The nine and ten-year-olds in the Chestnut Class at St. Leonard’s C of E Primary School have a lot of questions, especially about space. Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, is their hero, and in December they excitedly watched Tim’s launch into space. Then they wrote up all of their thoughts about the Earth, moon, sun, and space, and realized there was a lot they still wanted to learn from a real, live astronaut. So primary school teacher Matthew Gaukroger (@thatICTperson.) set his students up with Adobe Post, and they quickly dreamed up thoughtful, creative questions for Peake.
The students were able to master Adobe Post, an app for easily creating professional-looking graphics for social sharing, to design the questions on their own. Then Gaukroger helped them post their top queries—Is the Earth a sphere? Will the sun burn out? What is the Milky Way?—to Twitter so their questions could reach Peake all the way at the International Space Station.
“The children were noticeably excited about using the technology to send their messages into space, and they enjoyed using Adobe Post,” said Gaukroger. “If they’d just written their ideas in their books, I don’t think they would have thought of such fantastic questions.”
Gaukroger’s students also use two other Adobe storytelling apps. Adobe Slate allows them to combine text and photos into compelling web page stories. Adobe Voice lets them create animated videos that tell stories, and take assessments on key questions such as, “What have you learned about the sun and moon this week?”
Adobe Voice and Adobe Slate were first released as iPad apps but the intent was always to make these fun, easy, and free tools available to a broader audience. Adobe Slate has since been released as an in-browser web experience, and this week Adobe published an iPhone version of Adobe Voice.
Gaukroger’s older students, as part of their internet safety course, learn about the creative upsides of photo alteration, as well as its power to distort perceptions of beauty and health. The lessons include an all-day workshop with Manchester-based photographer Andrew Brooks, who teaches them how to get creative using Adobe Photoshop Express.
“I’ve been fortunate to meet with thousands of educators and students to talk about digital literacy and creativity in the classroom, and the role that Adobe plays in making that a reality,” said Ben Forta, Adobe senior director, Education Initiatives. “When we created Adobe Voice we had younger users in mind, but I don’t think we expected to see just how prevalent Voice has become, even with preschoolers. Adobe Slate, which we released last year, has also found a home in elementary school through college. And now Adobe Post is following the same trajectory. I think students sending a batch of questions into space is about one of the coolest uses of Adobe Post imaginable. Forget global, we’re going universal!”
When asked if the kids have heard back from Peake yet, Gaukroger replied, “He has yet to respond, but I’ve heard he’s a tiny bit busy at the moment.”