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Adobe Refresh 2011 – a Teachers view

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At Adobe Refresh today it suddenly dawned on me why I can’t successfully teach my subjects at school. The world of the device (broadening away from the simple PC) and it’s development base(s) change to rapidly for a school system locked down like the DET.

Now I’m not saying the DET is not supporting the computer science subjects. The total opposite is my view, in the last three years they have moved mountains. Problem is with public funds and every school doing different things it is extremely difficult to fund and change direction quickly to keep up with what’s popular and worth while for our students future of device development.

Today Adobe showed off some impressive new software technologies all aimed at the mobile space no matter which platform as long as it’s not Windows based. Also they showed off Air apps for the Google television.

The future of Flash also looks promising and may be I should focus more on it in class, however the problem then becomes “how do we get enough iPods/iPhones, Android devices or Blackberry Playbooks?”. Then there is the sign up process for developer access to the tools and the devices, this can be extremely expensive and time consuming. At least with Flash we can develop for iOS on Windows and not having to buy a bunch of Macs, only needing iTunes and developer access to the device.

The question I’m really asking is should we stick with development for the truck as Steve Jobs called PC’s last year or should we continue to push forward and teach our students about the future of device development at an ever increasing cost.

What do you think? Please let me know your thoughts on this.

Written by themolisticview

March 2nd, 2011 at 9:39 am

Fireworks for DER NSW

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Shortly before term 1 holidays, I was asked if I could come up with a presentation concept for a conference coming later in the year. I racked my brain throughout the day, trying to workout what would be the technology basis for the presentation, I went home and still couldn’t narrow down on a concept which I thought would capture both teacher’s via the conference and then their students when the took the idea back to their school’s.

The next day back at school and it was time for one of my favourite classes, Year 12 Multimedia. During the lesson I noticed one of the less motivated students, still trying to piece together her design in PhotoShop. I went asked her, ‘what is the problem, you’ve been working on this for over 10 weeks’. Her answer was not as surprising as it may read given her interest, and class attendance during the course, ‘I am not confident in making the web site from scratch with only images and no starting code’. My short answer was for her to continue in PhotoShop with her design, so it was ready for the start of term 2.

At home later that night, I was going through an external hard drive and stumbled across a folder of videos from Lynda.com [When you purchase the Adobe software, a bonus on registering your product was a months free subscription to www.lynda.com]. I saw the folder named CS4_Fireworks, and it dawned on me, ‘hey theres a video in there of exporting a web page from an image mock-up’.

I opened the folder and started filtering through the videos, soon I came across the three which were of my memories. A quick search of http://www.adobe.com/devnet/ and there was more information about using Fireworks for producing web pages.

Now I have to profess, I only use three Adobe applications regularly. They are 1. PhotoShop 2. Acrobat Pro Extended 3. Flash. I rarely use any other products from the CS suite of apps.

Soon after I was having troubles organising Blogs and Wiki’s for my other classes, at the same time there was a lot of chat on my PLN through Twitter regarding the new BlogED Blog tool. I was soon allowed to look at a live example of a BlogED. I had a quick look through the code using my browsers tools. It was a fairly simple layout, wouldn’t be to hard to reproduce in a Multimedia Stage 5 lesson.

I then thought about this a little further, and quickly came to thinking this would be an excellent idea, but instead of going the normal route of PhotoShop > Dreamweaver, use Fireworks. I got to planning a 5 week schedule and thought this would make an excellent presentation at a conference.

Then I got to thinking how would I back this up at a conference and remove the hassle that normally takes place with electronic files. Set up a Wiki.

The Wiki, fireworksfordernsw.pbworks.com was born. Over a week I made documents to back up template files I have made plus several screen casts to help new comers to Fireworks to design and publish web pages easily. Now this Wiki is not a place for me just to share templates with everyone else, it is to try and build a community around the use of Fireworks, especially on DERvices. You don’t have to sign up the Wiki is accessible to all visitors.

To my amazement Fireworks for DER NSW Wiki even shows up in Google Alerts as the image below demonstrates.

So please all join in and make this a true community!

Written by themolisticview

April 17th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Adobe Refresh 10 Sydney, Flash is reborn

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Yesterday I went to Darling Harbour for Adobe’s Refresh 10 conference. I was all hyped for a big day.

Signing was my first disappointment, no show bags, and only three stalls on offer, ho hum. The conference got underway with all the presenters showing us one at a time why we enjoyed the Adobe Creative Suite so much with some very OOoo and Aaaah moments. Followed by a demonstration by a design company which has offices in Sydney. The skills were extremely impressive and their work of the highest class on the net. ┬áThis was followed by news and demo of Adobe’s newest merger/buyout. Not exactly sure how all this worked or how to explain it, there was a section on tracking revenues from your websites, which was interesting for those in eCommerce. The system worked much like Google Analytics does except that it allowed you to make adjustments to your site on the fly and have some idea as to how many clicks these changes may generate as well as suggested improvements to your revenue stream.

The day after this was sectioned into sequential sessions which you had to choose from on registering for the event a month ago. I chose to go to Extending PDF’s with Flash, AIR with HTML and AJAX/HTML5/CSS3, Multi-target apps, Flash Future technology sneak and Building an iPhone app with Flash CS5. In the opposing sessions they were learning about about Adobe Live Cycle and making forms, collecting data and that boring stuff.

Extending PDF’s with Flash was enjoyable. Having already experimented heavily with this concept this year I still picked up on some interesting pointers especially with alpha transparency swf’s and video over laid on text. There was an interesting section on PDF Portfolios, how they actually work and that the best results come from using the adobe.com service. (does anyone from DETNSW know if we have access to this from the DET Portal?)

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Written by themolisticview

February 24th, 2010 at 8:32 am