Another session done! This one involved middle school. It was great to teach science and technology via photography. And as always, great fun to show off what Photoshop can do.
Posts in Category "Uncategorized"
Metaphorically speaking, a dinosaur is any entity lacking the capacity to adapt to environmental changes in a timely fashion. While a dinosaur may well possess the ability to adapt it may be an unfortunate accident of biology or culture that predisposes it to an internal rate of transformative change that is relatively static compared to the rate of change in the environmental factors that, normally, support and optimize conditions for its survival. This inability to match the pace of change places the dinosaur at a competitive disadvantage that eventually pushes it to the margins of relevance and results in its eventual extinction—both literal and metaphorical.
No creature would invite change for its own sake and—humans being like most other creatures—expend enormous amounts of energy attempting to stabilize our situation and achieve a form of stasis that allows us not only to survive but to thrive in relative safety and comfort. We tend towards mitigating the effects of the unknown and the unpredictable and this requires apprehending and utilizing knowledge of the environment in order that we might exploit it to advantage.
Our ability to utilize binding symbolic language and symbolic artefacts and to fashion tools that—according to Marshall McLuhan—extend, enhance and accelerate our effective selves, creates a buffer between us and a natural order that challenges us with the timeless struggle for survival.
The fact that we will soon be uneasily celebrating the turnover of our biological counter to the 7 billion mark is a testimony to how successful we have been at disconnecting from or minimizing the risks that the natural order presents. One could argue that this disconnection could be better characterized as a complete domination and subjugation of the environment that carries with it a dire corollary for our long-term survival and that the technocomplex that we created constitutes its own environment with its own evolutionary pressures.
Iterative improvement and automation have resulted in the sort of hyperbolic innovations that engineer Gordon Moore predicted in the mid 1960′s. The rate of change is dizzying and poses significant challenges to our capacity for adapting to the changes they usher in. The explosion of new technologies, whose cycles of innovation and obsolescence relegate one to the status of instant expert or instant dinosaur in the blink of an eye, constitutes our greatest environmental challenge.
Having knowledge of one’s object of inquiry has traditionally meant being able to give a name to it—to plot its co-ordinates and assay and record its characteristics. This sort of knowledge has traditionally conferred on the inquirer a degree of power and control over their object of inquiry—it is a form of experiential mapping, if you will. However, this is not so easy with respect to characterizing much less predicting the evolutionary trajectory of our modern technological landscape. Mapping the contours of our ever-changing, ever-expanding information and techno-complex is intractable as mapping sand dunes or clouds—the particulars are so infinitely complex and changing that it defies linear, rational and concrete approaches to knowing. It is a phenomenon that has rapidly emerged into a quantum state where power comes from making sense of the relational dimensions between the elements of this complex rather than knowing the particular qualities or quantities associated with the constituent elements themselves. Understanding, then, assumes a holistic character where inductive logic gives way to deductive and intuitive processes that may benefit more from a metaphor or narrative thread with which to frame or anchor one’s understanding of the infinitely complex. This form of knowing differs from the traditional detached objective methods of scientific knowing. Instead, this form of knowing is experiential, immersive and, simultaneously, transforms both subject and object.
Consider that, in using a technology, you have changed the manner in which you interact with the world around you and this results in the emergence of new patterns of behavior, new modes of interaction, shifts in language, value systems and culture and we are irrevocably changed and the system within which this technology has been used is changed too. This implies that the relationship between subject and object have also shifted. In short we see the world in a different way for the simple reason that our internal value systems have dramatically shifted and the world that we inhabit has also dramatically changed. While we highly value information that is accessible and searchable many with the means to do so would pay millions of dollars for a highly inaccessible “original” painting by, say, Rembrandt, while few of us would be willing to pay for a digital version of it. An objects potential for ubiquity works in tension with its unique instantiation. An object that can readily be reproduced and reducing its value to near zero in a commodity-based economy where value is predicated on scarcity. The web-enhanced age in which we live is one of infinite abundance and, hence, traditional economic value cannot be derived from the objects produced in this ecosystem but, rather, from the relationships that it facilitates. While scarcity and authenticity are still significant arbiters of value today we see from the runaway success of social resources like Face Book
The age of now has oft been described as one of digital tribalism where the age of empire, standardization, control and concentration of power and influence have given way to chaotic and barbaric forces that truculently refuse to be defined and controlled by the old paradigms. We are advancing toward the past—almost medieval, semi-literate forms of informal, quasi-embodied social interaction where the emphasis is on the relationship—on being there (digitally) and participating in the conversation. It is Walter Ong’s Post-literate society or age of “secondary orality.” We are leaving the time where meaning was defined in terms of rational scientific constructs and entering a new epoch where our old science creates more questions than it is capable of answering—adding to an already infinite data set. We are entering a new mythopoetic age where it is pointless to look at the massive complexity of our modern technological and information ecosystem and hope to induce meaning and significance through observing it. What is significant is that we are not detached from it (as the old science would have it) we are caught up in its turbulence trying to keep our heads above water, as it were. The more sane approach would be to recognize that this leviathan chimera unleashes enormous pressures on us and to not ask what this means but, rather, to demand “what do we wish this this to mean for us now and in the future” and to hold it to account for this vision. We must not embrace technology simply for its own sake, rather, it should be subsumed in the service of our collective vision for the future and, in that sense, we are called upon to dream and to do so boldly. To envision a world where technology and information serves to nurture humanity requires that we come to understand who we are at our root and to what purpose must our hearts and our minds be put. These questions resonate with aspects of spirituality that seem antithetical to the project of science. However both science and technology have no life or no meaning without being grounded in the context of life—of attending and attaining to being fully human in a world that is rich, diverse and healthy and to this end all human projects should bend their respective backs to the task of enriching life on this planet and, thus, must be held fully accountable to this demand. Human health is linked to a complex web of inter-relationships that extends out beyond the human sphere to include the entire created order. Our evolving technological landscape has the potential to allow us to discover who we are both individually and collectively in relation to the broader world and to deepen the veracity of relationships that putative modern western science, and the tsunami of uncritical progress it unleashed, has unwittingly compromised.
Why Are We Here and What Are We Doing?
The philosophical perspectives/worldview that I outlined in the preceding paragraphs were not derived from gleaning through the tomes of savvy and erudite pop culture gurus (although I owe a great debt to Harold Innis, Eric Havelock, Marshall McLuhan, and Walter Ong and have enjoyed sharing insights articulated by the likes of Richard Ogle, Don Tapscott and Malcolm Gladwell), rather they came from a direct experience of some fundamental changes that I was experiencing in relation to my subject area and my relationship with my students.
Two kids, two jobs, home, cat, soccer practice, piano, and everything in between. I was sitting around in the living room with my kids one night. I was trying to figure out how I was going to pack in another activity for my son. My daughter is a singer, my son an artist. We started singing lessons for my daughter and my wife and I wanted to keep activities somewhat balanced between the kids. I could not figure out how I was going to fit in art lessons for my son. Every night of the week was already packed with family commitments, then lighting struck me, well not really, but a bright light came on in my head. One word echoed in my brain, “Connect!, Connect!, Connect!” Yes, Adobe Connect Profession came through again because I did not have another hour to drive around, gas tank to fill, snack bag to pack, but I had my Connect Pro Account, Phone Conference Bridge, Computer, Wacom Tablet, and the CS5 Creative Suite. I called my friend Judy Durkin who lives thirty miles from me and I asked her to be Rio’s fairy art-mother. She agreed to work with Rio twenty minutes a week. Yes, you are starting to clue in on what I figured out with Judy, no driving, no gas bills with my large truck, no meeting place, no cleaning the house before Judy arrives, well I did have to clean up behind the webcam. Yes!, art lessons from the comfort of Judy and Rio’s home each week. I setup the webcam, Judy and Rio arrived in the Connect Pro Meeting Room, we shared our screen and Judy asked for control of the space with Rio. I started the recording so Rio could re- watch the lesson several times before the next session with Judy. Adobe Connect Profession was my new parenting tool for the 21st Century. I will update everyone on how the new adventure is progressing with my next blog.
Dave Forrester, Connect Shaman
With the advent of mobile, pad devices and the app store phenomenon there has been a trend that has effectively atomized product offerings that range from the sublime to the ridiculous (the latter seem to be doing a brisk business). This move away from “fat boy” apps that do everything under the sun to a widget with a streamlined and focused set of functions results in a daunting universe of choice akin to walking in to a candy store whose shelves are brimming to overflowing.
With so much up for grabs it begs the question: “Where do I begin?”
Adobe’s Periodic Table of Applications is no exception. While the products on the Adobe shelves are substantial they ,too, are by necessity, ever-expanding. Even for a seasoned user, the choice of which products will get the job done, is a difficult question that requires considerable research.
I am attempting to lead a transformation of our design department that will deeply integrate digital workflows—particularly those in the mobile space—and have been stymied by the task of trying to make sense of which workflows and toolsets make the most sense for particular contexts. The fact that many of the product offerings have significant overlaps in function make this task all the more intractable.
I made this known to some of the Adobe team while attending the San Jose educational summit this summer. I had bemoaned the fact that there was a palpable need for a killer infographic that detailed all of the production pathways and tools that one should use for particular tasks.
It suspect that I came off as being rather naive to some of my technologically erudite colleagues. They informed me that there was no “right” way of doing things and that the nuances of each project required the aplomb of a Pebble Beach caddy in order to select the “right club” for the task at hand. While this may make sense for the seasoned professional, the fact remains that the sort of deep and latent process knowledge that many experts take for granted is inaccessible to the neophyte. I mused: “If only there were some sort of pre-application interface that could, through prompts, could ascertain the “WHAT” of your project and then present you with a number of scenarios for the “HOW” that would include workflows and tools.”
Imagine then, from a User Experience perspective, if all of our various expertise were to be explicitly rendered in a database that linked to a rich graphical front end, say, the very colourful Adobe Table of Elements. Imagine after answering a few prompts that branched down didactic rabbit holes of possibilities, the table of contents “LIT UP” like the letter board on Jeopardy! Imagine the pathways to production glowing in front of you, lighting your way from beginning to end!
I hope that Michael Gough, Adobe’s UX design head, has the opportunity to ruminate on this possibility!
Starting this week, educators can win great prizes by simply submitting their best projects, lesson plans, curricula, and tutorials. Prepare to be inspired!
The 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards will recognize and reward Adobe Education Exchange members who submit the most innovative teaching and learning materials. The community will choose the winners of the awards by rating and voting for each other’s entries. Educators can submit entries in four categories including:
Higher Education Digital Arts and Media
Primary/Secondary Digital Arts and Media
Higher Education Cross-Curricular
Grand prize and runner-up winners will go home with prizes like laptop computers, tablets, digital cameras, and the new Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 to help them continue to create innovative learning experiences for their students.
For more information on the 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards or to enter, visit:
For inspiration and examples, join or sign in to browse the resources on the Adobe Education Exchange. Also, be sure to follow @AdobeEDU and #AdobeEDUAwards for the latest updates about the awards. Get your creative juices flowing, submit your great teaching materials and win big!
An ultimate exam – can there be such a thing? If it is in a high school senior design class is the Adobe Digital School Collection up to the task? ABSOLUTELY – on both counts. My classes did it and the results were fabulous.
Our principal explained she needed a favour. She was the volunteer chair of our school board’s United Way campaign for 2011-2012 and she needed new posters for the campaign. The posters would be printed and distributed throughout the board (no small deal – we are one of the largest school boards in Canada) . I love authentic tasks. Having spent 20 years in ad agencies and design firms before moving into teaching I know the difference between textbook work and “real” assignments and this opportunity was incredibly real. Each year I have several students who are move into the design field in post secondary programs and for them to have first class published work in their portfolios would be fantastic.
To make it interesting I chose to do the posters as the final exam project in my senior design classes. Our provincial ministry of education allows us the freedom to create our final exams in whatever form best suits our courses and students and for me that always involves a practical design assignment. After all, we are a project driven, student centered creating, solving, building, testing and evaluating class so why not get the students to do exactly that as part of their exam. The challenge built in to this, however, is that because the poster assignment was being presented as an exam I would not be able to offer all of the feedback and assistance I would normally offer in a regular assignment. But – I had promised fabulous posters for my principal to use for the campaign. Would I be able to deliver as promised?
The software we use is the Photoshop Elements 9.0 (with Premier Elements 9.0, and Web Standard CS4 – Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash Pro). My senior students have repeatedly confirmed that this version of Photoshop is more than up to the task. So many tools and functionalities have been carried over from the CS4 version that it has become a powerhouse of its own. A full slate of layers functions – layer blends, clipping masks, layer masks – plus a broad range of colour functions and selection functions as well as a full range of filters means that there isn’t much you can’t do in this version. Obviously it is not the same as Photoshop CS4 or CS5, but it isn’t a pale junior version either – it holds its own and produces wonderful results. For high school classes getting into digital design I find it is a very accessible and accomplished tool.
A quick side note, should you chose to do this type of assignment – I helped many of the students with the words for the posters. We are not a creative writing class, we’re a design class, so helping them with the text really eased their concerns and allowed them to focus on what was important – their designs. Photos came from www.morguefile.com only – it allows users to use the images in almost any way imaginable and that was important to me since the school board was printing and distributing the posters and copyright issues could not interfere with this process. As part of this assignment the students also had to learn and meet the requirements of logo use for both the United Way and for our school board – yet another authentic element built into the project.
So – how did it all work out? My grade 11 classes created two posters each – one for an adult audience and one for a student audience (their choice of age range – elementary, middle school or high school). The grade 12’s did a similar assignment but had three posters to do – they also had to create a poster using typography (no illustration or photo). In all 200 posters were created – and I was delighted by the results! I presented the top 21 designs to our principal and she was totally blown away. She wanted to use all of them! Our superintendant was equally impressed and I was delighted. It had worked. A real task with a real client and a real deadline and real requirements. THIS was an ultimate exam – and in a few weeks I will learn which posters the committee has chosen so they can be prepped and printed.
One last important note. Like every other teacher I have students who bail part way through a course. It happens and sometimes you can try to overcome this but…. Well – apparently word got out to all of the students, including those who had not attended regularly, because every single student participated in the exam assignment. AND I am very pleased to say that included in that group of the top 21 designs were designs from the peripheral students. A couple of them had really come through and their work was exemplary. And isn’t that why we do what we do in our classrooms every day?
I am coming to you with this post after having attended a general session of 5,300 business students that took place at the base of the washington monument in washington! It was a site to behold, I am not sure there is a way to describe all that just took place. There was dancing, leadership, and life altering realities. As an advisor for nearly 63 students it is humbling to see such a site.
I want to take time and share while it is fresh. I did a workshop today about the Digital Publishing Suite. Normal attendance to the sessions are about 30-50 people. If you are really good an have a great topic it can get up to 80. My workshop was “From InDesign to the iPad, the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.” I had 220 pre registered for my workshop. They moved my presenting room twice. I found out about the mass that was coming only days prior to the workshop. I have been unsure if I am up to the task of being an AEL, if I am qualified, if I know enough. So with doubts in my head I went in to the session confident that I knew my software. In all honesty with as much humbleness as I can muster I did us proud! It rocked from beginning to end. I get too excited at times and it can detract but I was able to maintain my composure and really have a great session. They were turning people away cause there were no seats left 3 min into my session. I used some files that were provided by Adobe which worked great! It was the best session I have ever done. Not one thing when wrong, not one key stroke was out of place. I had answers that were fun and realistic.
The audience consisted of several state directors of Career Technical Education, Local Advisors, and students ranging from 15-40 yrs. the message to them all was CS5.5 and how it changed the way we interact with InDesign. Ooohs and Awes around the room. I am excited to share it with all of you this summer at the AEL Summer Meeting.
Last thing, I have been invited to meet with the assistant Secratray for the Department of Education While I am in Washington DC. I was asked to be one of 15 panelists to answer questions about education trends. I was chosen to provide insight about the current and future trends of technology education. I will let you know how it all goes on Friday. Please send me your thoughts and ideas about the current trends of technology education so that I can provide a collaborative answer from the Adobe Education Leaders. I would like to try and make sure our voice is heard.
We just concluded out Prime the Pipeline grant and it was great. Educators and students demonstrated the photography and video they did and proudly showed their Rich Media PDFs containing their stills, video and audio. They had a great time going “deep” into Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat Pro ! I will be posting the final video compilation of their images at http://photo.asu.edu – check it in a few days.
And now… time for Finals….
This community event turned out better than I could have imagined. We had people sitting in the floor to hear this presentation by Rick Miller. Although I have brought in Adobe and others before, this really brought home to me how important it is to connect students with the real industry tools they will encounter.
It’s also good for students to hear from others than their teachers from time to time. Adds cred to what we teach them : ) I am planning to do this several times a semester.
Digital Publishing Suite for Education
I had a snow day from school today and I listened to the webinar, CQ/CRX – Adobe Day Software Solutions. I realized as a new AEL that I have lots to learn. Daniela described it as trying to drink from a fire hydrant. I felt like the guy who walked in to a movie half way through and can’t find a spot to sit! Then I realized that I was not asked to be here to find a place to sit, but to make a place to sit. So I am making a place for myself to sit, maybe I am way off on this post or maybe I am right on. Either way I am putting my chair down and getting to work so let me know how I did for my first time.
I Watched a podcast from Terry White, Adobe Evangelist, a while ago and it was all about this great publishing tool Adobe Labs was working on. The idea was that you take an InDesign File and you can use this suite to bundle it and publish for the ipad. I was intrigued instantly and spent a lot of hours understanding it starting in about October. So I figured it out and got a document to work, it was so cool to see content I created on my ipad. The next thing I did then is obvious to anyone in education. I showed my students! We made fake magazines for Mega Mountain Resort (That’s a fictional place) It was the spring catalog and we integrated Multiple state objects, animation, hyperlinks and all. We used it to look at the new features of InDesign CS5. That all happened in early January. I had a student who enjoyed it so much that she offered to do an independent study to create a student handbook to be put into an app made to host materials from our school on itunes.
I am really not a programmer so the app thing scared me a lot. I was able to get in on the prerelease for The new Digital Publishing Suite and found that the documentation was easy stuff! They laid out every tool I would need to take my file from InDesign to the ipad, including a piece of software to make the app! But as it makes sense there is also a cost to using such great tools.
I have my student building the handbook and I am doing the research about the app when I find out that Apple is charging $99 a year to be a developer, they have a solution for free for universities offering degrees but not high schools. The new suite from Adobe has some pretty competitive pricing for the publishing tools, however if you are an educator, commercial business pricing is too much because you have no revenue stream to fund the endeavor. If you are making a magazine every month and selling thousands of issues then yes I think that the pricing is right on. However if you are only publishing say 5-10 issues a year with a subscription base of public education well the money isn’t very good, you do it cause it is what is best for kids and education.
I have a tendency to want to do things other people don’t think of. A lot of you have probably experienced that. I see the Digital Publishing Suite as an opportunity to teach students to create for mobile devices. For example our school newspaper only gets printed like every 2 months because it is expensive to print. But what if we could take that same newspaper already developed in InDesign and send the new issue out to an app that was installed on the kids mobile devices? What if they could access the student handbook and their teachers could post updates to classes all from the app. This could all be accomplished through the Digital Publishing Suite.
There is a lot of possibility there, however for now I only am worried about getting an opportunity to use the Digital Publishing Suite in my classroom. With the current price structure I see a major difficulty to offer this to my students. We are already planning to export to SWF and Interactive PDF for the school but an app that could be had in the Mobile World, that is what my kids are craving to learn. They want to carry their design with them and share it with their friends. They want to show of and let everyone know how cool this is. They’ll go home and pressure mom and dad to buy the software. Big props to Adobe for coming up with such a great tool.
I think the current pricing model has been thought out very well and is practically a bargain for big business especially if you only need one issue, in that case Adobe will build the app for you. But even if you need multiple issues they will provide the software to allow you to do so. Who knows maybe in the future we call it Appweaver! Just saying that would be very cool! For educators however the pricing model needs to be adjusted very slightly. I understand that business costs money and that your own app for your high school should not be free. so my suggestion is this. Instead of a monthly fee perhaps it gets changed to a yearly fee so that the educator can process one purchase order instead of 12. Perhaps that yearly fee is around $100-$300, myself I would pay $500 from my own class budget for the publishing and then it makes sense to pay for software as well. I think the rest of it all makes sense. At .30 cents an issue it seems fair.
So to wrap up I am totally excited about the new Digital Publishing Suite and I think it is going to fill a major need in the publishing world. The look on my students faces when they saw their magazines rotate with the ipad was priceless. Any thoughts about bringing the Digital Publishing Suite to Education would be greatly appreciated. I am doing a workshop for about 60 people or more at the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference and I could use any input that can be provided about Digital Publishing.
Director of T-Wolf Productions
Lake City High School
Coeur d’alene ID
Adobe Education Leader