Don’t you just love those “ah-hah!” moments, when you stumble across something you didn’t know while learning a new computer program? It might just be the geek in me, but I know I really love coming across new stuff that makes things more interesting and engaging, especially when it’s easy to do and easily translated into the classroom.
Such was the case recently where I was teaching a class on Photoshop Elements to teachers from around our district and we took a harder look at how albums can be used in Photoshop Elements to create coolio little Flash-based animations for uploading to the web or just watching in class. In this short episode from Palm Breeze Cafe I get to show the technique we used and walk through the process of making an interactive album. It’s great fun and an easy win for both teacher and student as it doesn’t require a great deal of technical skill to get awesome results.
I’ve been reflecting on how to help guide our teachers in developing creative classroom projects with digital tools–regardless of what subject they teach–and how to tell the message of how to connect deeper, more profound learning through the use of these kinds of experiences. And let’s be honest, it’s not a simple undertaking, particularly when you have to consider standardized curriculums and testing schedules that drive much of what happens in our classrooms today.
But hey, those are just excuses. If you’re really dedicated to reaching students on multiple levels with varied learning modalities and provide them with the kind of creative learning experiences that are proven to motivate and engage students, then you have to start the process by asking yourself some solid questions about what you want to achieve.
That’s why I found this presentation from Adobe Education Leader Dena Moss Wilson so fascinating. Dena is a graphics arts teacher and has a tremendous eye for style, but as you can tell from her presentation she’s also a caring and crafty teacher with high standards.
Have a look, particularly at the beginning of this video for some ideas on how to plan for a creative project, then stay for examples of how Dena works with her students.
This video comes by way of the Adobe Education Leaders channel on Adobe TV, where you can find some great tips and tutorials for using all sorts of different software from Adobe. Here’s the recap of the session from their site and the video follows:
Learn how Dena Moss Wilson uses creative ideas for projects that help the student build character by exploring their core beliefs, getting a deeper sense of self, and promoting insightfulness. All are done in a safe and encouraging environment which brings out true reflections of the students’ self esteem or lack thereof.
One of the teachers in our school district that I have tremendous respect for is Mr. Rob Schwartz at Seminole Ridge High School. Mr. Schwartz does phenomenal work with his students, teaching graphic and web design in way that brings out his students’ expressiveness in remarkable ways. The image you see here is from his own website where he hosts a Best of the Best student art gallery featuring student art work that meet his demanding standards. (Love those red glasses!) If you’re teaching graphic design and want some examples to show your own students this is a great place to start.
Mr. Schwartz is also one of those incredibly generous teachers who makes his time, ideas, and resources available to his peers around the world and is active in the Adobe Education Leaders program . You can find all sorts of great tutorials and resources that he’s produced for his students at his BrainBuffet.com website, with a focus on Photoshop and Illustrator and some Dreamweaver thrown in for good measure.
So, hats off to Mr. Schwartz and to his students at Seminole Ridge! To the students, you are in great hands and you have a great year ahead of you with Mr. Schwartz. We’ll be looking to see your artwork added to the Wall of Fame, and to see your industry certifications hanging on the wall by year’s end.