08 August 2016

Get Your Students Creating Content with the Adobe Spark Suite

Ah summertime!! Now is the time when I reflect on my past school year and look toward next year. I also evaluate the tech tools that I used in my class last year and see if I can find new ways to make social studies come to life for my students.

In comes the Adobe Spark Suite. I first came across Adobe Voice (now Adobe Spark Video) a few years ago. At the time, it was only available for iPad. It was quite an extraordinary app and you can see my post about it here.  The only drawbacks were that it was only available on iPads and it was difficult to share with others or upload to Youtube. At the time, I marveled at  how great of a tool it was but then they went ahead and made it way better! So, as many of you know, Adobe is best known for making the software that helps you read PDFs (they actually do way more than that but it's probably how most people interact with their products). Now it seems that they are branching out!

With the release of their new suite of tools, Adobe Spark Post, Adobe Spark Page and Adobe Spark Video, Adobe has really made a name for itself in the design world. Adobe has also made these three tools available on the iPhone AND through the web (for FREE I might add). Sharing your (or your student's) creation is now way easier than it was on Adobe Voice. The design quality is also stunning. This is the type of content creation tool that will allow students to make authentic content and share with others in the school, community and across the globe! Let's take a look at each one individually. For this blog, I have chosen to use the web version of each tool for the purposes of ease of screencasting but as mentioned before, all these tools are available as apps in the Apple App Store. The bonus of having the app is that students can use their devices to take photos and insert them directly into their product with the mobile versions of these apps. So if they draw a picture, they can take a photo of it and upload it to the app. Without further adieu, I give you the Adobe Spark Suite:

Adobe Spark Video

Some functions that Adobe Spark Video offer are:
  • Add photos, icons and text to slides.
  • Add your voice to your animated video.
  • Change the theme (fonts and colors change with the theme so students don't spend all day matching the colors perfectly)
  • Pre-made templates help to frame the story that your students want to tell (ie. Hero's Journey, Teach Something, Teach a Lesson, Promote an Idea etc.)
  • Choose from thousands of photos and dozens of songs that are fair use (no copyright issues).
  • Change the layout of each individual slide to include more details, photos or icons. 
Check out my tutorial of Adobe Spark Video below:

Adobe Spark Page

Some functions that Adobe Spark Page offer are: 
  • Add full page photos and insert captions directly in the page.
  • Seamless integration of text within the photos (making  your story look like it was created by a graphic design artist).
  • Add text, links and videos to your story. 
  • Stunning design brings your story to life. 
Check out my tutorial of Adobe Spark Page:

Adobe Spark Post

Some functions that Adobe Spark Post offer are: 

  • Create social media images that fit the specifications of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Etsy.
  • Beautiful customizable font types and colors that match with the color palette and style of your post.
  • Easily sharable on social media and in link form. 
Check out my tutorial of Adobe Spark Post:

Possible Social Studies Uses for the Adobe Spark Suit

  • Create an invitation to an inauguration, grand opening, funeral or trial of a historical figure or some other historical event.
  • Create a wanted poster for a historical figure.
  • Create an advertisement for a political party, movement, group, or other historical event. 
  • Create a book, CD or DVD cover for an historical event or person.
  • Create a historical marker.
  • What would a Facebook post from Benjamin Franklin look like? What type of image would Genghis Khan upload to Twitter?
  • Insert historical quotes from historical figures into an image of them. 
  • Create a postcard from a famous civilization or country.
  • Create an image for the opening of a museum exhibit highlighting the historical theme, event or person your class is learning about. 
  • Tell a Hero's Journey story in animated video format of a historical person or movement. 
  • Create a recruiting poster for a war or political movement.

These are just a few examples that I thought of off the top of my head. I'm sure all of you extremely creative educators will find hundreds of other ways to incorporate the Adobe Spark Suite into your students experiences. 

Not all students will be able to use these tools (ie. if you don't have 1-1 devices and your student doesn't have an Apple device) however they are great tools to add to your toolbox. One aspect of 21st century skills is giving students the option to use whatever tool they feel comfortable with. Adobe Spark is one more set of tools to add to your teaching repertoire. I can't wait to hear about all the great ways your students are using these tools!


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