Archive for October, 2012

October 30, 2012

A Professional Graphic Artist who is a Teacher … OR A Teacher who is a Professional Graphic Artist?

What am I? A teacher? A professional Graphic Artist/developer? HMMM….

Maybe I can figure this out by discovering which came first…Which occupation came first for me? Was I a teacher of the digital arts first, or a professional digital graphic artist/developer? Well, in my case, they pretty much came simultaneously.

I had gone into the UCLA Extension program because I was offered the opportunity to work with UCLA Law School to design the graphics for their new admissions application website. At the time I did not have a clue what digital graphics were or what I needed to deliver to them. I had 3 months to learn it and deliver. I had gotten my hands on Photoshop 3  (NOT CS3, but 3!). I had to figure out how to use it, and FAST. I also had to learn about website production. I jumped in and took the classes I needed to help me, and got the job done on time. I had so much fun, I signed up for their Professional Designation in Digital Arts certificate and spent the next 3 years immersed in the world.

When I graduated from my UCLA Extension program, I was offered an opportunity to teach Final Cut Pro at a small private college. I told my friend who was the connection with the college that I had just learned it. He was so adamant with his argument…”Well, you know more than they do!” So, I took the challenge. I found out that I LOVED teaching the digital arts!

My teaching career got a bit stalled because, well, I never graduated from college. I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree (this is a whole ‘nother story!). So, after 3 years of going to school for the digital graphics arts, I was in the rhythm of studying and went back to school. I graduated from CSULB with my BA in Studio Art, and went on to Pepperdine U get my Master of Arts in Educational Technology so I could teach in a “real” school.

In the meantime, my digital arts career and skills grew. I garnered a few key clients that allowed me to progress my skills and digital arts knowledge. I discovered not only how to do them, but how to work with clients in the professional world. When my opportunity to teach again came to me, it was because I had industry experience as well as the digital arts experience. I was hired to develop a digital media class for the web. It is now called Digital Media Production as it now caters to all devices.

Today I split my time between teaching my classes; Photoshop, Dreamweaver II, Fireworks, the Digital Media Production class, building my new classes; Adobe Edge Animate, Social Media, and WordPress,  with my freelance digital arts career. So, which one comes first in my life? Which one is “me”? If anyone asks me (other than a prospective client!) what I do, I first say I am a teacher. I feel that every job I complete as a professional artist/developer is a step in learning what is out there to share with my students. Bringing the real world projects into the classroom is a key feature in my classes. My students LOVE this! They appreciate that I can show them tips and tricks that will help them move their careers forward quickly when they are ready.

Technology is changing at a break neck speed. Studying is key to staying on top of  the curve. Do I study because I am a teacher, or do I study because I need to provide the newest and the best for my professional clients? The circle keeps going around. I am a teacher. I am a professional digital graphic artist/developer. My studies include growing my skills in teaching as well as technologies. It takes many hours of study to keep up with the technology changes going on right now. As a teacher, I MUST stay ahead of the game. I have to be ready to provide appropriate tutorials that teach the students what they will need to be competitive in the world when they graduate. I also need to build my skills in the newest technologies so I can provide my clients with the most up to date technology for their companies so that they can stay relevant and on top of their competitors. It is also for me! I love to learn.

And, just one plug here…
Now that is where to go to learn the newest any time!

If someone was to ask if there were any careers in this world where working in one builds the skills for the other, I do believe I have the answer! The circle keeps turning….

3:19 AM Permalink
October 20, 2012

InDesign Folio Builder

I had to get my computer re-imaged and re-install Adobe CS6.  Since I have done so I can’t get the folio producer to work.  When I open the folio producer it tells me “A software update is required to use Digital Publishing Suite. Please go to the Help menu and select Updates to get the required software.” O fcourse, when I go to updates it is grayed out.  I tried heading out to the Web and grabbing different updates but nothing will work.  Below is a screen shot of my issues.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

7:30 PM Permalink
October 2, 2012

Applying the SAMR model into education

We know when we have achieved successful technology integration: it is when we use technology without even thinking about it.

Adobe tools have sometimes seemed quite exclusive, solely for industry professionals. The need for teachers to up-skill has always seemed quite low on the priority list. The very hurdle of learning how to use the software can stand in the way of using the software to enhance learning. At my school Photoshop is only used in the Advanced IT course. Why is that?

I think Adobe have responded with new tools like Photoshop Elements/Premiere Elements and Muse. I am very pleased at the high uptake from my teaching colleagues and students alike. With minimal training and support I am beginning to see teachers integrating these tools into their daily workflows. As adoption of these tools increases it is evident that Adobe can go beyond enhancing learning.

Borrowed from an expert called Dr Rueben Puentedura the term “Transformation” as a result of technology adoption, is a stage you want to aim for in your journey of successful technology integration.

The SAMR model.

Dr Rueben Puentedura hit on a model which you should be familiar with. The SAMR model is a system which you can use to measure your application of technology, or it’s level of use.



The first level is the lowest level of use: Substitution.

Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional changes. A common example is a type-writer being exchanged for a word-processor (albeit with a screen) and being used in exactly the same way. No cut and paste, no spell check, just direct substitution.

The second level is: Augmentation

At this level you are using the same tool with some functional improvement. Improvements may include the spell check or instant dictionary definition, cut/paste and placement of images etc. Already at this secondary stage we are seeing a much higher level of productivity from the individual.

The third level is: Modification

This level actually slightly alters (but doesn’t change) the task at hand. For example, beforehand your type-writer was being used to produce a text report. But now we have additional technology tools available, we could create the report in a spreadsheet. This would allow you to automatically calculate sums and create graphs for immediate visualisation of the information. We may choose to email the spreadsheet to colleagues instead of print it. Our report (previously a fixed paper document) has now seen significant task redesign. This results in substantial productivity increase.

The fourth level is known as: Redefinition.

At this level, we look beyond ways of just modifying the process **which still has the fundamental task at its heart**. Is this the best way to perform the task? The Redefinition level will use available technology to completely redesign tasks.

We are no longer producing a simple report. Information that would original have been compiled by an individual could now involve many contributors; collaborating in real time on the same document. An example might be to use a public document on Google Docs allowing for instant global collaboration on the project. The project could include photographs, graphics, even video, added from many different devices. Spreadsheet calculations will cascade through a document and be available for all decision makers in a moment. Immediately the task has seen the removal of multiple steps, and many more users are viewing and editing the document, increasing communication, accuracy, and productivity.

Applying this model into education is having astounding results. It is a fairly simple idea but one which has really helped me to evaluate where I am at, and what I could be achieving.

I would add that task redefinition can also remove constraints that may have existed before but were not addressed. At redefinition the task and its outcomes are clearer, the technology becomes invisible and the learning at hand takes priority.

With tools like Captivate and Adobe Connect it is very clear to see how Adobe are not only enhancing teaching practices but truly transforming tasks.

I encourage you to visit Dr Rueben Puentedura’s blog at to discover more.

10:13 AM Permalink
October 1, 2012


When teaching a beginning Photoshop class, it is very easy to elicit OOHS and AAHHHs from my students. Showing them a filter or an adjustment layer can set the classroom into a frenzy. Two weeks ago, in my Media Production class, we covered how to change a type layer into a shape layer (PS 5) and use the pen tool to create a typographic design. I could not get through the lecture because the students wanted to try it… like NOW! Last week, it was animation in Photoshop (Our department does not have AfterEffects). One of the students began planning a birthday animation surprise for her sister.

I love it when I get this type of reaction in my classes. It is something I strive to accomplish. As mentioned, it seems to be easily accomplished when teaching Photoshop. It becomes more difficult for me when teaching anything web related. I have been teaching our Dreamweaver II class for 7 years now. It is an eye opener class for the students, as I do not hold their hands as much as in a beginning class. I lecture and demonstrate a taste of a new technology, and then I set them free to learn and discover it on their own. It is a skill I feel is necessary because they will be on their own soon. As important as this is to a graduating college student, it may not elicit as many loud cheers for the technology they have been sent out to learn, as it can be time consuming to “master”. I do get very excited students when they learn that they can do it themselves.

My Dreamweaver II class does not teach where the buttons or commands are, or much that was covered in Dreamweaver I. The class is geared towards actually using the tool and discovering how to incorporate the new technologies out there, such as jQuery and web fonts. Dreamweaver CS6 has made this much easier for me, as it has incorporated them into the interface. So, this semester, I got a very excited group of students that came in with some extremely fun projects. And, it wasn’t Photoshop!

I brought in my tablet and demonstrated Proto to the class three weeks ago. When they found out the HTML and CSS files can be brought into Dreamweaver to work on, they again got all flustered and wanted to dive in immediately. The big question at that time was “Is there anything like that for the desktop, or do I have to buy a tablet?”.  I could only answer, not yet, and I am not sure.

Then on September 24th, it was my turn to get excited when I attended the Adobe Create the Web tour in San Francisco. When I returned to my classroom, I felt privileged to tell the students that YES, there is a desktop version of the Proto tool, but oh so much better!

When I played the keynote  video piece about Reflow for them, cheers erupted in the room! YES, real cheers. All of us are so excited to get our hands on this piece of software and give it a try. I have yet to cover the new Dreamweaver CS6 responsive web design tools. It may be difficult to get them excited over them. Reflow stole the show. That is OK with me. Yahoooo, YIPEEEEE, and OH BOY… even I am excited.

Keep it up Adobe, you guys are really nailing it with some fun tools for us to use and teach. Incorporating the most popular technologies into our favorite tools makes the teacher’s job easier, and the users very happy. When the job can get done faster, we love it!

6:35 PM Permalink