Thursday, May 17, 2012

Taking Schools and Education to Another Level With Digital Publishing

On Thursday May 17, 2012, I was fortunate to attend the Adobe Digital Publishing Summit in New York City. I was accompanied by NMHS Adobe guru Walt Pevny, who consistently integrates technology in his classroom to allow students to create artifacts to demonstrate learning. Through the use of iMacs, Adobe Creative Design Suite, and digital cameras, students flock to his courses to unleash their creativity and partake in innovative learning activities.
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The summit focused on the rise of tablet devices and to advances in their ability to create digital content. This is extremely relevant as about 1/3 of Americans and 760 million people globally will own a tablet in 2016. This statistic has major implications for schools. If so many people are going to own a tablet device in the near future, it is imperative that schools and educators make content discoverable and share it. Businesses have already realized this shift and have begun to intensely focus on the evolution of tablet devices and apps. Tablet apps can get schools and educators closer to their stakeholders on a device they love. Students and schools can create content, share it, and have it available for all stakeholders to consume and to interact with it. Once the content is created, it can be downloaded onto a tablet and viewed with, or without, an Internet connection.

Schools that invest in tablets should prioritize iPad first, as it currently dominates the market place and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, but should eventually scale across devices and platforms. The exciting challenge then becomes creating authentic apps for the school and classroom. Isn't this what education today is all about though? Follow this link for some great resources to begin creating your own apps.

Sotherby's talked about moving over their paper catalogues to digital. When you consider that they were printing 15 large paper catalogues a year this proved to not only save a substantial amount of money, but also increased consumer interactivity with their products. Schools could easily create their course of study catalogues, curriculum guides, and sports programs in a similar fashion using tools found in the Adobe Digital PublishingSuite (DPS). Another innovative idea would be for schools to create interactive guides for their learning and athletic facilities where stakeholders can rotate images 360 degrees. Additionally, features could be added where anyone with the app could touch specific areas of the image and receive detailed information about how certain forms of technology are used to enhance the teaching and learning process. Think about how the course of studies catalogue could come to life with short video clips of teachers in action or discussions as to what students will learn and do in the course.

Taking this idea a step further, I envision art students creating a portfolio of their work prior to an art show or even as a culminating project. Stakeholders can then view the works that students have created before, during, or after the show from anywhere in the world. Students could even add descriptions and personal reflections on their art or even video clips taking viewers through the creation process. I can even see the use of apps by teachers to display student learning portfolios for all to see in the future. School newspapers and magazines could be taken to an unparalleled level with Adobe DPS.

Digital publishing tools will function to bridge the gap between websites and traditional apps. In conjunction with apps, they can be used to improve recruiting students that are thinking about attending private schools, improve mobile presentations, improve stakeholder experiences with the school, create a content distribution channel, enhance public relations, improve tools for teachers to share what their students are learning, push notifications out, and deliver real-time information. From what I know and have seen in my own school, Adobe provides some of the best digital publishing tools available to schools. Their recent release of Creative Design Suite 6 and numerous tablet apps provide all the means for schools to produce authentic digital content. The possibilities are endless, but what is needed is a change in mindset amongst many schools and educators. We need the will to accompany the means.


  1. Great idea to create study catalogues and curriculum guides for the school. That would be a nice way to showcase the school and the different programs we offer. I'm thinking about all those flyers we have been printing out and usually end up in the trash can! Using these tools seems like a great idea. I'm guessing it is easily done? Seems a little complicated to me, did you learn this during the workshop?

  2. Erm... not to nitpick, but there's no way "760 billion people globally will own a tablet in 2016." 760 Million, maybe, but...

    Minor nitpick aside, I'm always wary of publishing companies telling us how to do this stuff- it's in their agenda to monetize the product, which is a process often very much at odds with the aims of education. I think the focus really has to be on searching out and utilizing open platforms and standards that are as device agnostic as possible- and while Adobe surely make some lovely tools, isn't the language of the web itself what we're really looking for?
    So with the massive influx of tablets to the market, and the associated prevalence of wifi, why do we as educators always seem to want to go back to what we know: the analogue textbook? Why are we dissatisfied with the web as a content delivery device of it's own?

  3. I just updated the post as it should have stated million, not billion (thanks). To be honest, the summit focused on how different organizations were using Adobe products. We currently use web-based products at my school, but we realize that there are inherent limitations.

  4. I just love the idea that one day education will go paperless! Then that money can go to more important things like educators in the classrooms, technology resources and pensions and all of the other things that get cut because the education budget is always getting cut first.