As the back-to-school debate rages across the country, one thing that is no longer in doubt is the need for students to have the ability to access more digital learning tools than ever before. Adobe is looking for ways to support this need.
“Many educators are experimenting for the first-time with digital teaching and learning as well as digital and creative projects,” said Adobe Global Lead of Education Programs Tacy Trowbridge. “There has been an incredible increase in demand, especially from educators teaching literature, languages, social students and science.”
The Adobe Education Exchange is supporting 850,000 educators from across the globe that teach all subjects and grades. They use the exchange’s free professional development resources to learn how to bring creativity and digital media to their students. Adobe’s key strategy is to provide high quality content that teachers can use regardless of their geographic location—very important during this time of COVID.
Just last month Adobe launched a new educator community, the Adobe Creative Educator program. This program brings even more tools and resources for professional development and community support for educators in K-12 and higher education across subject areas, disciplines and departments.
“For other teachers this has been an opportunity to dive deeper into creative tools, because the problems these tools can help address are more accentuated with distance learning,” said Trowbridge. “There has also been an increased focus on digital tools that support self-expression and social and emotional learning, which is important right now.”
Teaching the tools
As schools began to close in late February and early March, Adobe moved quickly to meet the needs of educators and students around the world as they shifted overnight to online teaching models. The Adobe Education Exchange launched a Distance Learning Hub in March with teaching resources, blogs, courses and live teaching online.
The Distance Learning Hub is a comprehensive platform of digital educational tools, including:
- Talks and webinars, live and on-demand events that focus on strategies for effective distance learning;
- Courses, articles and blogs that serve as valuable resources for distance learning educators;
- Paperless teaching center that offers course readings, paperless assignments and worksheets;
- Wellbeing resources for educators to help them practice self-care and community support;
- Social justice educational content to encourage diversity and inclusion in learning; and
- Adobe Digital Literacy Center, featuring Adobe Live.
A popular digital tool, the Adobe Live “office hours” is where students get live reviews of their portfolios and coursework, and receive career advice.
“Adobe’s creative tools fill a unique need for simple, engaging, creative tools that allow students, educators and parents to express themselves, communicate and share their point of view and experiences,” said Trowbridge. “Strong storytellers are needed more than ever in education.”
All-ages access to Adobe
The Adobe Education Exchange has also drawn a distinct line between universal digital teaching tools and age-specific digital academic tools and activities.
Adobe’s student-based digital tools run from kindergarten to college:
- Khan + Create Activities, a creative activity hub for students of all ages that combines Khan, Pixar and Adobe teaching resources;
- Higher education projects that consists of activities, lessons and projects for college and university faculty and students;
- K-12 distance learning projects like the Save the Ocean creative challenge and the Take a Stand writing and literature project;
- Elementary school student section that offers advice for parents teaching young children at home, along with activities and lessons for teachers;
- A teen and college student activity center that hosts everything from the Teen Vogue and Adobe Class of 2020 digital yearbook, to Adobe and Lady Gaga’s creative challenge.
There’s an Adobe app for that
Educators are using Adobe Distance Learning Hub for instructional assistance and many Adobe tools and apps to help with process, protocol and performance-grading issues. Adobe Spark is a web-based app that allows for teaching in a storytelling format while the Premiere Rush app allows educators to edit videos on their phone. Teachers are also using traditional favorite Adobe apps, Illustrator and Photoshop to create engaging presentations for their students.
“We have also seen an increase in the use of our productivity tools like Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Scan as educators and students shift from paper to documents online,” said Trowbridge.
Social media and YouTube as teaching tools
In addition to their plethora of apps for educators and students, social media and YouTube are platforms that also play a major role in the distribution of Adobe Education Exchange’s content and learning opportunities.
The launch of the YouTube channel was accelerated to meet growing demand from educators during the initial COVID outbreak. The channel includes instructional videos, tutorials, talks and webinars from expert educators and thought leaders, as well as instructional content meant to be directly shared with students.
“Video is more essential than ever,” said Trowbridge. “Educators are finding and assigning instructional videos, creating their own instructional videos to replace in-person instruction and assigning students to make their own videos as part of independent, project-based learning.”
Keeping the community engaged
To facilitate community engagement among Adobe Education Exchange users, they publish a biweekly newsletter that provides updates on free courses, workshops and teaching resources to ensure users are getting the most from their experience.
The newsletter also extensively covers distance learning issues, including lesson plans that use Adobe apps, self-paced courses, student projects that use Adobe apps and surveys for continuous improvements in usability and user experience.
“We work closely with our product teams and experts in the field to make updates to learning content as products and the industry change,” said Trowbridge. “We have our own process for curating and uploading content on the Adobe Education Exchange based on the needs of students, educators and institutions. Adobe’s digital and creative tools continue to excel at empowering everyone to tell their story.”