a printed document was that they should be presenting the final product to a real audience. In the past, the PowerPoint file was the end result on its own, but I really felt that if you go to the trouble of making a set of PowerPoint slides then you ought to be standing in front of an audience and actually presenting them.

To this end, I pushed for the idea of live streaming the student presentations out onto the open web so that parents, friends, grandparents, etc, could log on and watch their child present to the rest of the class. After carefully addressing the obvious concerns, letters went home to parents and the student presentations were live streamed using the free UStream service.  Feedback from parents was very positive.

A full explanation of the project from last year can be found here http://chrisbetcher.com/2010/07/redesigning-learning-tasks-part-2/

Following on from the success of last year, the teachers were very keen to do it again this year. When they approached me about setting up the live stream again I started to set up the same UStream channel, but I was dismayed to realise just how much advertising is now being inflicted on UStream users. Ads were being injected into the streams, and the UStream website has so much advertising on it that it’s basically unusable for schools.  I looked at other alternatives, such as Livestream, but without much success.

Then it dawned on me… why not use Adobe Connect? I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but Connect is a perfect tool for this kind of thing. Not only is it clean of advertising, it’s as private as you want to make it. We decided to still make the room completely open to guest access for anyone who knew the URL, but it’s good to know that higher levels of access security are possible.

We arranged a layout using the modules we wanted, with a backchannel chat, a live video window and also the shared screen of the student PowerPoint. This meant we were able to not only watch the student actually present their work, but we also got to broadcast a high quality version of their PowerPoint output screen as well. Because we had the Connect-enabled computer connected to the classroom Interactive Whiteboard, the student could simply stand at the board and present as usual, but the video and shared screen would both be broadcast synchronously with each other. We also used an external Logitech High Def eyeball-style webcam with a built in microphone, so the quality of the audio and video was quite good. It all worked really well.

As intended, the chat room soon became populated with parents and grandparents logging in to watch their little darlings. The positive comments from the chat room, and the fact that it was an authentic audience they were presenting to, were hugely motivating factors for the students. Every child that got up to present their work knew that it was not just their classmates and the teacher watching them, but a whole audience “out there” on the Internet. That sort of authenticity makes a big difference.

Adobe Connect was exactly the right tool for this sort of thing. As well as the fact that it was relatively protected and ad-free, it also allowed us much better control over the virtual presentation space, the layout, the participants, the backchannel, etc. The presentations were all recorded and archived so that parents – and teachers – could revise the presentations and watch them again if necessary.

The parent feedback was extremely positive. Within the hour after the first set of presentations, the Grade 2 teachers had received several emails from parents who were over the moon about being able to watch their child from their home or office, such as this one…

Thank-you for the opportunity to watch the presentations this morning through a live stream.
I was very happy as I managed to log on just as Ashley was about to begin! It was so impressive to be able to watch the wonderful presentations and comment at the same time. I did have to turn the volume up high on my speakers but it was good to see Ashley get up and she was looking forward to doing her presentation.
I think it’s a wonderful tool for the students.

And this one…

I just wanted to share with you & the girls that both my husband & I really enjoyed the webcast of the Invention Presentations this morning very much!
It was really wonderful to see the great work & preparation that the girls have put into researching their topics, & their Powerpoint skills are just fabulous! They could teach some of my team here at work a couple of things about clip art & animations!
We would love another opportunity to dial into the classroom one day.

For all the hoo-ha about students accessing the Internet and the supposed dangers of students being online, I think the results of this session with Adobe Connect, and the positive feedback from the parents, speak for themselves.

9:56 PM Permalink
March 17, 2011

Easy broadcasting from schools using Connect

Chick Cam Live LogoNormally a school’s connection with the wider world via the internet is primarily a receive model – great volumes of information demanding a faster internet connection with all of the associated filtering issues this brings. Sometimes a school will want to reverse that and start to broadcast - sometimes not to broadcast to the whole world, but to its own students, staff and the wider school community. My first experience of this came via something we called PuppyCam – a primary school teacher had a dog which was due to have a litter of puppies and she wanted the pupils in school to be able to see them in class. All that was required was a laptop near the litter, a webcam to peek over the edge of their box and a connection to our Buckinghamshire Adobe Connect server, and we were in business. A blog post more than three years old (slightly younger than the puppies in question) gives a little more information on PuppyCam…

Incubator

This spring a similar situation occurred in a school that didn’t take the initiative and ask – but on learning about the surprise Spring project for Year 2 pupils (aged 6-7) it seemed to me that our Connect server was again the answer. The Spring project was a delivery of an incubator with eggs in it – eggs which would shortly hatch into chicks, which would remain in the classroom for two weeks in total. The suggestion of broadcasting the incubator via Connect so that the pupils could watch them hatch in case the chicks decided to arrive outside school hours was taken up by the school, but there was a problem: no webcam. A cursory glance around the classroom showed an Avermedia Visualiser (document camera) which turned out to communicate just fine with Flash Player, and could therefore be used as the camera via which any activitiy in the incubator could be broadcast. Continue reading…

10:03 AM Permalink
June 10, 2010

Connect Pro K12 User Group – June 24, 2010 – 9:00 to 10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time

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Adobe Connect User Community
I would like to invite any K12 educator and/or any Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional enthusiast to The Connect Pro K12 User Group. We try to meet once a month to learn about how to use Adobe Connect Pro to: build a help desk system, host online meetings with telephone integration and recording capabilities, conduct long-distance interviewing for new positions for the district office or school buildings, build online professional development programs, develop online trainings, construct a framework for live recordings of teacher lectures posted to the web for students who are sick or need extra help, create a digital newsletter, design a web presentation, develop software trainings and simulations, collaboration and sharing of expertise beyond school district boundaries. The possibilities are endless when using the Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional toolset. Please come join us online once a month to create some space together for building partnerships, collaboration and learning.
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9:18 PM Permalink
April 25, 2010

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro – Presenter Only Area

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A handy tool within the Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional meeting environment is using the “Presenter Only Area.” The red arrow points to the button that turns the “Presenter Only Area” on. Once the “Presenter Only Area” is initiated, a large gray area will frame out the main presentation area. The gray area is found at the bottom and right hand side of the screen and is out of view of the participants. The picture included in this blog shows several meeting elements: clock, simple poll, presenter chat, and timer. The “Meeting Host” can drag each one of these meeting elements over into the main viewing area when needed. The participants will experience these elements appearing out of thin air, like a bit of magic. I like to create a “Presenter Chat” when I am co-presenting with someone. We can have a side-bar conversation without participants knowing, helping keep proper flow and pacing during a presentation. We can alert each other to make the next point, slow down or speed up without talking over each other. Also, I like to stage my presentation material in the “Presenter Only Area” and then drag it over when needed, making an efficient way to use space and time when making important points. I would encourage everyone to turn on the “Presenter Only Area,” and perform a little Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional magic with everyone in the room.
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7:53 PM Permalink
March 23, 2010

F2F Combined without Travel

I get a lot of requests for Face to Face training, often in situations where we already have an online course. Sometimes it is because a department or school wants it fast and all at once, but most often it is because of a comfort level they get having someone to answer their questions as they think of them. This is all well and good, but in today’s economy our district is pushing more and more to have training online. Most courses are asynchronous, taking away that personal contact that you get in the face to face classroom.
So, I am running an experiment the next couple months. I am meeting with my participants face to face, but online. The course will be training the use of Adobe Connect Professional. All delivery will be done using Adobe Connect Professional. This will immerse the participants in the product they are learning and remove the need for travel for both the participants and the instructor. My curiosity is whether online face to face will meet that personal need of participants that typically want to be in the same room as the instructor.
Let me know what feedback you have from participants on face to face versus online versus blended versus asynchronous training and professional development programs. I will add comments to this posting in late May after I get feedback from my participants.
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11:37 AM Permalink
March 21, 2010

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and Webcam Fun

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The Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 and Connect Pro can be the perfect pair for some real webcam fun. I was experimenting with my Webcam Pro 9000 and Connect Pro one day and noticed a “Video Effects” panel within the complementary software that comes with the webcam. The “Video Effects” panel comes with five Avatars: Green Alien, Cool Cat, Stripped Velociraptor, Blue Shark, and Stick Guy. My wife is a large cat fan, so I tried on the cat inside the “Camera and Voice” pod inside one of my Connect Pro meeting rooms. The software tries to calibrate your real face movements with the avatar of your choosing. I believe it simulates your face movements enough to give everyone a big laugh and smile on the other end of the webinar and/or meeting you are trying to provide to your participates. The Logitech website has many more free avatars for you to try on. I also like the “Dollar Bill,” maybe next webinar I will show up as a dollar.
dave_ael_picture.jpg

8:20 PM Permalink
March 9, 2010

Disco Balls, Music Players, Star Fields, Connect Pro, What?

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Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional is not your typical, boring web conferencing environment. One can throw a web conference party, bringing a disco ball and music into the room to celebrate a goal that a school district team has achieved together. The Acrobat Connect Pro Exchange has both free and cost friendly Connect Pro components, basically SWF and XML files that can be uploaded to your Connect Pro Hosted Account. These little extras can perform many exciting effects inside a standard Share Pod. The long list includes: “Talking Stick,” allowing someone to support multiple, high-quality, video streams in Adobe Connect Pro, “Connect Pro MP3 Player,” allowing for an individual Connect Pro user to stream music into their room, “Digital Timer,” keeping people honest in the room who like to ramble, “Connect Pro-shambo,” playing rock, paper, scissors if a difficult decision needs to be made between friends, “Connect Pro Clock,” showing everyone in the room their current time, regardless of the time zone, and “Footprints,” showing Connect Pro users a Carbon Savings Calculator which helps to preserve mother earth. The list is long and exciting, at the same time, one can go even further into the depths of becoming a Connect Pro Evangelist/Rock Star by accessing a pay site like, Flash Componets.net. One can purchase cheap, but stylish SWF files that can bring up the cool factor in the Connect Pro Meeting Room. So, instead of putting some “Bling” on for your next web conference meeting, well, try on some “Flash.”
dave_ael_picture.jpg

9:59 PM Permalink