February 14, 2011
We have been living with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind Act) since May 23, 2001 and now the Obama Administration is supporting Race to the Top to bring about education reform and improvement to our overall education system. I believe the Department of Education needs to reach out to more companies like Adobe Systems Incorporated to find innovative, creative and sustainable solutions to help all students to become successful. I think many of these educational reform policies have been focusing on only half the child, their left brains. I am tired of watching our education system repackage interventions through an academic scope. I hear we need great teachers by developing growth models and stronger evaluation systems, increase our academic standards, strengthen our math and science programs, develop better ways to test kids, and develop longitudinal data systems. I have been in education for about fifteen years now. I have worked in both a Career and Technical Center and a Comprehensive High School. There are millions of kids out there that don’t respond to their education system by only using half their brain. Adobe has created a toolset for teachers and students to help kids who like learning with the other half of their brain, the creative and intuitive side. I want to thank Adobe Systems Incorporated by developing tools, building professional learning communities, creating educational programs, and taking leadership by supporting all educators. I believe we need more electives for students in music, art, media productions, computer science, and photography. We should not be taking these away for more math and science. I think we need more Career and Technical Programs and CTE Teachers for kids. The Adobe Education Leadership Program has many of the best in the country and around the world. I believe we need to develop funding sources and education policies which build Career and Technical Education across the country. I think developing Media Productions, Commercial Graphic Design, and Web Development Programs as equal to developing STEM programs in middle and high school. I believe we should be working together (education and industry) to help support the whole child. Adobe Systems Incorporated and a group of CTE teachers and students can provide more solutions to close the achievement gap, curb the dropout problem and reduce emotional/mental health issues with students who are forced to use their left brain most of their time at school.
February 11, 2011
Today we take for granted ways of communication that were considered technically advanced just 20 years ago. An understanding of word processed documents, spread sheets and basic presentation software is considered baseline knowledge for a productive workforce and is currently utilized by K-12 educators. The current challenge is communicating effectively and in a way that encourages retention.
Increasingly complex computational science and engineering concepts need to be communicated to those we are educating in a rich multi sensory manner in an effort to engage and inspire further learning activities in these disciplines. The challenge today is that teaching materials have not kept up with current cultural approaches to gaining attention that are evident in the commercial and entertainment world.
Getting attention in today’s incredibly information rich world is akin to a competitive event. Educators need to develop media rich ways of presenting information in an effort to stimulate further interest in the areas of science and technology.
I am working on a summer seminar for K-12 educators to teach them new rich media ways to reach their students. We will focus on InDesign, Photoshop and Acrobat. We will create documents that contain audio, video, images and forms as a way to leverage current technology to connect with their students. I look forward to sharing my results with all the AEL’s – perhaps in San Jose? : )
January 6, 2011
One of my friends at Adobe showed me this cool idea on how you can create an Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional bookmark. The bookmark can be used in your Connect Pro Meeting Room. It is very simple to create by using Microsoft Powerpoint. Basically, you create a set of Powerpoint slides with a set of embedded links to different resources you want available on the bookmark. The trick is to create a thin slide layout, maybe 200 pixels wide to create the illusion of a bookmark once it is loaded from the Content Library. Once you have created the thin Powerpoint slides, then you basically load the bookmark from your Content Library into your Connect Pro Meeting Room. Have fun!
Bookmark Example: URL for Viewing: http://connectshaman.na5.acrobat.com/connectlinks/
Dave Forrester, Adobe Education Leader
November 24, 2010
I have heard of the term Adobe Software Evangelist in the past. I would not consider myself an Adobe Connect Evangelist, but a Connect Shaman. I am currently a School Counselor at the high school level. I am always intrigue and drawn to Adobe Connect because this tool is centered around communication. I believe if anyone wants to boost their ability to communicate with others in the 21st century then Adobe Connect is the tool of choice. There are so many different dimensions to this application around connecting with others. I enjoy the fact you can communicate and collaborate with your neighbor down the street or someone across the world. The ability to do live, synchronous communication, or make a recording so others can connect with you at their own timing is truly powerful. Adobe Connect 8 is the new version which was released this fall, 2010. I have begun to play and experience this new version and I am excited and impressed. The new version has a simplified interface, the pods have been enhanced, the audio and video performance has been improved, there is an greater ability to connect to Adobe Connect by using the Desktop Adobe AIR technology, plus there has been an increase in security and enterprise support options for the end-user. Lately, I have been uploading short video clips of my kids up into the ‘Content Library’ of Adobe Connect. The videos have been streaming smoothly back to me. I would recommend you signing up for the free thirty day trial and experience your own infinite possibilities to connect with others…
Connect Pro Review
Adobe Education Leader, Connect Shaman
October 24, 2010
Our Special Education Department has been trying to solve a communication challenge with the school counselors in our building. The process of building a unique schedule for each new student coming into our high school. The school counselors are responsible for building the schedule, plus making sure each student is being placed in the correct classes for graduation. The building of this draft schedule involves case managers, school psychologists, and school counselors. I decided to build a communication device in Adobe LiveCycle, a PDF form (draft schedule form) so each party could fill in their piece of a student’s schedule using a electronic process. The goal is to move away from random sticky notes, and pieces of paper and emails from case managers and school psychologist to a digital way to collect, transfer and store information on a student’s drafted schedule. The reason why I use LiveCycle sometimes to build a PDF form is because I like the look and feel of the application. It feels like I am in Adobe InDesign CS5 and/or Adobe Illustrator CS5 as I am designing the PDF form. I have built many forms using Adobe Acrobat, but sometimes I like to work in a fluid environment like Adobe LiveCycle. At the same time, I discovered I could “Copy” and “Paste” fields in a productive way. Adobe LiveCycle would create a unique field name for me, even if I was cloning the same “Text Field” over and over again. I think this is totally awesome! In the past, I would have needed to go back and created unique names for each field, taking a great amount of time to complete a project. Also, I discovered “Tab Order.” I loved the ability to create all of my fields and then have Adobe LiveCycle re-order my fields automatically in sequential order for easy tabbing through a PDF document. I would recommend Adobe LiveCycle ES2 the next time you create a PDF form. I am having a great time learning and using this powerful and productive application. Thanks again Adobe for creating such useful software for K12/Higher Education!
Dave Forrester, Adobe Education Leader
October 6, 2010
Linda Dickeson, Adobe Education Leader and Distance Learning Coordinator, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, NE
From an educator’s perspective, I have been anticipating the release of the new version 9 of Premiere Elements. For several years, Premiere Elements has been a popular movie making solution for education. It’s an intuitive video project environment for students from upper elementary school age through high school (and beyond).
At younger ages, students arrange media clips on a Sceneline, similar to creating a storyboard or slideshow. Older students move into using a Timeline with multiple video and audio tracks; keyframes for animation; and professional quality effects, filters and transitions. These experiences position students well to move into using Premiere Pro, Adobe’s professional video editing solution.
So why should educators be excited about Premiere Elements version 9 release? Among all of the various new features, here are a few of my favorite:
- The TOP of my list is that now Premiere Elements is available for Macintosh! For school districts or institutions supporting both platforms, having cross-platforms solutions that look and operate the same makes support and training much easier.
- You can share a final project by creating a Web DVD, which makes a Flash-based movie for the web including the easily created interactive disk menu (scenes and chapters). Upload the Web DVD to your own web site or Photoshop.com for sharing, making the project available to a much wider audience.
- Premiere Elements has enhanced support for HD video and supports video from newer camera types (Flip, DSLR, etc.).
- There are lots of new professional quality filters and effects.
- New Themes give you more choices for Instant Movies, DVD menus or Title clips.
There are great resources at Adobe’s new Education Exchange—successful lesson plans, activities and tutorials for multiple curricular areas shared by educators (sign up for your free account). Adobe TV has free video tutorials on every product.
If you don’t have Premiere Elements 9 yet and want to take it for a spin, download the trial and get started! Premiere Elements can be purchased individually or bundled with the new Photoshop Elements 9. It also is a part of the Adobe Digital School Collection.
July 21, 2010
The premiere educational technology conference, ISTE 2010 (formerly called NECC) took place In Denver Colorado this summer from June 27 – 30. The conference was THE place to be for anyone who is serious about improving teaching and learning to meet the needs of our students in this 21st century. Over 18,000 people participated in the conference. As common with large trade shows, the event was filled with workshops, speakers, virtual events utilizing things like webcasts and social media sites and of course, the exhibit hall with vendors galore.
My role at the conference was two-fold. First, I presented a 3 hour workshop on Video Production using my favorite editing software, Premiere Elements. Second, I hung out in the Adobe booth in my capacity of Adobe Education Leader, meeting and greeting educators from all over the world. Sharing our experiences is always enriching and leaves me energized and eager to get back to the classroom and try out the new ideas!
If you were unable to attend the conference in person, you can still experience some of the conference, as your own time schedule permits, in these ways:
Virtual webcasts from Denver, Colorado including other videos from other events such as last February’s HP Innovations in Education Worldwide Summit can be found here:
ISTE has created a NING community online for the conference. Just go to www.iste2010.org to read what’s being shared – or join and participate. It’s free and an easy way to connect with other educators who share common interests.
Tweets from the conference will include the “hasthtag” #ISTE10 (note: some people are also using the unofficial hasthtag #ISTE2010). Then point your browser to either http://search.twitter.com. You can also use a website that refreshes itself like www.tweetgrid.com or www.twitterfall.com.
Next year’s ISTE Conference “Unlocking Potential” will be held in Philadelphia from June 26 – 29 at the Pennsyvania Convention Center. More information about participation and everything else concerning the conference can be found at: http://www.isteconference.org/2011/ If you have never attended this major conference, or if you have been thinking about presenting, now is the time to start planning!
July 4, 2010
Hello fellow AELers –
I’ve been working on a new eLearning model:
Converging eLearning Media Model
Please see it at
Dr. Anthony ‘Skip’ Basiel
UK – AEL, London – England
May 10, 2010
In Photoshop Elements, putting a photo inside of words (or any layer object for that matter) is easy when students have a basic understanding of layers. A clipping mask allows a layer to assume the shape of a layer directly below it.
In this example, I started with a picture of a zebra taken at the zoo. The steps are easy:
1. Open the photo to be put inside of the text.
2. Add the text over the top, then size and format the text. A font with thick letters works best, and it doesn’t matter what color is applied to the text.
3. Since a background layer can’t be used for a clipping mask, duplicate the background layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer).
4. Move the duplicate background layer above the text layer. Don’t be alarmed that the text is now hidden!
5. With the background copy layer selected, choose Layer>Create Clipping Mask. (It will look indented with a little arrow under it.)
6. To see what happened to the upper two layers, hide the Background layer by clicking the “eye” icon (then go ahead and show it again).
7. To make the type “pop” off the Background, select text layer and apply layer styles from the Effects panel, like a bevel or drop shadow.
8. In the example above, a solid color adjustment layer was added (round black/white icon in Layers panel) just above the original Background layer.
To learn more about adjustment layers or see a video of this tutorial, go to my website on Photoshop Elements, what you didn’t know. Several video tutorials will teach you other fun things you didn’t know you could do with Photoshop Elements. Have fun!
May 1, 2010
The eighth Digital Learning Environment Event was held in downtown Denver, Colorado on April 29, 2010. The day started off with a keynote by William R. Kurts, Chief Executive Officer, Denver School of Science and Technology Public Schools.
Bill currently serves as the CEO of Denver School of Science and Technology Public Schools (DSST), a charter school management organization that oversees 3 secondary schools with plans to open 2 more in the next 5 years. They plan to eventually service 4,000 students. Bill was the Founding Head of DSST, the flagship schools of Denver Public Schools. He was named one of 25 champions of public education in Denver over the last 25 years by the Public Education Business Coalition. He also serves on the Advisory Council of the University of Southern California’s Rossier Schoo0lo of Education MAT program.
The first DSST school was founded in 2004. It started out as a school with a technology emphasis. There are now 3 schools with an emphasis on STEM. All schools are public with open enrollment-these are not magnet schools. One seventh of all DPS 8th graders applied for the program. Students are selected through lottery only so the selection is completely random. Campuses are generally 6-12th grade. The plan is to have 5 campuses in Denver by 2014.
The students are an accurate representation of all students in the urban Denver area, with 45% in the free and reduced category and 67% minority. The philosophy is inclusive, with an emphasis on the idea that everyone should be served well by the public school system. A video showed students that now take pride is being categorized as “a nerd” and proclaim that “we affirm who you are-you have important gifts and we will challenge you and hold you accountable”. Another student noted in the video that, “Teachers let me know my own strength”.
Here are some amazing facts about DSST that were shared:
• 100% of the students that graduated for the last 3 years were accepted into a 4 year college!
• The District is of 6 finalists for the White House Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.
• The District has the highest results in Colorado in both growth and achievement
• The Districts low performing kids are outperforming all the subgroups of all students in Colorado
• The percentage of college bound graduates that have to take remediation classes are only 7%. Contrast this with 56% of DPS and 32% of Colorado State graduates.
The vision of the district is a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate. Bill emphasizes that every kids should have the choice to go to college. When kids have the choice to go to college, according to Bill, most DO chose to go. Right now only 1 in 4 has the choice in Denver. Only 1 in 10 students go on to get a college degree and only 1 in 20 low income students earn a degree. The goal of DSST is to get 64% of their students to earn their degrees.
Can DSST transform DPS? Is it hopelessly naïve or realistically achievable? Bill’s enthusiasm, passion and devotion to the cause are amazing and admirable. It will be interesting to watch the district in the next few years.
Bill also noted that the move toward 1:1 computing is inevitable. It is a core principal in the districts design. Mobile, multi-media based learning will supplement traditional classroom instruction eventually. We need to make a commitment to get to 1:1. It will be an integral part of everything that we do at school. He explained that every student, regardless of race or background, has better technology in their pockets than most students have in their computer labs. Further, it is his observation that everyone uses cell phones regardless of the income level.
Bill also emphasized that technology is not the only way to deliver instruction but it can support traditional approaches and make them much better.
DSST has hp laptops for every student. The program was birthed with generous grants from hp and overtime has transitioned to being funded by the district’s general fund. Students are charged a tech fee of $150 per year with allowances made for those students who are not able to pay. There is a self insurance program in place with student deductibles and fees if loss or damage occurs.
These were noted as pre-conditions for success:
• Clear measurable goals
• Strong school culture (embrace change, get adults to see the power of the changes and be willing to be learners, a learning culture is alive in the school, the vision that supports the overall goals and vision of the school)
• Teachers and staff are learners first
• An organizational vision that incorporates technology, but doe not make the technology the “end”
The program creates a personalized learning environment. On a daily basis technology is used as needed to achieve the goals for the day. That might mean 100% of the time or less. It is powerfully used in both the educational and administrative processes. Individualized instruction through data collection and analysis is used to drive instruction. Classes are projects based and electives include film, bridge building, simulations in physics and other powerful STEM learning activities. The technology in the hands of the students allows them to drive their own instruction. The district also uses Camtasia software to record lessons so that students can replay instructions as needed.
Bill ended his presentation with some questions. 1:1-what is it? What does is look like? What will it look like in the future? Tablets, cell phones, readers, etc are all changing so rapidly that we can’t know for sure what they will look like in the near future. What we do know that we have to make this work; we have to rise to the challenge, because our kid’s futures depend on it.
There are two FREE remaining DLE events coming to a city near you:
Minneapolis – May 5, 2010
Raleigh-Durham – May 11, 2010
Find out more and to register for the events, visit: http://www.guide2digitallearning.com