Adobe tools in Education – Part 1

I was recently asked why Adobe tools should be used in education and if they have any real benefit in the learning and teaching process. These are fundamental questions to the work that I do each day and to the people I work with in schools and universities across Australia and South East Asia. So I have decided to consolidate my answers to these questions through a series of short online posts.

Adobe Spark(1)

What is Adobe?

Firstly, I’d like to establish what Adobe actually is as a company and what they offer education.

Adobe Systems is a multinational software company with about 50 offices around the world that provides close to 100 software applications and services for desktop, laptops, smart phones and tablet devices.

Adobe is well recognised as the world’s leading maker of digital creativity software with applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, Muse, Flash (now called Adobe Animate) and Acrobat Pro. It would be difficult to find a magazine, newspaper, TV show, movie, advertising poster, website, tablet app or animation that didn’t use at least one Adobe product.


Adobe is known as the software company for creatives, with a special focus on their Creative Cloud applications. What isn’t as well known is that Adobe is also a world leader four other areas:

  1. Mobile applications
  2. eLearning solutions
  3. Document management
  4. Data analytics & marketing solutions

Adobe mobile apps

Adobe have a wide range of mobile applications, usually available for free, that link nicely with their Creative Cloud software but also allow students and teachers to quickly make a poster, website, video, drawing without needing to spend a lot of time on design factors or editing. The most popular of these for education at the moment is Adobe Spark which is also available as web apps via a browser.


Click here to see the full list of Adobe’s mobile applications.

eLearning with Adobe

Adobe’s eLearning solutions are focused around Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter , Adobe Presenter Video Express and Adobe Connect. These are the tools of choice for educators who use a flipped learning approach, a blended learning approach and teachers who want to extend learning beyond the boundaries of the traditional four walls of the classroom.


Captivate can turn PowerPoint decks into interactive eLearning activities with an HTML focus. Presenter is similar, with a video focus. Presenter Video Express captures a screen, the presenter via a webcam, the audio via a microphone and converts speech to closed captions text. Adobe Connect is one of the world’s leading webinar and web conferencing systems.

Document management

Document management is how Adobe as a company got started back 1982 with the development of PostScript, the back-end of what became the PDF. These days, Adobe’s Document Cloud (which features Acrobat DC, Adobe Sign and mobile apps) is a solution for those who want to avoid working with paper, preferring to create a digital document workflow.


Data analytics & marketing solutions

Adobe also has a range of marketing solutions such as Adobe Analytics, Adobe Audience Manager, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Experience Manager that help provide companies with everything they need to get insight into their customers, build personalized marketing campaigns, and manage their online content and assets.

Universities are working with Adobe’s marketing tools to manage the analyitics they gain from their websites, communicate with potential & current students and manage their alumni.


Connecting with education

Communication is a key aspect of education. Teachers need to be able to communicate in creative ways to engage their students. Students need to be able to share their knowledge and construct their learning in creative ways to their teachers and peers.  Education administrators need to be able to communicate with staff, students, parents and the wider community. Adobe has a wide range of tools to make all of this happen.

As the industry leader in digital communication tools, students who work with Adobe tools are also preparing themselves with skills that are fundamental for when they leave school.

Stay tuned for Part 2 which links Adobe tools with modern learning theories.





Adobe in Education – NSW Parliament


Tuesday 21st June, 2016 was a special day for a group of Year 9 students from Davidson High in NSW when they visited the Sydney Adobe Office, met their local State Member of Parliament Mr Jonathan O’Dea and were mentioned by him the following day in the Legislative Assembly.

Davison High media teacher Jessica Peade organised this excursion for her Year 9 Multimedia students to take part in this Adobe Day in conjunction with The Bully Project.

The aim of this day was based around working with the set of Adobe Spark tools to build anti-bullying posters videos & websites that could be feature on the internationally renowned The Bully Mural, which is part of The Bully Project.


Katie Barry from The Bully Project gave the students a background in the project and inspired them with ideas for their own projects.


The students brought in a range of devices from Laptops, iPads, iPhones and iPods which was fine because Spark tools work on browsers with laptops as well as the full range if iOS devices.

The visit from the local member for Davidson Mr Jonathan  O’Dea was a real highlight, especially as it also involved a visit from Paul Robson (Adobe’s President for Asia Pacific) Wayne Weisse (Senior Public Sector Business Manager, Asia Pacific Education & Government Digital Solutions) and Julie Inman Grant (Director of Government Relations, Adobe APAC).


Mr O’Dea showed great interest in the what the students were making and he encouraged them to keep developing their digital skills.

The following day, during a NSW Parliament session, he made the following statements about his visit to Adobe …

Student learning in New South Wales schools is becoming increasingly reliant on utilising new technologies in creative ways. Yesterday I visited an Adobe digital school workshop session in the Sydney CBD with a group of year 9 students from Davidson High School in my electorate. The students were participating in an Adobe Day workshop, in association with the Bully Project… The workshop was conducted by Adobe Education Specialist Dr Tim Kitchen and Katie Barry, who works for the Bully Project.

The students learned how to become “upstanders” rather than bystanders in the face of bullying. They also learned how to use cutting edge multimedia tools such as Adobe Spark to create videos, posters and web pages that can be added to the international online Bully Project Mural. That mural demonstrates genuine digital solidarity across the world and lets victims of bullying know they are not alone.


Through a statewide agreement overseen by Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli, New South Wales school students can access the latest Adobe Creative Cloud applications. This opportunity enhances their creative potential and helps them to learn twenty-first century communication skills.

The students from Davidson High School told me they enjoy using mobile apps such as Adobe Spark. They are apparently easy to work with and help students to learn in creative ways. However, while technology engages students, what and how they learn using that technology is still dependent on the guidance and skills of their teachers. Davidson High School is a comprehensive, coeducational high school in spacious grounds surrounded by natural bushland on the northern peninsula of Sydney. It is an academic, creative, innovative and sustainable school. Under the leadership of Principal Jann Pattinson, Davidson High School’s educational programs strongly encourage creativity and thinking skills. The New South Wales Government likewise encourages development of those skills. Its relationship with Adobe through the Department of Education highlights that support.

The Adobe sessions are part of a broader contribution the company makes to the educational community. Adobe also conducts regular workshops for educators and students on how to use its creative digital tools. Through the Adobe Education Exchange—a free education portal involving about 300,000 teachers worldwide—it provides more than 10,000 teaching resources and a wide range of professional learning opportunities.


The Adobe Education Exchange –

Education needs to adapt to a rapidly changing world environment. The New South Wales Government is constantly developing new and innovative ideas about how schools work, how teachers teach and how students learn best.


Today’s students need research, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to succeed. They need to work both independently and together in groups in classrooms and other settings that provide flexibility to successfully integrate new technologies. The Department of Education understands these ongoing challenges and is constantly responding.

I enjoyed learning about how innovative technology tools, creativity and learning opportunities help students like those at Davidson High School to create positive social impacts. It was also rewarding to observe the students in action, combining their empathy and understanding of important social issues with their technological skills in order to make a difference at their school and in the broader community. I thank Adobe for inviting me to the workshop and Davidson High School students for allowing me to be part of an exciting learning experience in this new digital age. It is an age that we will need to increasingly embrace and understand in the future.


Here is a selection of some of the student’s work …

Archie & Aidan

Page1Spark Page


Spark Video


Spark Post

Mitch & Jackson


Spark Page


Spark Video

Alex & Tom


Spark Page (including video)


Lachie & Tom


Spark Page (including video)



Spark Page (including video)



Spark Page (including video)

Evan & Conor



Spark Page



Spark Video


Miu & Meiru


Spark Video


NSW Adobe PL – Part 1

The first of a series of four professional learning sessions for NSW teachers happened on Monday 20th June at the Adobe Sydney office in Darling Harbour.

The aim of these events is to help NSW teachers make the most of their Adobe tools in the learning and teaching process with a curriculum focus.


It was delightful to have Adobe Education Leaders Bill Gillespie (Former NSW Public School Principal) and legendary digital art teacher from Wyndham College Gary Poulton helping me at this event. The experience and expertise that they were able to share with these educators was outstanding and very much appreciated.


Software, resources and concepts covered during this session included:

  • Photoshop tips & tricks for teachers
  • Working with the free Adobe Spark tools
  • Flipped Learning with Adobe Presenter, Adobe Spark & Premiere Clip
  • Basic Video production with Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Classroom resources on the Adobe Education Exchange

The next session for NSW teachers is planned for Monday 1st August were currently about 30 teachers have registered.

Meeting Darcy Moore


Darcy Moore is a photographer, blogger and Deputy Principal at Dapto High School in NSW, Australia. He is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Woolongong in their Masters of Teaching course, an avid reader and strong advocate for the use of Adobe tools in education.

Twitter –@Darcy1968

Last year, Darcy won the Adobe sponsored The Premier’s Adobe information and Communication Technologies Scholarship which allowed him to travel throughout the USA to follow one of his many education passions – Citizen Science, with a focus on non-medical DNA analysis.

Darcy used a wide range of Adobe tools to document his travels such as Lightroom and Adobe Spark. His blog has a record of what he achieved throughout his tour. The following links help tell the story …

It was delightful to meet Darcy on his return at the Adobe Office in Sydney on 20th June and hear about what he gained from the experience and what he intends to do with his new found knowledge to help benefit not only the students & teachers where he works but also the wider education community.


Julie Inman (Adobe’s Director of Government Relations, APAC), Darcy Moore & Me at the Adobe Office in Sydney

I’m looking forward to working with Darcy in the future and connecting him further with the amazing Adobe Education Community.

Adobe Education Leaders Seminar – Sri Lanka


The beautiful Vivanta by Taj resort in Sri Lanka was the venue for the fourth and final Adobe Education Leaders Seminar for 2016. This was was very well organised by the Indian Adobe Education team who invited me to present along side some of India’s top Higher Education leaders.



Sand projection art

This event brought India’s eminent thought leaders, industry professionals and education leaders together to connect as a community and share best practices on how institutions are catalysing creativity and embracing digital transformation in the classroom.


The welcome reception event was a great opportunity to meet the delegates.

The next day was packed with customer presentations and Adobe sessions. I was very impressed with the passion these India education leaders had for enhancing ICT and Creativity opportunities for their students.


Kulmeet Bawa, Adobe’s Managing Director for South Asia welcomed the delegates and set the scene for a day packed with information and inspiration about how and why Adobe’s set of industry based creativity, document and marketing tools can be (and are being) used to enhance education in India.


Mr Shigeru Aoyagi, from UNESCO shared a range of education initiatives and gave us some international reflections on how digital technologies are impacting education.


Mr Suhas Bendre, Director – Creative Design at Cognizant shared how educational institutes need to evolve with the times otherwise risk becoming irrelevant.


I was most impressed with Professor Mangala Sundar from IIT who showed a wide range of examples of how Adobe tools are being used to enhance the teaching of Medicine, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics through animation, image manipulation and video.


Roychand Chenraj Jain, Chairman of the JGI Group spoke about the secret art of entrepreneurship.


Another special highlight for me was listening to Indian/US student Shrenik Ganatra, previous finalist of the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, share his passion for the use of Adobe tools in his design work and studies.


It was a privilege for me to share some of the research Adobe and others have been doing on how best to prepare young people for the future workplace.


My colleague Baljeet Singh Juneja (Indian based Adobe Solution Consultant) did a number of demonstrations on the power of Adobe tools, including how to convert a paper based university admissions form into an interactive digital document that can be completed via a laptop, desktop, tablet or phone via Acrobat Pro and the Adobe Document Cloud.


Mrs Garima Babbar, Adobe’s ‎Head Strategic Alliances – Education and Skill Development for India, hosted a distinguished panel including Dr Sandhya Chintala (VP & Executive Director at NASSCOM) Professor Ashok Kolaskar (VC of The Neotia University), Professor Ashoke Sarkar (Director of BITS Pilani) , as well as Adobe’s own Sunil Mohapatra (Director, Digital Media Sales).


The Adobe Team for this event


I would particularly like to congratulate Sudhish Sitaram (Adobe Marketing Specialist) for the work that he and his team did putting this event together. This image above is both of us standing at the entrance of the Gala Dinner which was also a highlight.

Adobe Education hits Perth


It was delightful to reunite with members of the Western Australian Adobe Education Leadership Community (left to right – Darren Smith, Petra Trinke, Drew Mayhills, Chris Schnell & Me) at a special Adobe in Education event hosted by North Metropolitan TAFE on Monday 13th June.


About 50 WA teachers from a wide range of education sectors registered for a range of workshops including:

  • Adobe Spark – (making the most of some of Adobe’s free apps)
  • Using Adobe Acrobat Pro to save time in the classroom
  • Working with Adobe Captivate 9 to build great online learning activities
  • Using Photoshop and After Effects to turn a 2D photo  into a 3D parallax image

My resources for this event can be found on the Adobe Education Exchange via:

Big Day In – Brisbane


My final Big Day In event for 2016 was in Brisbane at The University of Queensland on Wednesday 8th June.

About 500 QLD students from a wide range of schools listened to representatives from a wide range of IT companies. I particularly enjoyed hearing from Anna Emmerson, Site Reliability Engineer at Google. A local girl, studying at St Peter’s in Brisbane and UQ, Anna was able to encourage the students (especially the girls) to work hard so that they too can potentially work at a company like Google.



It was great having Richard Turner-Jones with me for this event. His demos were very popular.


Adobe on the Gold Coast – QLD


Richard Turner-Jones (Adobe Solution Consultant based in Brisbane) and I had the pleasure of running a series of workshops for students and teachers at Marymount College on Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast.

Richard focused on Adobe animation solutions, including the new Character Animator product which came with the 2015 version of After Effects. This software became world famous a few weeks ago when the makers of The Simpsons used it to go live to air in the US at the end of an episode. Click here to find out more.

I showed the students a mix of the Adobe Spark tools, Photoshop & Premiere Pro.

In the afternoon, after school, a number of teachers from the Gold Coast region as well as teachers from Marymount College came together to meet with Richard & myself for a professional learning session on Adobe tools in the classroom.


It was great catching up with Rose Duggan (AEL) and two of her colleagues from Merrimac State High School.

Special thank you to Katrina Nicholson from Marymount College for organising this great day of Adobe in Education activities.


Vivid Sydney – Creative Careers Day – Bradfield College


On Saturday 4th June I had the pleasure of presenting at Bradfield Senior College’s Creative Careers Day which was part of the 2016 Vivid light, Music & Ideas festival in Sydney.


Finishing a recorded panel session to a live audience at the start of the event.

Meredith Melville-Jones (Director of Bradfield College) and her team have set up this event to provide an opportunity for students  to connect with experts from the creative industry to discover where the jobs are, what skills are needed and valued and the steps they should take to forge a creative career.


After being part of the Human Library, where I was placed in a room and participants could come and ask questions, I ran a workshop titled Video Literacy. This involved having small groups of participants produce a video story about the event using Adobe Premiere Clip.

Premiere Clip is great because it is available for both iOS & Android devices and it’s really simple to used as a tool to film and editing a short video story.  Here is a sample of what one of the groups achieved in just 15 minutes of filming and editing …


Big Day In – Canberra 2016

It was delightful to meet with about 300 students in our Nation’s capital today at the 2016 Canberra Big Day In at the University of Canberra.



Designed by students for students, The BiG Day In is a series of IT careers events throughout Australia, sponsored by Adobe.


Throughout this year, there have been eight events so far with two more to come. By the end of this year a total of 161 speakers, 165 exhibitors & 69 organisations will have been involved in delivering events nationally involving over 6,500 students exploring careers in technology.

It was great to hear from Professor Lawrence Prachett, Dean of Faculty of Business, Government & Law at the University of Canberra, welcome the students to his university.


Mrs Meegan Fitzharris, ACT Minister for Higher Education, Research & Training also spoke to the students and encouraged them to consider ICT as a career and studying at one of the great universities in ACT.