Mark DuBois
Professor Emeritus

Implications of AdobeMAX announcements on educators

I am curious what your thoughts are with respect to the myriad announcements made at AdobeMAX on May 6, 2013? This ranges from the futuristic (like project Mighty and Napoleon) to the future of Fireworks (

Obviously, a number of changes are coming with CC (including changes to how software is distributed).

How will these changes affect your programs?

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Mark DuBois

Posted on 5/13/13 9:43:35 PM Permalink

I appreciate all the excellent points that have been discussed so far. I am learning a lot.

As I review the discussion regarding whether we should be teaching the tool or the concepts, I wonder how many are considering using Adobe Brackets instead of Notepad++ or Text Wrangler? I provided a webinar on this topic for educators and am thinking of making the switch as much as possible in the introductory classes. With extensions, I have found Brackets to be very useful, but it still forces hand coding (which is what we desire in our program).

Kim Mihaly

Posted on 5/13/13 9:33:59 PM Permalink

Ask yourself are you a teacher or trainer ? If you are a teacher, you emphasise the thought process more than the skill, as a trainer you emphasise the skill. If you understand the process, and have familiarity with a tool, then adjusting to new tools is easy.

This whole blow up, which actually started on the Captivate blog months ago, has made me realise that much of the time, using these products in class I am more in trainer mode rather than teacher mode.

This was brought home to me when I dropped Dreamweaver and had the students code by hand (which is the way many of the top web designers work) , I was getting better/more creative work (not just pick a template & change the colours/background), that showed a deeper understanding (tags being used semantically rather than than presentation). Because it was perceived to be more difficult, students actually did wireframes, used Kuler to design colour schemes etc etc rather than just jump on the computer, fire up Dreamweaver & start hacking away which previous classes did and produce the design document after (like many programmers I know !) - Boys !

I must admit for my lower ability kids I did do some extra work to show them Dreamweaver, but most preferred to code by hand, as they weren't trying to fight the environment to make it do what they wanted. I was not surprised when 2 of them just changed the text & used the template defaults but their choice - they were happy with the "D" they were awarded.

Lukas Engqvist

Posted on 5/16/13 11:42:52 PM Permalink

I really like edge code (and brackets) in that respect. Still hand coding but quick response in the browser. I think there are several stages however, there is the stage when students need to taste what can be done, then they need to feel the frustration of not achieving what they expect, once they have reached that frustration they are ready to understand the deeper principles that gives them the foundation they can build on though their creative careers.

Tammy Moore

Posted on 5/13/13 4:04:58 PM Permalink

@Teri - That gets rid of one idea then if you are in California. I can understand the reasoning behind that because then students that cannot pay the fee wouldn't get to take the course. Hmmm, still trying to help, but I am blank on new ideas that could bridge the gap. It may be that families with children that want to learn using the industry standard tools will just need to get the software on their own and locate their own training resources if public schools cannot find the resources to get the Cloud. I still think that Adobe will come up with something workable, it just may take a bit. That is why I recommend continuing with the CS6 until what they have or will create can cross paths with what the schools can do. It is already bought and paid for. It makes no sense not to use it. Yes, it will be frustrating when new additions are announced that you cannot use, but your students will have better career foundations with CS6 than with GIMP. I guess what I am trying to say is to not throw the baby out with the bath water just yet for the sake of the students that desire a career in design (I feel such a strong empathy for these students because that would be me or my children if we were in a public school). As you have said, it would normally have been several years before a cash inflow would allow you to move up to a new suite version. It is still true. The only difference is now you see what is being developed as it is being developed instead of it all being hidden until the next release. Be ready to catch the cash flow when it happens and set it aside for a Creative Cloud jump in point. There may be elements that I just don't understand about public school funding, so please don't take my ignorance for a condescending tone. I am a glass half full person and trying to help pick up your spirits and try to point out hope. My son is a public school district tech, so my heart is very much for public schools. I hope to be able to help in some way, at the very least in trying to encourage instructors through the transition. I hope Adobe finds a way to help customers that rely on the boxed versions by coming up with some type of alternate plan or if they already have one to help people find it. They seem pretty determined to stop the boxed copies.

Teri Brudnak

Posted on 5/13/13 2:58:12 PM Permalink

Here in Calif. we have had a major lawsuit concerning students paying for anything related to school. No lab fee or fees of any kind allowed.

Tammy Moore

Posted on 5/13/13 1:17:03 PM Permalink

I am sorry about the struggles that have been mentioned. Though, I am not irked with Adobe since the subscription model it went to ended up helping our project and my own access, I definitely have been at the receiving end from other companies that I really didn't feel cared about what changes meant to my use of their software, so I do resonate with how it is making you feel. I want to help you brainstorm how to make it work. Trying to replace the Adobe products seems to be a lot of work and students wouldn't have industry standard tools to prepare them for a career in the design or development arenas.

You could stick with CS6 for a while while working on lining up some funding for one of the myriad of current or probably future subscription packages.

I volunteer close caption for Classroom 2.0 Live and we have teacher presenters speaking frequently about all that they do with technology in the classroom. Guests often ask how they got the equipment and software because funding is so tight. The one resounding answer that comes up over and over is that they do not rely on the powers that be for their resources. They go after grants, do fundraising, get the work out locally and online about their aspirations for the students, even pitch in their own money when their heart is in it. Yes, it shouldn't be on the teacher's plate to have to do these things, but it looks like the reality we are stuck with. The project that I work with is entirely volunteer run and donor supported, so I know what it is to not know what funding you may have you can work with and to have to often do the work of getting resources myself. It is no fun, but the investment of my time, money, and heart is worth it to me. Hang on to that if when you look deep down you find it is the case for you too. Keep Adobe knowing how hard you are working to keep the software too. It may make for changes that will make a difference. Hang in there and don't lose hope.

Kim Mihaly

Posted on 5/13/13 10:34:35 AM Permalink

I have been trying to find out my employers stance (we have '000s of laptops across the state loaded with cs5.5 & the newest rollout, and lab computers with cs6. As staff we can access "Work At Home" (WAH) software for a nominal fee under the state's licence ($30-90 a copy depending on the software & promos) - and I have it loaded on my school supplied laptop, my main home machine, windows 8 tablet & mac mini (4 separate serial numbers * 3 products-MC, Captivate & Acrobat) as well as on the teacher laptop supplied by the state - so as I understand it I will need 4 subscriptions !

I teach ICT & Multimedia in a low SES area, and as this is the last year of laptop funding I cannot expect my students pay retail for programs they need, and that are currently supplied on the laptops, so by necessity I am becoming an Adobe free zone. I have not been teaching long (long career as Software Engineer before that) , and for these first few years was using the teaching programs (modified for new versions) left by my predecessor (based on the 3 adobe courses) .

I have just dumped Captivate cs6 as a tool because of the update that I cannot receive (fantastic drag & drop features added that I can use, but am now so annoyed that even if I were to receive the update I would not use it) - and now use a combination of screen capture manager, powerpoint, smoothdraw and moodle and I am experimenting with the free apple ibook editor to create resources I would have used Indesign/Captivate for. - I would love to use DPS to replicate the Adobe Inspire ipad magazine(scroll across for chapters, down for pages in the chapter) but don't want to stump up for a cloud subscription for just that.

I was going to teach Indesign with a multimedia class (interactive pdfs) , except it isn't on the laptops, and on my lab computers won't work because Adobe refuse to fix the group policy issues with windows (we had a problem with photoshop & indesign cs5 & XP - and now have it only with Indesign & win7 - and we are not going to create a local account on the lab computers for many reasons including loosing access to the domain and thus student workspaces). - I will use MS publisher to teach page layout - yes it is a lesser tool, but at least it works !

I have dropped Dreamweaver for my web classes this year and now teach students how to do pages by hand (HTML5 makes structuring a page a doddle) . - Notepad++ (free) has a great syntax highlighter for HTML, CSS & JavaScript, and I find I am getting deeper understanding of how a page is built, and more importantly the students now actually stop & think, and do some design before putting a hand on the keyboard.

I am developing resources to teach Gimp (free) instead of Photoshop next year.

I am trialling Scratch (free) instead of Flash with one lower high school class - & they seem to find it easier, and I can teach programming concepts as well :-). For a more senior class I am about to trial programming the HTML5 canvas with javascript (Notepad++ - free) . I am looking for a free morphing tool to teach morphing (a syllabus "dot point")

The only Adobe product at the moment I can't replace is Premier Elements, but I haven't started looking for a replacement yet - I do movies next year - we use Audacity (free) to edit sound.

With the boxed copies, at least I have the program and can use it until I leave my employer. I don't want to have resources locked up in indd, psd, ai, and fla files I can't access because I no longer want/ can afford/justify a subscription !

As for families paying a subscription - hah ! I can't even even get the nominal $10pa course fee out of them. I teach a vocational ed class - $30pa class fee for 2 years that would $2400-$8000 elsewhere, and I can't even get those $60 !

Tammy Moore

Posted on 5/12/13 1:37:42 PM Permalink

Not sure about firewalls, but could you ask families to purchase subscriptions for the duration of the class? I know in public institutions families are used to not having to pay for software access, but they often do in private institutions. With budget cuts being reality for the near and far foreseeable future, I suspect families will be more and more called upon to either help with fundraising or pay for the software access fee themselves.

To me, as a mom, I would rather pay the student discount subscription over the period of the course than have my children work on software that is too outdated for their hoped for career path. Maybe that is just me though. All of my children have been or are very focused on getting into design or development. The subscription model has been great for all of us as a family. I am an instructor of online classes and the subscription model has made it much easier for me too. I need tools for building my course material. I had been buying the boxed copies and it was tough facing those one-large-chunk purchases for our needs. THe subscription model has been really nice for us.

Teri Brudnak

Posted on 5/7/13 4:00:27 PM Permalink

Same here, Mark

We worked with CS3 for many years. Just got upgraded to 6 last year. Funding comes in unpredicted amounts and intervals. The other question I have is with the district firewalls. We already have major problems accessing online content.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 5/7/13 1:11:40 PM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/6/13 10:39:29 PM Permalink

Hey Mark,

My first (and only) thought right now is about availability. K12 funding typically happens in fits and starts. In the past, we could make do with what we had until another spasm of funding made updates possible. (We used Photoshop 7 for years before being able to jump to CS3.)

What happens when the funding runs dry? With this model...

Well, I'm hoping Adobe has an ace up its sleeve for those of us who have to deal with the ebb and flow of funding.