Make no mistake. Adobe makes great products. But, it is hard for educators and students to connect with them. First, the company produces professional-grade tools (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, etc.), and, as a result, they are very expensive for resource-starved institutions to purchase (even with discounted education pricing). Second, these professional-grade tools often come with a steep learning curve. Many education professionals do not have the time or resources to make the most of the software.
To address this second issue, Adobe is launching an initiative to reach out to educators through the Adobe Education Exchange, which is an online community (initiated by secondary-level teachers) to share, discuss, and collaborate on the development of educational resources that make use of the company’s tools. Launched just over a year ago, the exchange also connects educators with software engineers to increase the level of support in the classroom.
To promote the AEE, Adobe announced the 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards this week:
The 2011 Educators’ Choice Awards will recognize and reward Adobe Education Exchange members who submit the most innovative teaching and learning materials. Your fellow members will choose the winners of the Awards by rating one another’s work, so impress your colleagues and compete for valuable prizes by submitting your best projects, lesson plans, curricula, and tutorials. For inspiration and examples, join or sign in to browse the resources on the Adobe Education Exchange.
This is perhaps indicative of a larger, much welcomed, external relations refresh. Previously, Adobe and Apple engaged in a very public war over the fate of the Flash platform, and Adobe lost.
Adobe appears to have reconciled with the reality of a post-Flash Web, and is previewing Edge, a HTML5 development tool that promises much of the same functionality as Flash, but with less of a headache. This enables developers to make better use of standards-based toolsets, and deliver products that can interact better with native architectures. For the end user, this provides hope for speedier integration, better compatibility, and (hopefully) improved reliability. For schools that need to rely on outdated or underpowered hardware (or are using the latest, cutting-edge technology), this is welcomed news.
Adobe’s education reboot is a good sign for content-producing educators and students. The humble remake of core Flash concepts into Edge, along with AEE, suggests that the future is starting to look very bright. Stay tuned…
Note: Adobe provided a copy of their software for evaluation. A thorough review will appear in the upcoming months after field testing in academic environments. Please read our review policy for more details on how we review products and services.