Adobe Education

News & Views from the Education team

Adobe Systems Incorporated

Archive for October, 2012

Traditional Lectures are so 90s

As a professor at a community college, I continually struggle with how to engage my students to help them learn and prepare for the careers they aspire to. I have long ago come to the conclusion that lectures are “so 90s.” And, by that, I mean 1490s. If you examine the basic education approach, nothing has really changed for centuries. Sure, new technologies (such as chalkboards) have been employed, but the fundamental aspect of having an expert explain some concept to a group of students has not materially changed.

Since we are well into the 21st century and students still have short attention spans, one approach is to employ the “flipped classroom” technique. Essentially, what it means is that students review the content at home (before class) and then work on problems or projects during class time. In other words, homework is done in class and the class “lecture” (usually in a form of a video) is done at home. Hence the term “flipped classroom.” Check out this fifth grade teacher who further explains the flipped classroom concept and how she employs it in an elementary school.

Why is this important? Essentially, it places the emphasis on learning with the students. They become more independent learners as part of this process. Additionally, they can pause, rewind, and replay a given segment of video many times until they have understood the concept. This is something one can’t typically do in a traditional lecture (unless one has a very patient professor and peers). During class, students have time to focus on solving particular problems and applying what they have learned. Watch this video to further learn about the benefits of a flipped classroom or alternatively, check out a video of what a flipped class is not. My thanks to Professor Kelly Crawford-Jones for locating these videos as part of a joint presentation we did on this topic at a recent conference.

Are there some downsides? For the instructor, absolutely; this approach requires more up front development of materials including, obviously, the videos. Personally, I rely on Adobe Presenter, Adobe Captivate, and Techsmith Camtasia to create most of this content.

One must also develop in-class projects which reinforce what the students have learned through watching the videos. Student may well resist this approach initially. They will have to work harder and devote more effort outside of class to prepare for each class session. It is so much easier to sit back and watch a professor speak for an hour or two; some even have time to doodle. That option tends to disappear when one successfully employs these techniques.

While this is not a “one size fits all” approach or solution, it may well be something you wish to consider to better engage your students and help them hone their critical thinking skills and problem solving abilities. In its simplest form, a “flipped class” is an alternate approach to engaging your students and helping them focus on their learning.

For those who would like to learn more, read the 7 Things you Should Know about Flipped Classrooms article. Of course, feel free to let me know your thoughts by contacting me directly via Twitter or my Weblog.

1:36 PM Permalink

Photoshop's Night at The Museum

Last night the great and the good of New York’s media, publishing and creative industries gathered, with Adobe, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The occasion, a reception to celebrate Adobe’s sponsorship of a unique exhibition – Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop.

Adobe’s chief marketing officer, Ann Lewnes, kicked things off before CEO Shantanu Narayen welcomed everyone and introduced Thomas Knoll, co-inventor of Photoshop and Adobe’s newest Digital Imaging Fellow.

Shantanu and Photoshop co-inventor Thomas Knoll

Shantanu and Photoshop co-inventor Thomas Knoll

The exhibition is a reminder that the urge to manipulate photos – for good and for bad, for art and for propaganda – has been with us since the medium itself was invented. The exhibition also reminds us of the profound impact that Adobe Photoshop has made on our visual culture.  Creative people all over the world have pushed publishing, art, and visual media forward using techniques that were either too complex or simply not possible before Photoshop.  Because of this, controversy is never far away from Photoshop.

One of our core values at Adobe is to conduct ourselves in a responsible, socially conscious manner. As we continue to evolve the interaction of art and science within Photoshop, we look forward to the incredible visual content our customers will continue deliver and the positive influences it may have in our shared human experience.

7:59 AM Permalink

Clark County Students Get a Competitive Edge

Neon lights, gaming tables and vibrant nightlife may be the instantly recognizable icons of Las Vegas, but many do not realize that beyond the nightclubs and casinos is a community of more than 1.8 million residents and home to the fifth-largest school district in the United States. The areas of Clark County that surround the famous city include more than 350 traditional schools and specialized career and technical academies that serve over 306,000 K-12 students.

I’d like to shine the spotlight for a moment on Clark County’s career and technical academies, which offer intensive academic programs aimed at helping students develop highly marketable skills to use immediately upon graduation. For example, in addition to the hands-on classes, students attending the Southwest Career and Technical Academy (SWCTA) participate in a multitude of service-learning projects, job-shadowing, and internship opportunities where they can apply the skills learned in class, as well as take advantage of the ability to earn up to 21 college credits and a variety of CTE certifications.

Flora Shi, a fourth-year web design student at SWCTA offered this insight: “We’ve learned to use solutions such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Flash Professional and combine them with other code languages to create diverse, professional-grade mobile apps that have left clients speechless. Adobe software gives us a distinct advantage because we’re able to deliver creative, high-quality projects faster.”

In addition to marketable digital communication skills, the academies focus on helping students stay engaged and succeed. SWCTA students consistently scored above the district average for math assessments and 40% of the senior class achieved a GPA of 3.9 or higher. In addition, the school achieved an average daily attendance rate of nearly 99% while increasing its student retention rate to 89%. Clearly, they’re doing something (or, many things) right.

Highly focused Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculums have a tremendous impact on student achievement, as evidenced by the statistics I just quoted. These programs are successful largely because they provide the tools necessary to 1) foster a desire to learn and grow and 2) prepare students for today’s digital world and ever-changing workplace. I encourage you to learn more about how the Clark County School District helps students thrive. Read the full story here.

5:00 PM Permalink

Adobe Creative Cloud – A Great Choice for Students

No doubt you’ve heard about Adobe Creative Cloud – still wondering what all the buzz is about? In a nutshell, it’s about having all the tools you’ll ever need for going from creative concept to production of A-grade visual projects, winning portfolios or stunning websites. With a special $19.99* monthly membership for students, you get access to all of the Creative Suite 6 tools, web hosting services, fonts, and cloud storage for syncing and sharing creative files. There are lots of reasons to love it:

  • Get Noticed: Deliver powerful presentations, a personalized web portfolio or a unique Facebook cover photo that everyone is raving about. Because Creative Cloud membership allows access to every Creative Suite 6 tool, the possibilities are endless. Feel a bit overwhelmed? Check out this collection of tutorials to help you get started.
  • Build Job-Ready Skills: According to a U.S. News & World Report article, one of five skills everyone needs to have on a resume is knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite. As you experiment and create eye-catching projects with Adobe solutions, you’re building experience with the latest industry-standard tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Now your resume will stand out from the crowd! Check out Adobe’s How-to Channel for more helpful videos and tutorials.
  • Receive Instant Upgrades: No more annual upgrade purchases. Cloud members have access to exclusive updates from Adobe, at no additional cost. When a new release comes out, it is automatically available via the Cloud. For example, we recently added several new features to Illustrator CS6 and just included an iPad publishing service, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition, for making digital editions of magazines and yearbooks.
  • Enjoy a Great Value: Creative Cloud membership is now available for students at $19.99 per month – that’s less than a night out with friends! The CS6 Master Collection would cost you about $800!

 So what are you waiting for, check out Adobe Creative Cloud here!

*Limited time only, offer ends November 4, 2012



9:14 AM Permalink