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August 6, 2008

Tip: Catchy electronic Portfolios

Acrobat PortfoliosYou can create digital portfolios easily with Acrobat 9. You can include pretty much any documents and also multimedia including audio, video and even your Adobe Captivate .swf files. The portfolios have a very professional look based on customizable templates and you end up with a single file you can easily distribute.

>> Watch a demo of the portfolio feature

Or watch a more comprehensive OnDemand eseminar (Acrobat 9: Share Your Ideas or Enhanced ePortfolios for education using Adobe Acrobat 9).

Educators might also want to review our edu pages for ideas on using the Acrobat portfolios in the classroom. Portfolios are a great way for students to collect and submit all their work of the semester and for educators to assess and comment.

 

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July 23, 2008

Tip: Easily creating video for use in Adobe Captivate

Visual Communicator to easily create video blogs or instructional videoIf you are interested in easily creating videos and adding them to your eLearning content or Adobe Captivate projects, you may want to check out Visual Communicator 3 .

It's extremely easy to use and offers hundreds of customizable graphics, music clips, and special effects to create video presentations that look like a television newscast.

Check out the features or download the free trial of Visual Communicator. It's a very fun product - give it a shot and your coworkers won't believe you created such a video yourself :)

PS: Another option is to go with Vlog It! - It's based on Visual Communicator but designed for video blogging. And it's only $29.

 

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May 28, 2008

What's new in Adobe Presenter 7

Please find a list of new features in Presenter 7 below.

 

If you are unsure about the differences between Adobe Captivate and Presenter, take a look at the basic comparison table. Please keep in mind it's a basic overview - I personally use Presenter for informational content (e.g. sales training on messaging, pricing, etc.) and Adobe Captivate for interactive branched content (e.g. new features, procedures, simulations, soft skills).

 

  • Video
    • FLV support in the slides
    • Capture video during the presentation and include as talking head
    • high quality video support
    • more video formats supported for importing video
  • Quizzing
    • Import questions from existing quiz
    • Quiz pane in output
    • Question pools
    • Question and answer shuffling
    • Bulk formatting
  • Branding
    • Replace Adobe logo with your own image/text
    • Customize colors
  • Office 2007 support (.pptx format)
  • PDF output

 

 

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May 20, 2008

Adobe Presenter 7 now available - only $500

Adobe Presenter available in online storeWith the recent launch of Acrobat Connect Pro, we also launched Adobe Presenter 7 as a standalone product. Since yesterday, Presenter is available in our online store at only $500. We have a free trial of Adobe Presenter available and I recommend giving it a try if you have to deal with lots of PowerPoint files and informational type content. Adobe Presenter is extremely easy to use and does an outstanding job converting your slides with synchronized audio. Plus, you can insert Adobe Captivate simulations or demos to make your presentations more interactive.

Connect Pro also offers free trials. You can bring Adobe Captivate simulations into your virtual classroom and all attendees can now fully participate in the simulation learning from their own mistakes versus just watching a presenter.

Connect Pro makes synchronous interactivity possible - talking about engaging Virtual Classrooms!

 

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May 5, 2008

When is Acrobat Connect Pro 7 available?

I have received several questions on when the new version of Acrobat Connect will be available: The product will ship before the end of May.

 

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May 4, 2008

Acrobat Connect Pro launched!

Adobe Acrobat Connect ProWe are launching Acrobat Connect Pro, the new version of our web conferencing / virtual classroom solution (used to be called Breeze at Macromedia).

There are many breakthrough features in this release, especially when it comes to virtual classrooms where, for example, break-out rooms are now supported, or you can now edit your recorded sessions. Take a look at Connect Pro and Adobe Presenter (which you'll be able to purchase via the Adobe online store, as soon as it starts shipping).

The easiest way to experience the new version is by simply attending one of our eseminars > Register.

Adobe Captivate content in an Adobe Acrobat Connect PodAdobe Captivate is part of the Rapid Training Solution and there are many integration points with Acrobat Connect Pro, like direct publishing to a Connect server. Therefore, we will release a patch in a few weeks that fully supports the new version of Acrobat Connect Pro. Keep an eye out for the automatic update.

Congratulations to the Connect team - This release is absolutely amazing!

 

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April 25, 2008

Be on the cutting edge: Cool AIR-based Information/Support System

Free online training on AIR-based performance support systemsOur Sr. Product Evangelist RJ Jacquez has completed a free online training session on how to create your own AIR-based documentation or performance support system without programming. The training includes sample files, many links to resources, and even the download of the sample information system he built for Adobe Buzzword.

Imagine you could take all your documents, instructions, Adobe Captivate content, PDF files, and more and package it all up into an effective and modern system that installs on the learner's desktop (cross platform); includes full navigation with TOC, index, search, glossary, favorites; additional resources and more. Without programming and in about an hour - how's that for impressing your management!

Watch the free session Getting started with Adobe RoboHelp Packager for AIR

 

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November 30, 2007

Online Educa 2007 - Some interesting tidbits ...

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Online Educa is over and my brain is suffering from information overload. Here are some random notes from the conference:

 

  • It was a busy conference with 2,000 attendees and over 100 exhibitors from all over the world. The sessions can quickly be confusing to track with sometimes 6 different presentations in 2 hours. However - it forces presenters to get to the point ;)
  • I love the international aspect of this show - it's rare for me to meet so many people from so many different countries!
  • Many games and Web 2.0 sessions that were usually quite packed.
  • Due to meetings I didn't have time to attend any of the opening sessions but Andrew Keen (known for his book The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Truth), has been quite controversial based on the comments I overheard e.g. comparing bloggers with monkeys and raising the issue that more authority is neededAgent for etraining.eu for resources like Wikipedia. Haven’t seen too many blog entries about it other than Wilfred Rubens’ who titles his entry “I am an ape” :) (FYI: it’s in Dutch though)
  • Met Kevin Corti and saw some pieces of the serious immersive games his company PIXELearning develops. I wish I had access to some of these during business school...
  • Caroline Winning from eBay showed how they are using Questionmark Perception for their assessments and include Adobe Captivate simulations as questions.
  • Saw learning content by etraining.eu all  based on Adobe Captivate recordings. Watch a sample simulation for PowerPoint training. If you know Adobe Captivate, you'll probably recognize the animated highlighters. The Playback controls are completely customized. I also like how they are utilizing images for the mouse to help you see which mouse button to click. There must be hundreds of tutorials - great example of rapid authoring! (on the right you see their tutor Jennifer that guides you through the setup - it's all running with text to speech - not sure which engine they are using).
  • Enjoyed the presentation closing the participation gap by Prof. Karsten D. Wolf from the University of Bremen. Packed with interested stats on wiki authoring vs. usage.

 

Some Flash apps I have seen:

 

  • PebblePAD for creating online portfoliosPebblePAD - a fun way to create online portfolios. I enjoyed seeing this application since I am creating my own portfolio for the Educational Technology courses I am taking at SDSU. At 15 pounds/year quite reasonable, especially since it allows users to extract the content. So if you use it in an educational setting, your work is not lost if you decide to move to another system after graduating. It's easy to use and you can request a PepplePad test account.

  • Talking Letters – share your pictures with audio by adding your stories. Integrates with Facebook.

 

If you were at Online Educa, please comment your impressions.

I am off on vacation ... Bye for now.

November 14, 2007

Adobe Share accepts more beta testers!

Just heard from the team that they are accepting more testers - this is great news.
You can register here.

During the DevLearn Conference, I have heard again the request for a free online service to host eLearning content. Maybe you can turn Share into that?

November 2, 2007

Share now playing Flash files :)

Sweet - I just checked out Share and noticed that it's playing my Adobe Captivate file. Check it out.

PS: Hope to seeing you at DevLearn or the Adobe Summit next week. If you are planning to attend, please leave a comment. Would be fun to meet in person - I have several sessions including a breakfast discussion table Tuesday morning.

October 26, 2007

Technical Communication Suite Trial available

 

Technical Communication SuiteThis week has been tough on many people in our office but life is getting back to normal and we actually have some great news: The Technical Communication Suite just started shipping this week. This means, the trial is also now available on the web site. If you work a lot with documents, I highly recommend giving FrameMaker a try. Or, if you have a bunch of Adobe Captivate demos but don't know how to post them in a searchable way, try RoboHelp. All our trials are fully functional and available for 30 days.

October 5, 2007

Buzzword - Adobe's new online word editor

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BuzzwordAt MAX this week, we had announced that we signed an agreement to acquire Virtual Ubiquity, which publishes an online word processor called Buzzword. I signed up for the beta to take a look.

Click here for larger image

It's still a bit rudimentary compared to desktop word processors, but for an online tool with built in collaboration features, it's really sweet.

Here is what I like about it:

  • It's Flash based - so pretty much everyone with a browser can access, view, edit, and print the content. No need to get special players or viewers.
  • UI - it's cool. I love how intuitive it is - menus slide in and out and tool tips for the entire toolbar show up.
  • Speed - it's extremely fast to work with it and save files.
  • Sharing - at any time, you can simply share a doc with someone else and when that person is viewing it, you can see it. Real time collaboration!
  • Commenting - fully built in and visible to the other person as soon as you save.

  • Import and export RTF and DOC files - so you can easily get started.
  • History - it's easy to go back to a previous version.
  • Lists - working with lists has probably never been easier: there is a skip paragraph option so you don't have to go through a 5 clicks to remove a bullet or number and include the paragraph in the list item.
  • PDF support is announced as the first step of integrating the tool into our offerings.

Features I'd like to see in the future:

  • I am so used to styles - definitely something I want to see in the future.
  • Color picker (Adobe Captivate has one and I use it all the time).
  • Ability to insert .swf files - you can already do that with PDF documents.
  • The history seems to go into the wrong direction ...? Usually any timeline goes from left to right ...

Overall it's a nifty new tool worth checking out in the Web 2.0 world.

PS: I am on the board of cfive which provides funding for the Innovative Video in Education (iVIE) awards. We are still working on updating the website. Amazing program - check it out.

October 1, 2007

Free document sharing using Adobe Share


We just made a new service codenamed Share available on Adobe labs . It's a free web-based service that allows you to easily share, publish and organize your documents.

You can't preview Adobe Captivate .swf files yet, but you can still use the free service to share a project or output with others (I would zip the output folder up before uploading it). What I like about it is that you can always just have the latest version available so people don't work with or view old content.

For PDF files, there is also a document viewer you can directly integrate with your blog or website. I included the Share user guide :) It created the URL for the link and the code for the viewer automatically and I simply copied/pasted into my blog.

Key features:

- Send documents without email attachments.
- Access your documents from anywhere.
- View all the documents you have shared or received in one place.
- Post a link to your document on a wiki or blog.
- Embed a Flash® preview of your document on any website.
- Limit access to a document to a list of recipients.

September 25, 2007

Introducing: Technical Communication Suite

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Today we announced the new Technical Communication SuiAdobe Technical Communication Suitete which consists of Adobe Captivate 3, Adobe FrameMaker 8, Acrobat 3D 8, and the new version of RoboHelp 7. This suite marks a significant milestone for creating, managing, and consuming technical and instructional content. I am very excited about this release and would love to hear from you if you already used RoboHelp or FrameMaker for instructional content in the past.

We have developed a special page to try to explain how learning professionals, who are not yet familiar with RoboHelp or FrameMaker, can benefit from the suite.

Just imagine, you can author your storyboard in FrameMaker with its WYSIWYG interface and structure so you can export the XML to easily reuse it. Or develop consistent and customized jobaids and learner manuals by simply pointing to existing reusable content pieces.

Or use RoboHelp to create a context sensitive performance support system or a searchable knowledge base of your Adobe Captivate demos and then benefit from the server functionality (available as add on and provides search and usage data) to determine skill gaps or potential content gaps.

Find out more in our free online seminars that give you a good intro to the new suite. If you are thinking about buying Adobe Captivate, I highly recommend going with the suite instead (and when you call sales or your reseller, ask about the upgrade plan - most people don't know about it and it saves you a lot of $$ over time).

PS: Educational pricing is also available for the suite

June 25, 2007

Easily add voice over - without recording yourself!

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TextAloud screenshot to add voice over to Adobe Captivate contentMy friend Tricia at Qualcomm drew my attention to a low cost (only $29) text to speech tool called TextAloud from NextUp. She heard about it in a session at the eLearning Guild event last year.

It's a simple shareware tool that generates your voiceover from your text - copy and paste from Adobe Captivate and generate the MP3 file you can import to your slides. It's easy to use and I recommend you actually buy the AT&T voices - each is only $35 but worth it. You can check out the quality of these natural voices on the AT&T site.

What's In It For You:

  • include narration with different voices without having to find talents, especially when using multi-character scenarios
  • consistent recording levels on each slide and after script changes, which is difficult to achieve if you are not a recording pro with a pro voice talent
  • easy changes - you don't need to rerecord anything, just change the text and update the audio file*

Tricia said that she can do voice overs now in a third of the time it would take using her own voice.

If you know a good text to voice tool, please submit as a comment.

* There is a nifty feature in Adobe Captivate 2: When you import content, the library remembers where it came from. So if the original file changes (e.g. new audio), you can simply select the file name, right click and choose update.

June 11, 2007

Virtual Characters in Adobe Captivate projects

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CodeBabyI first started taking pedagogical agents seriously when I read Ruth Clark's book e-Learning and the Science of Instruction several years ago. The preliminary research evidence listed in the book was quite compelling. The fact that the performance didn't differ between a real character and a cartoon character opens it up to the many different virtual character tools already on the market. CodeBaby has provided me with an example of their characters by converting the Adobe Captivate 2 sample project. Take a look. Each scene for each slide is simply exported as FLV and inserted in the Adobe Captivate slide. A similar solution is offered by VCom3D.

I am just updating this entry: Here is another cool implementation from Vincent Buecher at VB Consulting.

PS: You can also generate characters using Oddcast - there might be some limitations though using it with Adobe Captivate as is since it generates a set of SWF files for each scene.

 

Update 9/25: You might also try MediaSemantics - they have a knowledgebase article on integrating their characters with Adobe Captivate