Adobe Education Exchange Live

I had the honor of being invited to speak at the Adobe Education Exchange Live event in Toronto, ON (November 8 and 9, 2012). In addition to the event, I was also able to participate in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards ceremony in the evening (Nov. 9). I thought that it might be of interest to others to have a recap of some of the things I learned as part of this conference. Here are some notes and some insights I gleaned  by participating.

Trevor Bailey opened the conference with some interesting observations from a recent survey. I provide these as a set of bullets below.

  • 97% of students responding prefer to receive information digitally
  • 33% of students responding plan to purchase a tablet within the next 6 months
  • 80% of respondents believe that unlocking creativity is key to our economic growth
  • Roughly 60% of respondents believe creativity is valuable to society
  • Only 25% of respondents believe they are living up to their creative potential.

Clearly creativity was a theme throughout the event. There were a number of presentations where many creative approaches to teaching and learning were covered. I only wish I had the ability to clone myself as there were so many excellent choices.

Trevor also mentioned a recent U.S. News report on the top 5 skills everyone needs on their resume these days. In order, they are:

  1. Excel
  2. Web Development
  3. Adobe Creative Suite
  4. Foreign language
  5. Google Analytics

I found this list to be amazing. For students in the CMWEB curriculum, note that items 2, 3, and 5 are covered in some depth in our classes.

Tacy Trowbridge discussed how Adobe plans to continue helping educational institutions succeed. She mentioned the Adobe for Academics site launched last week. This site has a lot of useful resources. For example, “How to make an interactive syllabus” is the first tutorial listed. She also reviewed the Adobe Education Exchange. This site presently has over 68,500 members. Tacy discussed a number of use cases to engage students. She observed that students are engaged by success. This is something we factor into our programs (small and incremental successes). Tacy reviewed the recent Adobe study on creativity. I encourage you to review that article as it contains a lot of useful and interesting informaiton.

Steve Hart likened the media industry to the old children’s song “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.” For example, radio was going to kill off newspapers, television was going to kill off radio, the Internet was going to kill off television. We still haven’t seen the horse. His point was that all these technologies evolve and work together, none completely eliminates the other. He went on to describe the history of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite and how it will continue to evolve in the coming months and years. His main point was that as contents becomes more interactive, it is read and reviewed more. For example, 48% of interactive elements are played at least once. A full 20% of content views in digital apps are ads. And, 55% of readers of digital media reported they saw (or reviewed) an ad. These numbers are higher than for more traditional media.

These presentations were followed by “5 minutes of fame” presentations by a number of faculty at various colleges and universities throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. I was most impressed by the depth of knowledge and creativity expressed during these short segments.

We broke for lunch and had roundtable discussions on various topics. I chose to participate in a discussion of mobile computing (tablets, laptops and the creative process). I know that many notes were taken as part of this discussion and I understand a link will be shared at some point with those details.

After lunch, we separated into a number of breakout sessions. I remained in the main ballroom and gave my presentation on the use of Adobe Touch apps in higher education. I was most appreciative that Adobe provided such a large venue. Many interesting questions were asked after my presentation.

The next session I attended dealt with using digital tools to support design agility. Stacie Rohrbach and Dylan Vitone made this presentation. I really liked their creative approach.For a project, students were given a word with two meanings (for example – dove (bird and swimming), wind (verb or noun)). Students had to develop a presentation for both examples of the word. Many students used Adobe Edge Animate and included appropriate sounds (such as a bird flapping its wings) as part of each animation. They also reviewed additional projects.  For some, they began with Adobe tools and ended up with objects cut using a laser cutter and an actual object. They ended with their formula: meaningful challenges + design agility = success.

Jonathan Blake Huer discussed creating effective student app development teams. He provides guidance as part of the process and indicated that collaboration is a learned skill. His goal is to put out smart, savvy, employable students. He reviewed the process he employs along with the variety of tools available. You definitely need one student to be in charge for each team. Most teams consist of a designer, a developer, a story teller, and a technologist (person who really knows the hardware and how to interface with it). Any of these individuals can be the one in charge (depending on the project). It is important to deal with a variety of personalities. In addition to using Myers-Briggs tests,  he also employs the owl, butterfly, dolphin or jaguar personality test. I did like his final thought – “inspiration in the middle of a project often turns out poorly.”

Tomas Krcha provided a great overview on the future of Flash. He provided a link to his slides. Among other directions, expect to see Flash used a lot of advanced video and gaming applications. He reviewed a number of examples.

I also had an opportunity to participate in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards and hear the ending keynote by Sean Adams.

This was a great event. It was wonderful to interact with so many friends and colleagues (and to meet a number of new friends and colleagues). Andrew McAllister put together a Storify account of the event and was kind enough to include a number of my Twitter tweets.

I leave you with a few photos I took of the area immediately adjacent to the hotel (including the CN Tower). I arrived early enough in the day to be able to walk around downtown Toronto for a few hours before the event. These are some of my snapshots. Click on any of the images to see the entire set at Flickr. As always, I look forward to your comments.

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