How a student used animated video to craft her principal’s school presentation

school house

When the principal of Lacken National School in County Cavan, Ireland, recently went on a business trip to Australia, he was planning to tell people about his school using a run-of-the-mill presentation.

Instead, he was able to show off some of his students’ art, the school’s accordion class, and even let them hear what it’s like to attend Lacken from an actual student – all thanks to an Adobe Voice animated video created by a pupil, 9-year-old Kate Riley. Rather than show a static slide deck, Voice uses built-in templates to animate text and images to create a professional-looking video.

Kate got pulled into the fun project by her dad, Tony Riley, a teacher at Lacken, who decided she might be better suited for the job.

“I thought it would be better if we got a child’s perspective of the school,” says Riley.

Having a child create a professional presentation may sound like a recipe for disaster, but Riley was confident Kate could handle it with a little help from the Adobe Voice iPad app.

“I had been using Adobe Voice with a number of younger kids in the school to help them create their own stories and was blown away by how easy it was for them to use the app and thought it would be the ideal tool to use,” says Riley.

One of those students, a 4year-old boy with a visual impairment, used the app to create a story about playing on his trampoline with his brother. He can’t write complete sentences, but the app gave him and other children in his class the ability to share stories, nonetheless.

“The great thing about Voice is its simplicity. The learning curve is tiny. My students and I were creating really professional-looking stories within minutes of picking up the iPad,” Riley says.

When it came to Kate, Riley didn’t have a lot of time to show her how to use Voice, so he gave her a rundown of the basics and left her with an iPad and her imagination.

The result was a presentation that included photos of the school’s programs and teachers that the principal could take with him to Australia. There was a soundtrack, too.

It’s something Kate and the school can be proud of, a trend Riley has noticed with all of the projects his students have worked on using Voice.

“Seeing the kids’ faces when they play back their finished stories, they are genuinely excited about what they have created,” he says.

See Kate’s Voice tour of her school:

Storytelling app helps students bring school reports to life


In the age of smartphones and video games, Shelli Thelen knows it’s going to take something special to get her fifth grade students excited about writing history papers.

After looking around for the perfect solution, the teacher at Paxton Keeley Elementary in Missouri said she’s found a great fit.

Students in Thelen’s class use iPads for part of their studies, and this year she’s having them use the tablets to create some of their school reports in a new way: using Adobe’s free Slate app.

The app allows students to tell their stories visually through photos and pull quotes and add their own creative touch to what might have otherwise seemed like a tedious project.

So, instead of just pages of text, you’re getting a document you can interact with.

“What I like is the aesthetic and rolling book feel of it,” says Thelen. “The embedded images and other possible media allow beginning users to create a professional looking product that is not only informative but beautiful.”

With the app, students can include images of the people they’re writing about and select different portions of the text or quotes they want to highlight. Rather than just read about Paul Revere, you can see a picture of him along with a quote from a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem about that legendary shot heard around the world.

Slate’s professionally-designed built-in templates handle all the heavy lifting from the design perspective, so students can just drag and drop things where they need them, and focus most of their attention on their report.

“The format of Slate is slick and easy to navigate,” says Thelen. That makes it something that even elementary school students can handle without training.

The final result is something that feels like a high-end digital textbook rather than something created by a fifth grader.

“It is easy to create, easy to edit, and the product is simply beautiful,” says Thelen. Who says school reports have to be boring?

See Thelen’s Slate for the Revolutionary War here:

Tips and tricks from adventure and wildlife photographer Dan Carr


Adventure and nature photographer Dan Carr is known for extreme landscapes and wild subjects. But even if you’re not waiting out wolves in the Yukon, you can still benefit from his tips and tricks for taking and sharing your best shots.


Carr says that every photo should tell a story. As with any good tale, it’s important to know what to include and what to leave out.

That means carefully choosing what’s inside the frame, he says. Don’t wait until you edit your pictures to crop out unnecessary elements. He also reminds shutterbugs to watch the horizon line and make sure it’s level.

“Framing your shots is all about inclusion and exclusion,” he says. “It’s about the choice you make when you look in your viewfinder.”


Whether it’s a person, animal or landscape, great photos always have a clear subject. Carr reminds photographers to avoid accidentally including visual distractions.

“You want the viewers’ eyes to land on the subject with as few distractions as possible,” he says. “Be aware that contrasts in tone, color, size and shape are distracting if they don’t point toward the subject.”


You’ve just returned from your vacation with a combined 500 photos between your camera and smartphone. Before you start posting your shots to social media, Carr says that you should make a distinction between which shots tell a complete story versus which ones evoke a pleasant memory.

When Carr edits his own photos, he keeps the ones that bring back memories for his personal records, then publicly posts the shots that don’t need a backstory to be fully appreciated.


Once you’ve edited your photos, you’re ready to really show them off.

Carr says the free iPad app Slate helps you produce and share magazine-quality photo layouts for viewing on any device. Until recently, creating such visually rich designs was only available to those with webpage coding skills.

“I love using the Slate app. It’s so intuitive, and I have a lot of fun with it,” Carr says.

“I didn’t need to read any instructions—it was pretty obvious how everything worked. It’s something you can really get into in just a few minutes.”

“There are so many people interested in photography, and now there are storytelling apps like Slate where you can easily bring in your photos and text to create stunning interactive stories that you can share via email or social.. “

Be sure to check out Dan Carr’s work on his blog and Instagram account. And see his Slate from his adventure kayaking through bear country.


Fast, Fun & Free Way to Honor Fathers!

Father’s Day is upon us and let’s face it, Dad’s are hard to buy for. Especially if the only suggestions given to you at the mall are “Great Dad” t-shirts, golf balls or BBQ accessories. Even better than all of these gifts, is a more thoughtful expression of your gratitude for your dad. Consider recording a Voice video message with your own narration or create a Slate story with your family photos and personal remembrances. It’s the fastest way for you to meet that Sunday deadline and give him a truly unique gift.

Watch one daughter’s Voice video tribute capturing what she loves about her dad:
Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 8.37.42 AM

Read this thoughtful Slate story, showcasing three things a son learned from his dad about fatherhood:

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 8.38.01 AM

What will you make for dad this weekend? Tweet your Voice videos using #toldwithVoice, and your Slate stories using #madewithSlate, and we might showcase your Father’s Day message!

The Meaning of Memorial Day

Many celebrate Memorial Day weekend, but the reason for the holiday – to honor those who have lost their lives protecting our country – is sometimes forgotten. If you’re curious about the story behind Memorial Day, take a few minutes to read this Slate:

Memorial Day

Do you have a friend or a family member you want to honor for their service? These are important stories that should be told. Tweet your Slate stories using #madewithSlate, and your Voice videos using #toldwithVoice to share their great sacrifice.

TEDxTeens Voice Their “Next Big Thing”

This year over 200,000 youth applied for a coveted spot at TEDxTeen in New York City. Two hundred were selected and they’re meeting on Saturday to celebrate simple ideas that can change the world.

There’s a great story behind every idea. TEDxTeen issued a challenge, asking teens to create one-minute videos that begin with, “It all started when…” — describing the moment they thought of their “Next Big Thing.” We’re inspired by these amazing Voice videos from around the world, demonstrating just how powerful one teen can be.

Watch Takunda Ushe from Zimbabwe talk about how he came up with the idea to give every student the right tools to thrive

Listen to Sanah Jivani’s poem about how she turned hair loss into a celebration of #NaturalDay beauty:

Check out Riley Gant’s quest to provide backpacks full of school supplies to children in need:

We’re rooting for each and every teen that’s taking a stand and making a difference in their community! Winners will be announced live at tomorrow. See how many more are making an impact here.

Do you have a simple idea that solves a problem where you live? Tweet your Voice videos using #CreateChange and join these special teens as they realize their power to change the world.

Make a greeting for mom – in minutes!

Can’t decide what to get mom this year? We have a quick solution: make her a Voice video or a Slate story! It only takes a few minutes, and she’ll love hearing your voice, or reading your words of appreciation along with fun family photos. There’s nothing better than a thoughtful, personal expression of your love and gratitude.

Need some inspiration? Watch one daughter’s adorable Mother’s Day Voice video:

And read this touching Slate story, showcasing an amazing mom:


Want to show off your awesome mom to the world? Tweet your Voice videos using #toldwithVoice, and your Slate stories using #madewithSlate, and we might showcase your Mother’s Day message!

Top 5 Tips to Help Your Small Business Stand Out

It’s that time of year for National Small Business Week’s “Dream Big, Start Small” campaign which celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit! If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner you’ve likely got some amazing ideas, but limited resources to get it all done. Here are five tips to follow:

  • Build a human connection: Connect with customers in a genuine way by letting them hear your authentic voice in the personality of your social posts, the messaging on your website, or share video content that helps to engage viewers.
  • Reach customers wherever they are: Create content with mobile in mind; many of your customers will access your website and read your emails on a cell phone or a tablet. Think of ways to share information with them that’s digestible while on-the-go.
  • Utilize design to give your business a professional look and feel: They say you only have one chance to make a great impression! We live in a noisy world, where you might only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention. Beautiful design will encourage others to take note of what you plan to communicate, as well as added credibility to your business that will ultimately help you differentiate from competition.
  • Move people to action: Once you have a potential customer’s attention, its time to drive them towards the next step in the purchase process. Make sure to provide a concise call-to-action with clear next steps.
  • Stay top of mind with customers: The more relevant places you share your message, the less likely you are to be forgotten! Keep your business top of mind and demonstrate how relative you are to their lives.

Whatever you’re selling, there are free iPad apps to help make your communication with customers simple and more importantly, help you stand apart from the competition. Whether you want to create an online brochure, customer newsletter or mini-website with Adobe Slate or a stunning animated video with Adobe Voice, these free apps help you look like a solid business with your own design and production team!

Watch this video about how a small organic produce delivery company, Eating with the Seasons, uses Slate:

See what you can create with these free tools. Tap on the example below to see a very professional-looking Slate story from a New York-based car service:


Voice has you covered any time you need to create an animated video. See how a small coffee roaster promotes their business:


Haven’t tried Slate or Voice yet? You can download them for free from the App Store here and here.

If you’re already using Slate or Voice for your business, we want to showcase your work on Twitter! Tweet us at @adobe_slate or @adobevoice and use #dreamsmallbiz.


Use Slate to Support Your Cause

We just launched Slate, and we’re excited to show you the different ways people are using the app. Like Voice, Slate is a wonderful tool for nonprofits. The app lets you easily highlight your favorite cause in a professional and engaging way – inspiring readers to donate, volunteer or learn more. Watch how one nonprofit dog rescue, Muttville, uses Slate:

Read a volunteer’s story to bring clean water to people in the Amazon:
Water is the Source of Life

See how Camden County NJ Miracle League explains their mission:
Camden County NJ Miracle League

Have you used Slate to promote a cause you care about? Share using #madewithSlate, and we might showcase your Slate story on Twitter, or within the app!

Introducing Adobe Slate!

We launched Voice nearly one year ago and what an amazing ride it’s been! We’ve loved seeing your stories and hearing all the ways you want to make your message stand out.

We’re still on a quest to bring you more super simple and fun ways to communicate with impact. Today, we’re incredibly excited to introduce a new member of the family: Adobe Slate for iPad. Slate lets you turn anything you want to say – whether it’s a book report, a newsletter or your latest travel adventure – into a beautiful visual story, in minutes. Bring your words and images together, tap on one of the professionally designed, magazine-style themes and beautiful fonts, colors and motion are automatically applied! The good news is, you don’t have to make any complex design decisions. You can just focus on your story.

See what Slate is all about:

Your Slate story is just a link you can share anywhere and it will look amazing on any device. Check out these fun Slate stories.

A nonprofit promotes a special event:
Adopt a Dog

A photographer’s snowy adventure:
Tis the Season

Download the app today and share your Slate using #madewithSlate. We want to see what you have to say!

— The Adobe Voice & Adobe Slate team