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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

3 awesome apps by Adobe to try now!

Guess who's back...back again...
Well, I guess they were never really gone, but in the world of K-8, Adobe has been pretty non-existent over the course of the last, well... for a long time.

Adobe has been an industry leader in the professional world for years (my photographer dad uses Lightroom to clean up photos; clients I've worked for in my masters program used Captivate for course delivery; I learned about After Effects in my undergrad work as a film production major; and yes, as a design enthusiast, I choose to use Photoshop over other photo editing apps because it provides the best tools for detailed editing work). However, it seems as if Apple has had a stronghold on the world of media production in K-8 education. Adobe products have been the best for design work, but not the easiest to integrate into the average classroom setting. Imagine my 5th graders last year trying to use Photoshop to edit their photos for a collage project... Sorry, we don't have time to get good at Photoshop in a self-contained 5th grade classroom. We need something simple and powerful that students can learn quickly, so that the focus is on the demonstration of our learning, not having to figure out the tool.

But this year, I'm expecting Adobe to give other creation and storytelling programs a run for their money... With the release of apps like Voice, Slate, and Post in the last year, I am excited to get students creating!

Adobe, you have my attention.

  • Adobe Voice
    • Now available on both iPads AND iPhones, Adobe Voice is a storytelling app focused on using images and voice recordings to get your point across. Choose a theme and then start plugging in pictures, icons, and captions to tell a dynamic story. It's that simple. Although you can use text, the focus here is on oral storytelling-- hence the name. With the push of a button, users can record their voice and add background music to create a dynamic, clean-looking video, easily shareable via social media, email, or with a share link.
    • In the classroom:
      • Story retells
      • Explain thinking in math
      • Science lab reports
      • Biographies
      • Audiobook recordings
      • And so much more...
  • Adobe Post
    • Also iOS-exclusive, Adobe Post is a fantastic app for creating social graphics. The beautifully simplistic interface allows the user to choose a layout, choose an image, choose a color palette, and insert text. You can create a graphic from scratch or remix one made by Post. 
    • In the classroom:
      • Favorite quotes from a novel, or quotes that serve as evidence of a particular theme in the novel
      • Graphics of vocab words
      • Goal-setting graphic
      • Poetry writing
      • Presenting math tasks
      • Examples of science in our world
  • Adobe Slate
    • Web-based and available on iPads, Slate is another tool that uses images and text to tell visually stunning stories. String together photos, collages, text, links, and "glideshows" to create a brilliant, and sleek, story. There are no audio components-- you want to think like a photojournalist with Slate. When you finish your story, publish it to your account with the option to publish publicly or privately. You can share the final product on social media or using a share link. 
    • In the classroom:
      • Journal a field trip experience
      • Retell the history of a historical figure or event
      • Capture science in the world around us and explain the concepts we see
      • Document the steps that you use to complete a math problem... something as simple as screenshots with a text overlay can equal magic!
      • Write a story
      • Create a "scrapbook" of the year
      • Chronicle the journey through a PBL unit

The downsides of these amazing production tools?

  • Accounts required. I loathe accounts. This is not easy to set up for students under 13. I highly prefer apps that allow me to download, open, create, save to camera roll--account free. SO much easier for our K-8 kiddos. The work around-- I created one class sign in that all students use. (But teachers should definitely check with the tech directors in their district to make sure they are always in compliance with student-use rules.)
  • iOS only at this time. Crossing my fingers this will change soon! Lots of our schools are going Chromebooks, Adobe... we need Android and/or Chrome versions ASAP. And I'm sure Microsoft wouldn't mind an app or two either...

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