Posts in Category "Uncategorized"

August 8, 2011

Adobe Education Exchange Announces The 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards

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
Primary/Secondary 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!

6:06 PM Permalink
June 30, 2011


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 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?

10:52 AM Permalink
May 5, 2011

Business Professionals Of America National Conference, Washington DC

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.


7:10 AM Permalink
April 28, 2011

STEM Grant Complete

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  – check it in a few days.

And now… time for Finals….



1:52 AM Permalink
March 26, 2011

Photoshop(CS5) Session at ASU Polytechnic

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.

1:13 AM Permalink
February 24, 2011

Digital Publishing Suite for Education

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.


Current situation:


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.


Proposed solution:


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.


Dan Armstrong

Director of T-Wolf Productions

Lake City High School

Coeur d’alene ID

Adobe Education Leader


10:16 PM Permalink
February 14, 2011

Why does K-12 Education and Higher Education need Adobe Systems Incorporated?

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.

Dave Forrester

3:53 AM Permalink
February 11, 2011

Rich Media Tools for Educators Equals Increased Retention of Scientific and Technological Concepts

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? : )

4:26 AM Permalink
January 6, 2011

Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional Bookmark

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:

Dave Forrester, Adobe Education Leader

3:20 AM Permalink
November 24, 2010

Adobe Connect 8 – Turn The 8 On It’s Side And Experience Infinite Possibilities

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…

Pricing Options

Connect Pro Review

Dave Forrester

Adobe Education Leader, Connect Shaman

1:35 AM Permalink