Only one week of my 2008 employment to go and on my last official visit to Riwaka School the kids sat me down to watch a video they had made entirely by themselves over the last week and then presented me with a stunning bunch of flowers. This year has passed by in a whirlwind and I have loved every minute of it- the kids, the opportunities, the connections, the freedom, the learning, the people, the friendships.
On Thursday I am chipping in my 5c into a conversation and ICT celebration at Mapua School. They have invited parents to come along to school and children are going to show them their blogs, Flickr & Delicious sites and other ICT projects they have been doing recently.
Then I am going to have a bit of a chat with them about how to help their children participate responsibly on the internet. To this end I have made a pdf resource that talks of how to make safe Google searches, cyber-safety using Hector’s World, awareness of your digital footprint and a ‘Think Before You Post’ video.
Apart from the content I am particularly pleased with the clever way I have been able to embed the video into the pdf using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Next year I would like to have a go at using this tool to create digital portfolios to add to children’s Google Apps page linked through our school website. How geeky is that!
Today was our first day of real work at the Adobe Educational Leader’s Summit in San Francisco. Colin Gover, from Marina View School in Auckland, and I came over a few days early to participate and soak up the sights and sounds of the big city.
I have never been across the equator before so it was quite an experience for me. We had to fly first to Sydney and then the big hop to the United States, cattle class on United Airlines. Fortunately Colin and I managed to swing to aisle seats with no one in between us so took turns to lie down and cat nap. The flight was tolerable as we left New Zealand at nine in the morning and arrived here at 11:00am! It was like we had woken from a sleep so cold enjoy a whole day exploring the town. My biggest concern was that my poor old knees would not hold up to the pressure of prolonged sitting followed by prolonged walking but they have been magnificent- not fast but solid and sure which is what counts.
Colin and I packed every minute of our time here with trips across the Golden Gate Bridge, strolling along Fisherman’s Wharf, numerous visits to the Apple Store and making friends with wandering policemen and street homeless people. We used Colin’s laptop for keeping connected in the cheaper hotel so I only had time to blog for my personal and class blog.
One of my goals while here was to buy a Flip Video after Suzie and I both lost a Trade Me bidding war for one but I ended up spending $20 more and buying a digital video recorder which I am really very pleased with- a great choice. Better quality recording and more features.
At the Apple mothership I bought myself an iPod Touch as a consolation prize for not throwing money away on an iPhone.
It was a great choice and I have been enjoying tweeting and checking my email from anywhere with an internet connection. Innes Kennard encouraged me to update and be able to buy extras through the iTouch so went back later to have a chat to the Apple genius. Ha! I was able to ask two questions that he didn’t know the answer too without further assistance. How can I consolidate purchases from the USA, Australia and New Zealand iTunes Store?? And how can I move videos that were imported into iMovie08 in incorrect chronological order?? There were even three guys there from Cupertino itself! Colin was very patiently waiting while I enjoyed the experience and ended up buying himself an iTouch as well!
On Friday Colin and I did our own thing and I hit the shops in a serious sort of way as we moved into the flashest hotel in San Francisco- The Westin St Francis, on Union Square. I have spent my time at the St Francis looking for famous people and saw a man that looked like Dennis Connor! The hotel itself is opulent- I had to climb onto the huge bed to get into it. My room-mate is the bubbly, Roxana Hadad, from Illinois. It is good how they have mixed everyone up so you get to know more people.
Last night the Adobe Educational Leaders’ Summit started for real with a wine and cheese type of thing in one of the hotel rooms followed by a meal out at a nearby diner with the Commonwealth delegates!
Today, Tuesday, we bused to the old Macromedia headquarters for our Adobe learning- I opted for three workshops- Flash, Soundbooth and Photoshop CS4. Can’t say too much about them as they are covered by our non-disclosure statements we had to sign before joining up, but these versions will be a great step up from CS3. I was particularly interested in Soundbooth in regards tidying up our podcasts- so it was great to speak with the guys who make the software directly and offer ideas and suggestions.
Then we had a presentation from Jim Guerard, Adobe VP of Dynamic Media, as he talked about future trends in digital media- personalization of learning, distributed learning- students don’t need to be in the space or time zone, collaborative, creative.
An independent survey had asked business leaders what they wanted from job seekers- they wanted them to be technologically literate, creative, effective communicators, critical thinkers and to be able to collaborate at the top of the list. I liked the list- it reminded me of Mark Treadwell’s presentation on the paradigm shift.
I was able to be on line properly for the first time in ages and caught up on a few emails and the like and even a couple of Skype conversations which was great. The only AELs who are in my network are @KathyShrock and @iUsher. I think others are tweeting but I don’t know who they are! The evening finished off with a buffet tea and a version of the American game show- Jeopardy. Colin and I were at a bit of a loss as nearly all the questions were American based but it was fun anyway. The night finished badly with Roxana’s hard-drive deciding to die when she is doing a presentation on Thursday.
Tomorrow we are off to San Francisco State University Multimedia Center for an in depth look at CS3 Video Production Tools. I know that will be fun.
My life seems to be a whirl of late which could be a good thing or could be a bad thing. In case you missed it- Adobe have asked me to join Brenda Frisk and Colin Gover from Auckland to be Adobe Educational Leaders and last week I went to Sydney for a couple of days to find out more about what was involved.
I thought I had better get my thoughts about our Adobe meet-up recorded while they are still fresh-ish in my mind. We spent a good deal of time learning about the Adobe family of products. Adobe gave us the entire Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection which was pretty jolly generous if you ask me. I don’t think any one person could know everything about all of the products that are in the package but Soundbooth, Photoshop and Visual Creator are the ones that I would like to focus on. The thing that I like about Soundbooth is the graphical way you can edit annoying sounds that you can see on an audio track- great for podcasting when the bell goes in the middle of a great sound byte. The draw of learning more about Photoshop is obvious and I have a project in mind already. And Visual Communicator is a video editing software that I know that Colin uses for television editing in schools.
Another great outcome of the meet was that Wacom gave us each a Intuos3 tablet to use when we are playing and presenting. It took me a bit of brain exertion to work out that it was not just one enormous track pad and once I was over that I was surprised at how great it was in speeding up my workflow and how much easier it is to use a pen rather than a mouse to move about the screen. I have a friend who is a really good artist and can’t wait to let her play with it and see how she goes.
They also gave us some insider information about the sorts of things that Adobe does and plans for the future which are really exciting. We got to talk to some of the people like Paul Burnett who is a Worldwide Evangelist for Adobe! What a great job title! Just for fun he showed us his Adobe Air app Melissa that he made. Turn the sound down and Melissa sits on your desktop and lip-synchs with you when you talk- aren’t these people so clever. Melissa reminded me a little of Marvin but without all the tricky input code- give her a try- she’s very clever.
The two days flew by and I was very fortunate to be able to extend my time in Sydney with a quick visit with my cousin and fly home on Sunday which was an added bonus. We only had the one day but we managed a wander round the Opera House and Botanical Gardens.