Sparking Adobe Digital Literacy at Victoria University

It has been amazing to have Dr Todd Taylor and Sebastian Distefano from the Adobe World Wide Higher Education Development team in Australia this week.

Today, the team worked with about 40 educators and support staff from Victoria University in Melbourne.


Following over 20 years as a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr Taylor is now working for Adobe as the Senior Strategic Development Manager for Higher Education.

Today’s session was focused on working with Spark Page, Premiere Rush and Adobe Audition. Dr Taylor is passionate about encouraging students and teachers to learn and teach with multi-modal methods. He has many years of experience working with educators and encouraging them to develop their digital literacy skills.


The big challenge he posed at the start of this session was to encourage the educators to allow students to work with Adobe Spark as an assessment option and then compare the results. He is confident that students will want to continue working with Spark over tradition word processing and slide tools that they have been using for years.


Have a look at this video from Dr Taylor’s formal university and note the way Adobe tools are integrated into all facilities as an essential assessment and productivity tool.

Adobe Day – The Ponds High


On Thursday August 8, a group of talented Year 11 media students from The Ponds High School visited the Adobe Sydney office for an Adobe Day based on video editing with Premiere Pro.

The Ponds3

The Ponds High School is a new NSW DoE school in the north-west of Sydney that opened in 2015 and these Year 11 students will be the first to graduate at the end of 2020.


After a tour of the office, the students enhanced and developed their video editing skills by creating a story based on footage that was provided to them as well as green screen footage that they captured.

The Ponds 4

They learned all the basic Premiere Pro fundamentals and created a range of very creative video stories.


I’d like to thank educator Liz Rose (Head Teacher TAS) for organising this excursion for her students. Liz recently became an Adobe Campus Leader which involved being an active member of the Adobe Education Exchange.

Stay tuned for a video story about this event coming soon to CreateEdu TV.

The Game Changer Challenge


One of the highlights of Education Week with for the NSW Department of Education is The Game Changer Challenge and it was a pleasure for Adobe to again be involved.

About 100 NSW DoE schools entered the 2019 Challenge and 18 primary & secondary school groups from all over NSW were selected to take part.

Schools involved were …


This year’s Challenge was How might we humanise technology?

The Challenge commenced on Tuesday 6th August at Google HQ in Pyrmont Sydney where the students and teachers were welcomed by Melanie Silva, Managing Director, Google ANZ as well as the NSW Minister for Education Hon Sarah Mitchell MLC and then had the opportunity to listen to a panel of expertise moderated by the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education Mark Scott.


The experts

  • Scientia Professor Toby Walsh, University of NSW
  • Distinguished Professor Mary-Anne Williams, University of Sydney
  • Dr Matt Beard, The Ethics Centre
  • Jillian Kilby, CEO and founder The Infrastructure Collaborative
  • Lloyd Godson, Hastings Secondary College Marine Studies Centre
  • Lee Hickin, National TechnologyOfficer Microsoft Australia

Hon Sarah Mitchell with the expert panelists

Following the panel session, the students met with an amazing group of facilitators who guided them through the challenge which involved using a design thinking approach to solving a problem focused on the  theme of humanising technology.


At the end of Day 1, all the students were bused to Parramatta where they had the amazing opportunity to stay at the Parkroyal Hotel ready for Day two at the NSW Department of Education Building on Phillip St, Parramatta.

Day 2

Day 2 of the Challenge involved dividing teh student groups up to take part in a range of workshop events including an Adobe workshop that I ran on Character Animator for the secondary students and an Adobe Spark workshop for the primary students run by Andrew Balzer from the T4L team at the NSW DoE.



Other workshops included sessions from Microsoft, Google, The University of Sydney, the Stem.T4L team at the NSW DoE as well as a how to design a pitch session buy the amazing story teller and poet Miles Merrill.

The students were all encouraged to take back what they learned from the workshops to their group with the aim of using their new skills and knowledge to help with their solution pitch on Day 3.


Following the workshops, the students met back with their groups to work on their solution pitch as part of a large makerspace session.


It was a pleasure to be involved with this event again and it is always a joy to see students collaborating, problem solving, designing and creating.


...this is what school should be like all the time.

In an interview I did with a teacher for a video story about this event (stay tuned to CreateEdu TV), a teacher said to me that this is what school should be like all the time. Great engagement, amazing creativity, so much learning and a wonderful way to help prepare these future leaders to help solve some of the big problems the world is (and will be facing) in the near future.

AI Safari

On Friday August 2, Over 60 NSW and other Aussie educators from K12 & Higher Ed visited Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Adobe for a day focused on Artificial Intelligence and its impact on Education. This event was run by the NSW Department of Education T4L team and was sponsored by Intel. It was a wonderful example of how education and industry can work together to share and learn from each other.



Education leaders from the following schools, universities & organisations took part:

  • Wollongong Catholic Education Office
  • Department of Education NSW
  • Macquarie University
  • The Media Lab
  • Aurora College
  • CSIRO Education and Outreach (Digital Careers)
  • Association of Independent Schools of South Australia
  • University of Newcastle
  • Robert Townson High School
  • HETI higher education
  • Sylvania Heights PS
  • University of New South Wales
  • Mayfield West Demonstration School
  • Ravenswood School for Girls
  • Killara High School
  • #aussieED
  • Catalyst Lab Innovation Program
  • Transport for NSW
  • Dept of Education Victoria
  • UniSA
  • Roseville College
  • Australian Academy of Science
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • LCT Centre for Knowledge-Building, University of Sydney
  • Intel
  • University of Wollongong
  • Forestville Public School
  • University of Newcastle
  • Gradient Institute
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Amazon


The Adobe part of the day was run by Jamie Ragen (Adobe – Manager Solution Consulting, Digial Media) and myself. The main focus of our presentation was the use of AI in Adobe applications. Adobe’s AI engine is called Adobe Sensei.

Jamie ran through a number of demonstrations of Adobe Sensei in action within Photoshop, Premiere Pro, XD, Rush and other Adobe apps and I helped to put these into an education context.

It was a pleasure to host so many education influencers in the one space.


Special thanks to my friend Jo Cohen and the team at NSW DoE T4L for coordinating this amazing day.




TAFE NSW Graduations


This week, hundreds of TAFE NSW students graduated from a wide range of certificate courses related to Creative Industries. It was a pleasure for Jerry Wong and me to represent Adobe at the ceremonies held at the Nepean Campus in Kingswood and the Cambelltown Campous.

Michael Cullen, Regional General Manager for TAFE NSW and George Verghese, Head of Skills Team for Creative and Design ideation both presented inspiring messages of congratulations to the graduating students and their families.

It was great to catch up with Adobe Education Leader Craig Daalmeijer-Power who is the Head Teacher at Nepean Arts & Design Centre for TAFE NSW.


Congratulations to all the graduating students, especially those who were the first in their families to receive a formal certificate qualification. The work that TAFE NSW is doing in Western Sydeny to help provide employment and training opportunities is outstanding. It is always inspiring to see our students are improving their lives and the lives of people around them with digital creativity skills and the use of Adobe products.


Nth American AEL Summit – 2019


The 2019 Nth American AEL Summit took place from July 22 to 25 at the Adobe office in San Francisco with about 100 Adobe Education Leaders from all over the globe.


Meet some of the AELs and what they were looking forward to at the start of this event …

Clara Galán, Adobe’s Global Community Lead, K-12 & Higher Education, welcomed everyone to official start the Summit. Have a listen to her address …

Tacy Trowbridge, Adobe’s Global Education Programs Lead, then addressed the educators and shared about some of the recent changes Adobe has made to their education teams.

Adobe’s new Global Head of Education, Henry Hsiao introduced himself to the AELs and the wider education community with the following address that shared his vision  for Adobe in Education.

Highlights of Day 1

Creative Catalyst Talks

The following Creative Catalyst Talks from various AELs were a highlight of the Summit.

Teaching Game Production & Creating Games for Social Good

by Andy Phelps

Andy is a Professor of Film and Media Arts at the American University Game Lab. He is soon to start another position as Professor of Human Interface Technology, at the College of Engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch New Zealand.

Are  Your  Question Marks Big Enough?  Why Epic Projects are Worth the Risk

by Lisa Gottfried and one of her students from New Tech High, California.


Lisa Gottfried has taught CTE Digital Design at New Tech High for 6 years and is an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in Innovative Education. In 2017/18, Lisa was recognised internationally for Innovation in Education with Blog Portfolios through and also won the “Innovation in the Classroom” grant from California Educational Research Association. She is also currently a professor for Touro University in the Innovative Ed. Masters program and is a proud member of the Adobe Education Leaders group.

Inspire Your  School Community: Building The Leaders of Tomorrow

by Georgina Dean

Georgina is  the Primary Google Learning Management Systems Coordinator at Modern English School Cairo. She has been the holder of the Excellence in Education Award for the past 3 consecutive years, and always looking for new ways to raise the bar in education by inspiring digital integration. She is about to start a new chapter in her education journal in Amman, Jordan.

TeachMeet: Ignite Creative Catalyst Talks

We also enjoyed hearing the following  Ignite Creative Catalyst Talks from the AEL community.

Fostering creativity through storytelling

by Michael Hernandez

Sparking Creativity

by David Dodds

Designing Adobe CC Micro-Lessons to Share with Faculty & Students: What & Why

by Shelley Rodrigo

Why what you are  doing in school might be under threat

by Ian Usher

What is Instructional Design

by Deila Bumgardner


Be Pro-active

by Leonard Barbar


Understanding what ‘Flash’ has become when dealing with the modern, open web

by Joseph Labrecque


Create… Space.

by Kelly Kermode

Integarted Learning Strategist


Creativity and Metacognition

by Phil Badham

Educational and Creative Technologies Consultant


You can see the above videos and lots more on the CreateEdu TV 2019 Nth American AEL Summit Vimeo channel

Look back at past AEL Summit videos …

Adobe @ Monash


On Wednesday July 17, I worked with a group of academics and support staff at the Monash University Education Faculty to enhance their knowledge of a number of Adobe applications and how they can be used to enhance teaching & learning.


We started by playing with Spark Post, with a particular focus on the new animated sticker feature on iOS & Android.

We then progressed to Spark Video and Premiere Rush to show how video is so easily accessible these days as a communication tool.


Then we spent some time playing with Character Animator and work-shopped the ease of real-time animation and how it can be used by academics and students.

It was great to catch up with my friend Roland Gesthuizen who took the above images and is now planning some wider engagement with Monash staff & students for later in 2019.