Recently, the team I work on at Adobe was given a special task; to create new education-based assets to use in demonstrations, tutorials and to share with educators and other education colleagues. The main idea being to produce content that could be considered usable from a “non-designer/arts” perspective.We worked in teams. My team consisted of me and my colleague Steve Adler (also a former educator, like I am). We’ve both been amazed by the great new goal-based tutorials that can be found on AdobeforAcademics, and in particular, we were inspired by the timelapse video tutorial that can be found there. It’s a very thorough tutorial on using Premiere Pro to create a timelapse video.

Note: this article and many other education related posts can also be found on the Adobe EdTech blog Read the rest of this entry »

Written on September 12th, 2013 , Adobe, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Muse, Design, Education, interactive, Teaching, technology

For the fifth year in a row, I was privileged to recently attend and participate in a truly awesome Adobe-sponsored education event; The AEL Summer Institute.

What is an AEL, you ask?

Well here’s a bit of info (admittedly not in my own words):

The Adobe Education Leaders Program highlights the contributions of innovative educators in higher ed and K–12 who are effectively using Adobe tools and applications to promote excellence in the classroom.

Adobe Education Leaders are dedicated to enhancing creativity and collaboration and improving the teaching and learning experience. They share their expertise through workshops and conferences and help develop standards-based curriculums that are used worldwide.

As Adobe updates it products and develops new ones, Education Leaders provide valuable input through beta programs and focus groups. They are among the first to use new technologies in the classroom and establish learning objectives around them.

Through the Education Leaders Program, a network of outstanding educators inspire each other, share ideas, and collaborate. The program provides the leadership and professional development to help administrators and faculty think in new and creative ways.

Now, having been an AEL for several years before joining Adobe,  I can say this: This group of teachers is passionate, innovative, and dedicated to educating both their students and their peers. They thrive on learning as much as teaching and are incredibly talented at what they do. They are inspiring, because they inspire and energize each other. And they are just plain wonderful people.

What is the Summer Institute?

masthead

I can also say that in my opinion,  hands-down, this event is one of the best things Adobe does for education.

Bringing together 100+ faculty from Higher Ed and K-12, this is a global event;  faculty from the US, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Turkey, the Netherlands, Vietnam and even China,  all sharing ideas, techniques and many, many laughs. The overall feeling at this conference is one of passion and inclusiveness. There are no egos, just a genuine openness to learning from and sharing with each other.

Discussing Design and Publishing workflows with Jim Babbage.  #ael13

Discussing Design and Publishing workflows with Jim Babbage. #ael13

They also brought their concerns, and were not timid in asking Adobe some tough, thoughtful questions. And to their (“our”, I guess) credit. representatives from Adobe did their level best to answer those questions. Trust me, copious notes were taken by Adobe staffers, during workflow roundtables, product demos and general sessions.

The general flow of this event is a combination of peer-to-peer presentations and Adobe-led (but teacher-inspired) sessions. AEL’s get an opportunity to talk directly with Adobe executives, engineers and product managers and are exposed to some cutting-edge, uber secret projects that Adobe has in the works. The peer-to-peer sessions shed light on techniques and concepts that teachers are actively applying in the classroom to help their students or engage other faculty at their schools. From the energetic, fun and ingenious “5 minutes of fame” presentations each morning, to more in-depth 45 minute explorations or explanations of technology and best practices, AELs gather inspiration and ideas they can use or build on in their own teaching.demos and general sessions.

Who rocks the #ael13? Claire and the gang at @AdobeEdu

Who rocks the #ael13? Claire and the gang at @AdobeEdu.

Talking with many of my teacher friends at the Summit, one common thread was this conference was one they waited for all year long. In some cases, the Summit is their main external Professional Development event. It’s rewarding on so many levels and I say that as both a teacher and an Adobe employee. The sharing, networking, open and respectful dialog are so very inspiring.

I could blather on saying wonderful things, but instead, I want to share some snippets from the event:

5 Minutes of Fame presentations

AEL’s sharing a singe idea or technique or technology with the entire group in 5 minutes or less. A few of the many presentations included:

  • International photo and imaging exchange using Photoshop Touch
  • Using Edge Animate to teach Common Core outcomes in math and science
  • Easy time-lapse effects using Photoshop and Lightroom

AEL to AEL sessions

45 minute, in-depth lecture/demo/workshop sessions presented by AEL’s in smaller breakout sessions.

  • Creating Interactive Widgets with Edge Animate

    5 minutes of Fame. #AEL13 @magrelacanela

    5 minutes of Fame. #AEL13 @magrelacanela

  • Photoshop Touch for kids of all ages
  • International Collaboration
  • Responsive Web Design for Teachers
  • The Evolution of an App: A DPS story at SVA
  • EPub Essentials for InDesign rookies
  • Feel the History: Creating Historians by Creating History Documentaries
  • Gamified Curriculum Delivery system
  • Adobe, Project based Learning and the Flipped Classroom
  • Using Captivate to Develop and Deliver Faculty Continuing Education
@openclssrm @lukasengqvist You rocked the #unAEL13 Unconference! Thanks for hosting it.

@openclssrm @lukasengqvist You rocked the #unAEL13 Unconference! Thanks for hosting it. #ael13

Adobe-led sessions

  • Adobe’s Education Vision and Future
  • Product/Workflow roundtables on Design and Publishing, Video Production, Productivity, and Responsive Web Design
  • Design Team workshops – How would you design a school where students felt empowered to create.
  • Sneak peeks from Next Generation development team

The above lists are only samplings of the information-packed 3-day agenda. (Pssst, I can see you drooling…)

A very special workshop

From Monday to Wednesday, The AEL’s were broken up into Design Team groups, each of which had very specific tasks. Over the three days, about 10 hours were slotted fr these teams to interview subjects, then discuss and brainstorm ideas for their assigned topic. I participated in a group who interviewed a student, to learn what kind of school we could design that would give her free will and desire to be a creator.

These sessions were wonderful! So many amazing ideas and suggestions and doubly amazing in that even when we worked in sub groups, we often came up with three or four similar ideas (as well as many others that were unique to each sub group).

In the end, each team had to build a prototype that visually described their goal/assignment. While I haven’t seen all the photos, the ones I did see looked great, and it was obvious the groups had a great time assembling their prototypes. This was an excellent example of inclusiveness, open-thinking and sharing of ideas.

Recess!

Battling robots with @TomGreen at San Jose Tech Museum after #AEL13

Battling robots with @TomGreen at San Jose Tech Museum after #AEL13

Of course this event wasn’t all work and no play! The time between sessions is just as valued. Conversations are continued, new friendships made and a much-needed time to decompress from all the amazing learning of the day.

From sponsored networking events like Tuesday night Bocce Ball, and the Wednesday night closing party at the San Jose Tech Museum, to the spontaneous gatherings in the hotel lounge, group dinners, Salsa dancing, geo-caching and early morning (And I mean EARLY – I was there) city walks, it’s all part of a truly unique experience that is the Adobe Education Leader Summer Institute.

Engaged, Inspired, Exhausted!

With the #AEL13 gang at the Fairmont in San Jose. I live for this week!

With the #AEL13 gang at the Fairmont in San Jose. I live for this week!

Everyone leaves this event energized and at the same time, exhausted. But it’s a good exhaustion. It’s the tiredness one feels after a job well done, or an experience well earned. I know this group values each others ideas and contributions and are just chomping at the bit to try out something new in their own classrooms. And of course, counting down the months and days until the next AEL Summer Institute.

You can read proof of this excitement just by picking at the Twitter feed, which ran non-stop from Sunday to yesterday. Have a peek at the hashtags #unAEL13 and #AEL13 to see what I mean.

And speaking of Twitter, rather than relying on my own photos, the images you see here were all crowd-sourced from those twitter feeds (many thanks to all the contributors!). It’s great to have eyes everywhere!

Bocce Ball networking event

Bocce Ball networking event

 

Written on August 2nd, 2013 , Adobe, Conferences, Education, Learning, On the Personal SIde, Teaching

While doing some research today about technology in education, I came across a cool infographic.

My research trip started – as it often does these days – with a post on Twitter:

eudemic_tweet

This tweet led me to a very interesting article, inspired by the 2013 Horizon Report on Higher Education.The report is hugely informative and enlightening. If you’ve not read the report, and you’re involved in higher education, I highly recommend reading it.

I found many informative resources in the Horizon report, one of which led me to the infographic you see below. The infographic was created by OnlineUniversities.com. I think in many ways, the most telling information comes from the Owner’ Opinions, about 2/3 of the way down the chart. That information really speaks to how popular tablets are among students.

Infographic courtesy of Online Universities.com

Teaching With Tablets

Written on February 14th, 2013 , Education, Learning, On the Personal SIde, tablets, Teaching, technology Tags: , ,

Recently, Video2Brain released my newest training title, Getting started with Muse. I’m very pleased, through this blog post, to talk a bit about Muse, the title itself and share some video excerpts from the training (just to whet your whistle).

Read the rest of this entry »

The latest Classroom in a Book for Fireworks CS6 is now in print!

I’m so excited! I just received copies of my latest book on Adobe Fireworks. Hard to describe the feeling of seeing your words in print. But after months of conceptualizing, writing, re-writing, editing and revising, it’s finally here!

I had a wonderful editing team to work with on the Project. Sheri German, my friend and Technical Editor  (2nd time in a row) for this book kept me on task and was did a great job of making sure steps were accurate and clear. I owe her so much for the attention to detail she paid to this book.

Linda Laflamme, my Developmental and Copy Editor, did an amazing job of getting into my head, helping to to flesh out details in an easy to understand, but concise and personable manner.

And of course, Valerie Witte, my Production Editor at Peachpit, was super-supportive, incredibly patient and always there when I needed her. She is a joy to work with.

I’d also like to thank my son, Joseph Hutt (himself and aspiring writer and creative individual) for allowing me to use photos I took of him in some of the exercises in the book. Likewise, thanks go to my very good friend Tom Green, fellow writer, teacher and mentor of mine, and his son Rob Green, for giving me permission to use photos of them in the book as well.

I am very appreciative of the fact that Peachpit Press recognized the need for  text on Fireworks, where many publishers have not.

Thanks also to all those people whom I’ve talked with, griped with or who so generously shared with me their skills, opinions or sample art to use in sections of the book.

I’m very pleased with this edition of the Fireworks Classroom in Book. It’s the third CiaB I’ve written on Fireworks, and I feel it’s the best one so far. My goal with this edition was to rewrite as much of the book as possible, and refresh as much of the art work and exercise files as was feasible. I think I met my goal, while also adding completely new content and addressing feedback from previous editions.

It’s also a bit more of a personal book for me, because so much of the artwork – photos, interfaces, wireframes – are of my own creation. Many images from my yearly camping trip with Joe, Tom and Rob (and Marley, the camp mascot) appear in this edition, so while it’s an instructional text, it also contains memories for me.

Back cover of the book, featuring Tom green in a slideshow interface.

Back cover of the book, featuring Tom Green in a slideshow interface.

What is a Classroom in a Book?

For those of you who’ve not picked up a Classroom in a Book (CiaB) before, these texts are both reference and how-to manuals in one. Project based, they take users through an introduction to the software’s interface, and then get right into using the tools to produce content. In short, hopefully answering not just the how, but also the “why”, when possible.

While not a replacement for official documentation, it’s hoped you will glean ideas, workflows and tips from these books that you might not necessarily get from the manual.

If you’re interested in designing, wireframing or protoyping for the web, applications or even just doing more with your screen graphics for PowerPoint, I think this book gives you just what you need to use Fireworks effectively.

If you’re a teacher, I’ve also written a companion guide for the book to help you plan out lessons, and giving you summaries of what each chapter (lesson) covers.

If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think. I would love to get feedback on the book.

It’s been some time since I last posted on my blog. Between writing a new book and preparing for the launch of  Adobe Creative Suite CS6, life has been very busy. But a very important milestone has been met this week, and I wanted to take some time to acknowledge it.

Yesterday (May 24) marked the end of my first year as an Adobe employee.

Wow. This year has truly flown by! I’ve learned a lot in the past 12 months – chief among which is how much I still l have to learn. But it’s been an amazing year, filled with a great deal of travelling and presenting the Adobe creative tools to teachers, staff and administrators in the elementary, secondary and higher education sectors. I’ve been to more places in Canada in 12 months than I’ve been in 48 years – which, while very cool, is a bit of a sad statement on my vacation life.

I do miss teaching students, seeing the light appear above their heads when they truly comprehend something, but my interaction with faculty from all over Canada and my ability to share knowledge with them, softens that ache to a good degree. And well, there’s no marking in this job, so I must admit, I enjoy missing that facet of my life. Instead of marking on the weekends, I actually have time to do things around the house.

Unless I’m prepping for a customer presentation, or flying out of or back into Toronto. Ah, the glorious life of a Solutions Consultant! And I say that with a big smile.

Speaking of Solutions Consultants – OMG – what an amazing group of smart, funny, creative and professional people! My colleagues on the SC team for Education are a constant source of inspiration for me, and the wider community of SC’s that includes industry and government are equally talented and skilled. Every single one of these people that I have met are more than happy to share their expertise, offer (in my case, much needed) advice.

I can honestly say that, after teaching as a profession, this career at Adobe is the next best thing. And if you know me, and my love for teaching, you also know that says quite a bit about how I feel about this change in careers. And if ya don’t know me, trust me when i say, it’s a positive thing. :-).

Challenging? Hell yes. Fun? More often than not.  I do like my job. I can’t wait to see what my second year brings.

 

Written on May 25th, 2012 , Adobe, Education, On the Personal SIde

Like many students, I learn best when I understand the reason for what I’m learning, or am really engaged and curious about how I can achieve a vision of my own. This goes back as far as I can remember, but one example has always stuck in my mind, is my grade 10 math class. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on January 10th, 2012 , Education, Learning, On the Personal SIde, Teaching, Writing

I dropped by my former stomping (er, teaching) grounds last week to say hi to my many friends at Centennial College’s School of Communication, Media and Design. And while chatting with the Dean, Nate Horowitz, about my role at Adobe, he suggested I call on Debbie Gordon, the Director of the KidsMediaCentre at Centennial College. Debbie and I had a great chat about digital readiness in public schools and she shared with me the KMC’s new blog, just hot off the digital press last week. Read the rest of this entry »

My new eBook: Using the CSS3 Mobile Pack for Adobe Fireworks CS5

If you’ve found yourself wondering how Adobe Fireworks can fit into your web and mobile design workflows, or how you can introduce students to a visual method of designing for mobile, I may have just the thing for you.

Today, my new eBook, Using the CSS3 Mobile Pack for Adobe Fireworks CS5 and CS5.1, went live at http://www.peachpit.com/.

While there are already a couple good how-to tutorials available at the Fireworks Developer Center, I wanted to take a deeper, more practical approach to this new extension. I wanted to go beyond the how and hopefully address the why. I walk you through the basics, but then I move you to a realistic application of the extension.

You will learn about both parts of the CSS3 Mobile Pack:

  • CSS Properties Panel
  • jQuery Mobile Theme Builder

CSS Properties Panel

In the chapter on the CSS Properties panel, for example, you’ll be doing more than simply exporting a rounded corner rectangle as CSS3 mark up; you will be taking a completed web page design and – using Fireworks and a Dreamweaver HTML5 starter page layout – building a standards-based web page, complete with navigation, semi-transparent content areas and stylized text.

Final web page design that matches the original Fireworks mockup

The only bitmap in the page is the background image. And it was all done with a minimum of coding. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s pretty cool.

jQuery Mobile Theme builder

jQuery Mobile design, mocked up in Fireworks, then exported to Dreamweaver and previewed in Device Central.

In the chapter on the jQuery Mobile Skinning, you will study and work with the jQuery Mobile template file, also part of the CSS3 Mobile Pack, and learn how to customize an existing skin and export that new mark up over to Dreamweaver to quickly create a simple, customized mobile web site.

Time-saver in production and in the classroom

Whether you are comfortable with code or not, the new tools in this extension can be a creative and time-saving boon.

A designer  can export out standards-based mark up, which can be further edited and tweaked by a developer in their preferred web page editing environment. Or if the designer wears both hat, he or she can move quickly from a visual design to realizing that design in HTML and CSS. I think this is a great example of Fireworks bridging the gap between designers and developers.

And for students learning the craft of web and mobile design, it gives them the opportunity to create their design first, and then see how that design becomes converted to code. Or, depending on the design itself, learn about the limitations to be aware of when building a standards-based design that targets multiple devices.

Either way, it’s a win-win.

Oh and did I mention, this extension is free? Just head on over to Adobe Labs and download the preview. It will run in Fireworks CS5 or CS5.1. I think it’s awesome that the extension is available now – at no charge – rather than having us wait for this kind of functionality in a future release of Fireworks.

If you’re interested in the ebook, it’s available for less than $6.50 USD at http://www.peachpit.com/. Feel free to follow me on twitter @JimBabbage, too. If you’ve got questions about the eBook – or anything else related to Fireworks, that’s a great place to find me.

Written on November 8th, 2011 , Adobe Fireworks, Education, On the Personal SIde, web design, workflow Tags: , ,

I’m thinking about starting a new Fireworks training project, and I’d like your input. I’ve received some great suggestions from Twitter followers and I’d like to hear more.

What UI elements/workflows/features have always stumped you in Adobe Fireworks CS4 or CS5? Are there workflows you’ve always wanted to know more about? I’m here to listen.

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