I think that I'm probably the only Ed Tech guy on the planet who's not at ISTE right now. If this weren't a somewhat professional blog, I'd make a sad emoticon. Oh well. Duty calls elsewhere this year. That doesn't mean that I can't cover some great highlights, though. The first is Adobe's formal launch of its Education Exchange site, a real windfall for educators looking to get the most out of Adobe software.
It's pretty rare that I recommend too much in the way of expensive software. Adobe CS5 is an exception to the rule. When I reviewed it from an educational perspective a few months ago, I was so blown away by its features that I immediately began dreaming up ways that it could be used in the classroom, whether in technical education, comprehensive schools, or universities. I started thinking of what teachers could do to create more interesting and engaging content and suddenly I realized just how little I actually knew about the inner workings of Adobe's leviathan of content creation suites.
Sure, I could make my way around and I could go through the help files, figuring out snazzy ways to use Photoshop or how to create really sharp video in Premiere Pro (which makes iMovie look just silly, by the way). But I was only scratching the surface. And, frankly, I was still thinking more like a geeky content creator rather than an educator. Enter the Adobe Education Exchange.
While this community site has been around for a while now in quiet beta form, its more widespread introduction and call for contributions and feedback at ISTE marks the beginning of what should be *the* social resource for educators looking to use any of Adobe's CS5-based suites, as well as all of their other software, most of which is quite powerful, but can have a fairly steep learning curve. Adobe Presenter, for example, takes PowerPoint presentations and turns them into online e-learning content. If you'd care to know how to do it, there's a resource on the Education Exchange for that.
Adobe's goal is to get as many educators involved as possible, both as contributors and consumers of the resources. The Education Exchange employs a Twitter-style social network, allowing users to follow other users who have particular expertise or shared interest. Looking to learn more about Flash? Then find a content expert and follow him/her to see what resources he/she posts.
It's a great model and, although in its infancy, the potential of the Exchange to provide educators with free resources and peer support to complement the not-so-free (but oh-so-powerful) software is clear. Join the Exchange - I'll be watching to see what new resources bubble to the top of the social network now that Adobe has formally launched it. I have no doubt that I'll learn a thing or two.