Learn the Pen Tool with the Bezier Game


One of the most challenging digital tools to learn how to use is the Pen Tool. This tool is present in many different drawing applications and its successful use takes lots of practice.

For a fun way to get your students engaged in learning how to draw with the Pen Tool be sure to visit the Bezier Game. Students will be faced with a series of challenging shapes that they need to duplicate.

The site is completely free and does not require a login of any kind.

Video tutorial: PS Elements

Creating an Interactive Photo Album with Photoshop Elements

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 Didn’t Know You Could Do That with Acrobat

Acrobat 9: More than just a document printer

As part of our District’s rollout of the Adobe Digital School Collection, teachers and students now have much wider access to the creative tools found in the suite–Photoshop and Premiere Elements as well as Soundbooth–but they also have access to Acrobat 9 Professional.

You might wonder why Acrobat is even included in that package since most of us think of PDFs as just a way to convert a Word document or to download and view some sort of legal or business form. Truth is, as a program that has been around for quite a few years and has grown quite a bit in that time, Acrobat can do WAY more than just create viewable electronic documents. In fact, one of the really compelling uses for Acrobat in the classroom is its ability to create student portfolios of digital work done by students. That will be the focus we take in our trainings and the work we’ll be doing with our teachers.

In the video below from Lynda.com (by way of the free Adobe TV website) you’ll see a quick overview of the many things that Acrobat can do. I bet you’ll find more than a few things that surprise you!

Inspiring Student Artwork from Seminole Ridge HS

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.

How to Call Lightning from the Sky with Premiere Elements

Lightning bolt effect in Premiere ElementsI had a lot of fun creating this video tutorial for Premiere Elements 8. I mean come on. What student hasn’t thought of lightning striking their teacher at some point?

In this lesson, Effects Potpourri for Premiere Elements you’ll learn how to stretch and control time as well as how to use the fun effects included with the program to do things like this, where the famous scene from Caddyshack is duplicated to demonstrate how multiple effects can be applied to a video clip. In this case the Lightning Effect and Find Edges effect were combined for some fun, creative purposes.

Whether you ever want to really call lightning from the sky (and have a good instructional objective in mind for why you want to) or not, combining effects in Premiere Elements is pretty easy.

The video linked above will take you to one of the 14 lessons included in our Premiere Elements in the Classroom curriculum. Teachers in Palm Beach County can enroll in the class by following that link, or click here.

Teachers outside Palm Beach can view this lesson and the entire Premiere Elements curriculum at the Adobe Education Exchange.


Create a Student Silhouette with Photoshop

I really like this video tutorial from Nicole Dalesio of Fairlands Elementary School in Pleasanton CA. This is an awesome lesson that shows just how easily you can achieve great results in just a few minutes of work. In this case Nicole shows how to create a silhouette from a digital photo and how you might use the images with your students in Language Arts or Reading classes.

Although this tutorial is for Photoshop, the same techniques can be used with Photoshop Elements 8.

Nicole and hundreds of other teachers are posting lessons like this one at the new Adobe Education Exchange. If you haven’t joined this group you really should! There are lots of great resources being posted every day and all you need to do to sign up is create a (free) Adobe ID and away you go.

On to the tutorial (click the Play button to watch) and be sure to read Nicole’s notes below the video.

Photoshop for Kids: Silhouettes from magrelacanela (Nicole) on Vimeo.

Photoshop for Kids(of all ages) Here’s a great Photoshop project that’s great to do with kids or adults, and is suitable for just about any level of Photoshop user. This can also be modified as you like to work into a language arts lesson if you add words or pictures on top of the silhouettes.

Enjoy, and if you make any silhouettes of your own using my tutorial, please send me a link/copy of what you did to add to my collection.