Archive for September, 2010

Adobe in Education: An Accessibility Guide

In the UK the Disability Discrimination Act defis the equivalent of the Section 508 standards. Every education tender or procurement has to consider accessibility and so the information below is an invaluable guide to accessibility resources available within Adobe.

In recent years, the Education community has focused increasingly on making all web content accessible to individual individuals with disabilities. Adobe® is an industry leader in accessibility and supports the creation of outstanding web experiences by encouraging web developers to produce rich, engaging content that is accessible to all. Adobe has also been focusing on this important task by improving and facilitating accessible content creation and consumption with its powerful design applications and productivity tools.

The information below references resources on our website that can help educators and authors understand the need for creating accessible content for an increasing diversity of users and screens. Not only will content creators learn more about how to optimize their workflows and effectively design a document that not only looks good, but they can also improve the experience as all users on a variety of screens and devices.

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility involves two key issues: first, how users with disabilities access electronic information, and second, how web content designers and developers enable web pages to function with assistive devices used by individuals with disabilities.

For the user with a disability, the challenge is to identify tools that provide the most convenient access to web-based and other electronic information. For the web content designer/developer, the challenge is to remove the obstacles that prevent accessibility tools from functioning effectively. In many cases, these challenges are relatively simple to overcome, but sometimes the solutions require some additional thought and effort.

For more information on Accessibility visit: http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/gettingstarted/accessibility.html

I have heard of Section 508 and the 508 standards. What are they?

Accessibility policies vary from country to country, but most countries, including those in the European Union, have adopted standards based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). In the United States, Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act mandates that web content maintained by the federal government be made accessible to people with disabilities. This law is based on W3C Priority One checkpoints. Find more information at: http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/508standards.html

Where can I find the latest information about Adobe products and accessibility?

A great start to find out the latest information on Accessibility at Adobe is http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/. There you will find links and resources to examples compliance news, blogs, case studies, tips and tricks and more.

I have heard that Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader are very useful for working with and reading accessible content. Is that true?

Yes, unlike other PDF tools, Adobe® Acrobat® 9 and Reader® 9 software continue the tradition of providing strong accessibility support for Adobe PDF documents and forms. Acrobat 9 features a number of built-in accommodations for people with disabilities as well as support for users of assistive technologies.

Where can I find more detailed information about Adobe Acrobat and Reader’s roles in facilitating the creation and displaying of Accessible documents?

Are there any Adobe blogs that focus on Accessibility news and events?

Yes, visit the Adobe accessibility blog and join the discussion at: http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility/

Which Adobe products support and encourage authors and developers in the production of accessible content?

Adobe seeks to provide products that support and encourage authors and developers in the production of accessible content. The latest information on these products can be found by clicking on these links.

Where can I find information on other Adobe applications and accessibility?

For information on additional applications please visit the Adobe Accessibility website at: http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/

Did You Know? Adobe Facts and Figures

I’ve come across a few interesting facts and figures which I thought worthy of sharing. They show the extent to which Adobe technology has been adopted and are useful reference points for customers to understand.

Technology Adoption

  • 98% of internet enabled desktops run Flash
  • 70% of web games are built using Flash
  • 95% of internet enabled desktops run Flash Player 10
  • 75% of all video on the web is Flash
  • Over 30 million AIR downloads and growing

Adobe enterprise solutions are in use at:

  • All 10 of the world’s largest publically traded companies
  • 8 of the 10 global bank holding companies
  • More than half of teh top global insurance companies
  • 9 of the top 10 global manufacturing companies
  • 19 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies globally
  • 7 of the world’s leading national governments

To put this into perspective for education and students; Adobe technology has such broad adoption that use of these technologies to support teaching and learning is a vital skill for the future world of work.

New Release: Elements 9

Yesterday Adobe announced the latest release of the Elements Products:

  • Photoshop Elements 9
  • Premiere Elements 9
  • Photoshop Elements 9/Premiere Elements 9 Bundle
  • Whilst the announcement below positions Elements 9 for the consumer market, these are perfect products for all levels of the School market. As well as great new features (see below) both Mac and Windows support is available.

    If you have a strategic opportunity, don’t hesitate to ask the Adobe Education team for help. we’d be only too happy to support you. Here’s the announcement in full.

    The latest Elements products give consumers the power and ease of use to do extraordinary storytelling with photos and videos.

    Today, Adobe announced the latest versions of our market-leading consumer products:   Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and Adobe Premiere Elements 9. For the first time, both are available on Windows and Mac platforms.

    This line of popular products leverages advanced Adobe technology in software that is accessible to everyday users. The latest versions present groundbreaking features that enable our customers to create even more compelling photos and videos than ever.

    Delivering Intelligent, Accessible Features

    “With industry-leading products like Photoshop and Premiere Pro in the family, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are uniquely positioned to leverage the technology the pros use,” said Kevin Connor, vice president of Product Management for Digital Imaging. “Our goal is to deliver to our customers intelligent and accessible features that do all the heavy lifting, empowering them to share high-impact memories easily with friends and family.”

    The Elements 9 launch consists of three separate offerings:

    • Photoshop Elements 9
    • Premiere Elements 9
    • Photoshop Elements 9/Premiere Elements 9 Bundle

    Hobbyist users love to “wow” their friends and family with amazing photo and video creations – and need help to touch up a photo to remove unwanted elements or produce polished movies with themed graphics and music – but they don’t want to spend hours learning complex tools.

    The Elements line distinguishes itself from the competition in a number of ways. In addition to their superior Adobe technology and impressive individual features, these products offer complete solutions with which users can organize, edit, create and share their creative work from one convenient place.

    An Important Market

    Adobe markets the Elements products to passionate hobbyists and enthusiasts who want to do more with their photos and videos.

    “While they are not professional photographers or videographers, Elements customers want to achieve fabulous results. They tend to be the memory keepers in their families or people who love doing fun things to impress their friends,” said Jennifer Apy, product marketing manager, Digital Imaging. “They want software that is accessible and easy to use, yet powerful – with room to grow.”

    The hobbyist line is nearly a US $150 million business for Adobe – and growing. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are the #1 selling consumer photo and video editing software products in North America. Both are top in their respective categories, and Photoshop Elements holds about 80 percent of the market share in the photo-editing category.

    These products play an important role in Adobe’s overall strategy. The Elements line:

    • expands Adobe’s presence into a large market segment (consumers);
    • broadens our marketable base for up-selling our pro products; and
    • limits competitors’ market share, thereby strengthening Adobe’s overall competitive positioning.

    Photoshop Elements 9

    Two exciting new features in Photoshop Elements 9 – an enhanced spot-healing brush and expanded panoramas – leverage content-aware fill technology, which was introduced with Photoshop CS5 and is one of our most exciting innovations ever.

    Another new tool, the Photomerge Style Match, makes drab photos dramatic by analyzing particular characteristics, such as contrast or color tone, and automatically applying those qualities to another photo – enabling users to replicate any photo style easily.

    Other new features include:

    • Several new Guided Edit options walk users step-by-step through the process of achieving cool editing effects: Out of Bounds, for example, makes a photo element appear to leap off the page in 3D.
    • Elements users can now composite richly layered photos using layer masks.
    • For the first time, the shared Photoshop and Premiere Elements Organizer is available on the Mac platform, offering automated analysis and tagging so users can quickly organize, find and display photo and video clips from one convenient location.  

    Premiere Elements 9

    With this release, Premiere Elements 9 is available for the first time on the Mac platform. In addition, a number of new features make it easier than ever for users to create and show incredible movies.

    New features include the following:

    • In addition to hundreds of Hollywood-style video effects already available, users can now easily turn a movie into an animated cartoon. There are several options available to create a variety of illustrated looks.
    • Following popular trends, users can now import video clips from a wider variety of devices, including the Flip Video™ camera and DSLR still cameras, and can enjoy optimized performance when editing HD video.
    • In addition to enabling users to share movies on DVD or Blue ray disc, this version makes it more convenient for consumers to share their movies online, complete with DVD-style indexes and chapter menus.

    Responding to Consumer Trends

    The Elements line is so popular in part because Adobe tracks and responds quickly to consumer trends.

    “More people are shooting video with devices that may not capture quality audio, so we’ve included easy-to-use audio cleanup tools to help users quickly reduce background noise. We’re also integrating access to popular third-party services for printing photo creations, such as Costco, Shutterfly and Kodak, because that’s what users want to do,” Jennifer explained. “And given the popularity of social networking, we’ve also included, in both products, the ability to share photos and videos quickly to Facebook.”

    This aggressive focus on customers, in concert with Adobe’s quality technology and a regular offering of great new features, is a recipe for maintaining our leadership position in the consumer space into the future.

    Jumpstart Adobe Education Sales

    Join the Adobe Education sales & marketing team on Thursday 11th November in Central London and learn how to jumpstart your Adobe sales into the Education sector.

    Whether you already sell to Education customers, or are looking to enter this market during this day you will learn about the Education sector, how to target specific types of education customers and leave the day with all of the sales and marketing resources your company will need to maximise sales of Adobe solutions.

    Who should attend?

    Sales and marketing professionals within education partners should attend. Please note that all partners on the day will be given the opportunity to sign up as an Adobe authorised reseller of Adobe CLP (Cumulative Licensing Program).

    Agenda

    10:45 Coffee and registration
    11:00 Welcome
    11.15 Adobe Education strategy
    11:45 Adobe Licensing Solutions
    12:30 Selling Adobe solutions to primary & secondary schools
    13:15 Lunch
    13:45 Selling Adobe solutions to higher & further education
    14:15 Selling Adobe solutions to students
    14:30 Creative Suite 5 – Why Education customers are upgrading
    14:45 Education Marketing Resources including Partner Portal
    15:00 Close

    Dates and locations

    Thu 11 Nov 10
    10:45 am – 3:00 pm

    Adobe Office Regents Park, London
    Location details

    To register go to:    

    https://events.adobe.co.uk/cgi-bin/event.cgi?eventid=10184&country=uk

    Create Engaging Learning Resources with Adobe Captivate

     How Adobe Captivate 5 can help Teachers and ICT Coordinators create engaging resources for Students and Educators?

     Today’s students are immersed in an always connected, online world of digital content whether at school, home or socially with their friends.

     The challenge for educational institutions with limited resources is the creation of compelling content that engages the learner without huge costs in time and effort. How can that be done with the minimum of effort whilst supporting educational standards and the multiplicity of devices and form factors available today and tomorrow?

     The answer is Adobe Captivate 5.

     Schools and colleges are increasingly realising that bringing this kind of technology into the classroom can inspire students, making learning more fun, engaging and inspiring. With Adobe Captivate 5, it’s possible for educators, designers, teachers and professors to quickly create media-rich content without the need for any special technical skills or training. Why would the digital generation settle for anything less?

    The link below will take you to a customer ready PDF describing how Captivate can be used by educators to create rich, engaging, standards-based content.

    Captivate Article

    Lightroom 3 for Education

    Hugh John is a well known Education journalist and he has just published a very positive article on Lightroom 3 entitled: Lightroom 3 a cool solution for digital photo frenzy.

    Here’s an extraxt from the article:

    Photoshop Lightroom 3

    You’ve bought the new digital cameras, taken the students on a field trip and come back with more than 100 images. No problem. With hard drive storage so capacious and such good value it’s plain sailing… Isn’t it?

    No. Once a photo collection gets into the thousands – it doesn’t take long – you need digital asset management (DAM) software. Better yet if this software allows you to edit your image collection, either individually or in batch format. Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom is such an application.

    To read the full article so that you can upsell a Photoshop customer with Lightroom 3, go to:

    http://www.agent4change.net/resources/software/687-lightroom-3-a-cool-solution-for-digital-photo-frenzy.html

    Useful Links to Resources

    It’s surprising how many useful resources Adobe provides for the Education sector. I’ve summarised a few here that you can point your customers to and at the same time add value to the sales proposition.

    Teaching and Learning Resources for Schools – choose a solution, choose a subject or choose a product to get instructional resources for school customers. In addition this site provides links to training materials, success stories, online events, Adobe Education Leaders, and much, much more.

    Higher Ed Teaching and Learning Resources – choose a solution or choose a product to get a variety of tailored resources for Higher and Further Education. In addition this site provides links to online events, showcase materials, Adobe Education Leaders, Achievement Awards and many other valuable resources.

    Adobe TV: Students and Educators Channel – as the name suggests this resource offers a wealth of programs for students and eduators where they can see products in action and learn how to get the very best out of Adobe’s wealth of technology.

    Adobe Certification Programs – learn about the Adobe Certified Associate exams, how to become an Adobe Certified Test Centre and how these programs can open doors for students with industry recognised certification.

    Adobe Professional Development - eSeminars, on-demand Seminars, Live Events, Curriculum Workshops and Adobe online Training can all be found on the professional development site.

    These six sites offer a comprehensive set of resources designed for education customers, but they’re a well kept secret. Why not differentiate your customer proposal with links to these resources?

    Why Does Certification Matter?

    So, why does certification matter? How can it add value to the sales opportunity and increase the chances of winning the business?

    The Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) exam has been designed for the academic sector. It allows institutions to offer an additional qualification for their students that has real value in the world of work. In the US the number of students taking the ACA exam is growing exponentially adding value to the product sale and increasing customer loyalty to the Adobe product set.

    There are currently three ACA Exams with more to follow:

    • Web Communication using Adobe® Dreamweaver®
    • Rich Media Communication using Adobe Flash®
    • Visual Communication using Adobe Photoshop®

    The datasheet (link below) has lots more detail, but the main thing you need to know is that Prodigy Learning are the UK experts, selling and delivering the certification exams on behalf of Adobe. So any leads for certification can be passed directly to Craig Bewley of Prodigy – craig.bewley@prodigysolutions.com - and they will do the rest. The ACA Exams are an important initiative and one that UK customers are starting to ask about. The datasheet is a useful sales tool that can be passed directly to your customers for them to contact Prodigy Learning.

    Adobe Certified Associate Learning Solutions

    Government Commitment to Creative Industries

    What has this to do with Education you might ask? Well, the Government’s commitment to the creative industries ties into Adobe’s Higher Education strategy of “preparing future creative pro’s”. I’ve included the news story below, but this is a great conversation topics with HE customers reminding them of the need to support their students with the latest and greatest creative software.

    Hunt Outlines Commitment to Sector

    Jeremy Hunt speaks of the Government’s “big commitment” to the creative industries and its “tremendous excitement at the top level” about the potential of the sector.

    Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport outlines his commitment to making Britain a digital superpower by 2015, his concerns over piracy, and the need for a regulatory framework which will help to build a strong UK digital infrastructure.

    Thursday, 2 September 2010

    Speaking at an exclusive Q&A session at the IAB, Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport today spoke of the Government’s desire to support small businesses – what he called “the lifeblood of the creative industries” – and explained that the creative industries are at the forefront of government policy. Hunt also warned against “putting all of our eggs in a financial basket”, and instead focused on the importance of investing in the creative industries.

    Hunt praised the UK’s film, TV, music and advertising sectors and expressed pride that the UK is “probably the second best country in the world in the creation of digital content”. He also likened the current time to the Pax Britanica, the period of British imperialism after the Battle of Waterloo when the British Empire controlled most of the key naval trade routes, leading to a period of overseas expansionism. “The internet is opening up a new global trade route,” he argued. “If we get this right we will be very well placed for the future”.

    Speaking of his desire to give the creative industries a “central role”, Hunt argued that it would be essential for the Government to work on “developing the best digital infrastructure in Europe”. Hunt argued that the reason the UK was lagging behind other countries in the broadband race was that there was currently not enough investment in next generation broadband. “We are committed to Britain having the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015,” he said. “If we are going to allow our creative industries to expand we will need speeds to improve.”

    Looking to the future Hunt went on to explain that advertising would play a key role. “When accessing the internet on TV, innovations in advertising are going to be incredibly important.”

    As part of the Q&A session, Hunt took questions from a range of industry experts from media companies including Channel 4, Sky, Yahoo! and Google. Tackling the issue of piracy, Hunt explained that this was a major concern for the Government and spoke of “the need to create an environment where the marketplace can function”. This he said was “crucial for the creative industry to flourish”.

    Discussing the ASA’s recent decision to extend its digital remit, Hunt explained that he believed this could be a good thing for the industry. “This should be a positive step, providing it’s done in a sensible light touch way,” he argued. While recognizing that “parents have real and understandable concerns” about online advertising, he explained: “Hopefully this won’t prevent the emergence of new advertising models. We want to be the country where new models emerge first, not where they’re stopped from emerging.”

    On the subject of online privacy, Hunt argued that “the model for businesses must be transparency and openness with your consumers”. He also spoke of the need to “allow internet companies to make money.” Sharing his experience of working on Hotcourses – the internet based company he established in 1996 – Hunt argued that “it’s very hard if you’re setting up an internet company from scratch to monetize content”.

    Looking to the future, he also spoke of his desire to develop a more entrepreneurial spirit in the UK. “I would like to have a generation of more gutsy entrepreneurs in this country,” he explained, before going on to argue that this would only be achievable by making Britain open to trade with other countries. “The lesson of the 1980s and 1990s is that we need to be open,” said Hunt.

    Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the IAB, said: “The IAB welcomes Jeremy Hunt’s digital vision for Britain, in particular the Government’s focus on getting the right regulatory framework for the digital economy to flourish. Advertising has a very significant role to play in helping fund content and services online as well as supporting creativity, enterprise and innovation. We therefore welcome Jeremy’s support for the sector and his commitment to a light touch regulatory framework.”

    Education Demos for Customers and Partners: Captivate

    I’ve been thinking about how to build some ‘canned’ demos that we can make available to our partners to help them sell some of Adobe’s less traditional products such as Captivate, Presenter and Connect. I’m indebted to Steve Burnard who has created the first of these examples for me. Via the attached link you will find a .zip file. Download the file and extract the .exe from the package. Now double click to run. At first sight it appears to be a PowerPoint presentations of Adobe in Education, but then the clever stuff starts in slide 8.

    Steve has used Captivate to show how Adobe Presenter can add a quiz to a learning resource. All the steps are clearly tagged so that the resource becomes a training tool as well as a demo. Slide 9 shows how to add a video.

    So, if you like the look of this demo and think that others would be useful, why not let me know and we’ll see what else Steve can come up with. Feel free to share this resource with your colleagues and customers.

    https://acrobat.com/#d=eCLe314gLxgoPmQ0C*cCiw