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