Adobe Education Summit

Los Angeles. Sunday, October 2,  2011 – This event was provided for educators (those living in the Los Angeles area and those visiting from many other states and countries). Sessions were recorded for those who could not physically be present. It was a great opportunity to meet and discuss current trends (in technology and education) with roughly 150 individuals throughout the afternoon and evening.

Synopsis of the information presented below. As educators, we need to be aware of the profound changes happening at this time. We have roughly 3 years to adapt to these changes. Learning will happen when and where students choose. We must use these technologies to fully understand their capabilities (hint – if your teacher doesn’t have one or more tablets and smartphones, it does not bode well for them in the long run).

I participated in the following sessions:

  • Joseph Labrecque – From desktop to mobile: application functionality for small screens. The key points of his presentation included the following – when going from desktop to mobile, one must distil everything to the absolute minimum. One should also focus on the platforms where the app will be used (and adjust accordingly). AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) is one technology solution which can help you deploy consistently with less time focused on individual platforms. In the world of mobile, one needs to focus on issues such as resolution, touch interface and multi-tasking (whether applications continue to run in the background or are closed when you open a new app). Individual clients are used to specific behaviours on their device (iPhone vs. Android) and they expect your app to behave similarly. Joseph also provided an overview of the mobile app he developed at the University of Denver (and explained why certain aspects of the desktop app were not included (or were moved).
  • Tom Green – Multi-screen: Our lives just got interesting. Tom focused on the world view of mobile devices (and used China as an example of sophisticated mobile users). He helped put many of the issues we face into a global perspective. For example, the transactions on Taobao (http://www.taobao.com/index_global.php) were $60 billion (in equivalent $US). This is the Chinese equivalent of eBay (which reported $3 billion in the same time period). 66% of Chinese access the Internet via their smartphones (that is 660,000,000 people). 70% say they can’t live without their phones. 40% of Chinese “netizens” create content (equivalent of Facebook, Flickr, and so forth). This is 2 times the US rate. Humanity has become untethered. There were roughly 10 billion devices connected to the Internet in 2010 (and there were only 6.775 billion people). Smartphone sales have exceeded PC sales. All this has profound implications for teaching and learning. As educators, we don’t need to develop apps, we need to focus on learning experiences. Unfortunately for many – “changing education is a lot like changing a cemetery – you don’t get much help from the inhabitants.” As educators, we must be both consumers and creators of media. We have about 3 years before we are left behind. Institutionally we need to rethink where learning happens (hint – it will not be in the classroom). How do we keep up? As educators, we must be intensely curious and not afraid of change. Tom also provided a list of resources.
  • Jenna Date and Dylan Vitone – Collaboration and partnerships within the community. Jenna and Dylan provided a number of examples of work their students have been involved with. Both Human Computer Interaction and School of Design projects. Unfortunately, Jenna could not share the results of much of her student’s work as they developed proprietary applications for various companies. They covered the process by which their students developed these applications. This included a lot of research (and involved “social following” – mining information from clients Twitter and Facebook feeds). Unfortunately, I had to leave this session a bit early to set up for my presentation.
  • Mark DuBois – Modifying existing websites for mobile/ multi-screen – I focused on the actual process involved in transforming an existing web page into a page which displays properly from a smartphone to a large screen TV (the largest is presently 82 inches). If you would like to examine the actual presentation (or the code I supplied, please visit http://markdubois.me/2011edsummit).
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