Matt Cauthron
Digiatal Arts / CTE Instructor


Project Published 8/25/10 Last updated on 5/16/18
Float! is the second global project from the Student Creative which invites students and teachers to interact globally and exercise a common theme in respect to the photographic work of Phillippe Halsman. Students will be invited to investigate the Jump studies of Halsman's in relation to significant members of their own communities. The student products will be assembled in a larger online gallery collection while final imagery will compiled and distributed through both physical and digital text formats. Social medias will be a significant component to this student challenge as a viable means to 'get the word out' and further develop existing individual teacher/student networks. Visit professional examples @

Are you willing to collaborate and work beyond the barriers of classroom walls? Good! Please join us... more info coming soon online and through School Arts Magazine!

  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

  • InDesign

    Craft elegant layouts at your desk or on the go.

Age Levels
Content Standards
Custom Standards

Processing, Analyzing, and Responding to Sensory Information Through the Language and Skills Unique to the Visual Arts

2.0 CREATIVE EXPRESSION Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Visual Arts

Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of the Visual Arts

Responding to, Analyzing, and Making Judgments About Works in the Visual Arts

ISTE Standards
Students: Creative Communicator, Students: Empowered Learner, Students: Digital Citizen, Students: Innovative Designer, Students: Computational Trainer, Students: Knowledge Constructor

Digital camera, tripod, image editing software, connectivity, 24-7 access, creativity and a willingness to work beyond classroom walls

CC License
Attribution Share Alike
5 / 5 • 8 Ratings

Resources (2)

or Join for free to access materials
File Size

Comments (39)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 7/5/11 4:32:57 PM Permalink

Very glad to hear that Judy!

Judy Durkin

Posted on 6/20/11 2:29:11 AM Permalink

Hey, Matt. I think I might be teaching digital photography next year, so I plan on joining in on the fun. The book is beautiful.

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 6/18/11 3:49:35 PM Permalink

I'm glad to hear it Mike. Your kid's cover image was perfect!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/15/11 11:26:22 AM Permalink

My copy arrived yesterday. I took a chance by ordering the top of the line version and it's just beautiful. Congrats and thanks to all the contributors.

Look for our next project, Surrealistic Me, coming this fall.

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 6/4/11 12:00:24 AM Permalink

We are pleased to announce FLOAT!, the second book from the Student Creative...


David Gran

Posted on 2/17/11 2:50:18 PM Permalink

Hey everyone, just a heads up that this project deadline is at the end of this month! You can post your student work at (or they can post it themselves!)

David Gran

Posted on 11/10/10 12:34:37 AM Permalink

Terri- I love the idea of home schooled student participation. Is there some sort of network of home school teachers that you recommend with whom we can communicate? Matt- Ha! It WAS just like the Jerk!

Terri Jacobsen

Posted on 11/9/10 8:26:35 PM Permalink

Thanks Matt! Not rambling at all, very informative. My major technological hurdle (and inquiry) is to set up an interactive website designed by our kids and using Adobe's Connect, to help them upload materials and create web pages from field trips and other sources of experience and information. The idea would be to collaborate from home by personalizing a web page for each topic. Lots of schools already have websites, and teachers use this technology to have their individual classes design and upload web pages for events, topics or other things that relate to the school. We want to do the same for our homeschooled community.

Let me give you an example. We're just outside DC, so we visit museums once a week (no crowds!). One of our visits to the Smithsonian American Art Gallery lead to a collaboration about how artists used various symbols in the backgrounds of Presidential portraits to give meaning to the particular Presidency. (It's all very cross-curricular, which is what we love.) We talked about making a web page with a portrait of a President, say Lincoln, and about using Photoshop or other editing programs to add original artwork, photos, or clip art like velvet curtains, insignia, and flags, and even sounds (like part of a famous speech, or music) and video (lots of kids do stop action animation), to convey a message about the presidency. We may also want to include links to useful resources, like podcasts, performing arts, other websites, etc, and this would require the kids to learn about "buttons" and how to program them with links. The kids could communicate online about how and what to upload and include, and each final product would be a wholly collaborative design, one of many on our website.

This kind of interactive project allows kids to add to a developing work, rather than just upload their own work independent of others. It's creating something based on a shared experience but with individualized contributions. I think Adobe's Education Package allows us to do this, we just have to work out licenses and maintain a website, something that most schools use their IT people (and budgets) to do. Most of us (parents) are professionals, however, and we see no limitation in setting this up ourselves, one of us would always be the site administrator. It's just that I'm in the position of having to explain the concept to others, and I thought maybe someone else had been through it before (maybe someone at Adobe!?!) and could help me could outline the steps we would go through to get this up and running.

FLOAT! seems like the closest to this concept I've seen so far, except (of course) the school websites, most of which are password-protected so I can't see how they carry these kinds of projects forward. . . Many school websites are also individual (or team) products made in a competition, for example, they are very simple, and each design is posted as a final product, it isn't changed online in a collaborative effort after it's posted. We want a larger, more broad collaboration (and not a competition), giving a much more sophisticated web product than I've seen in schools.

But in terms of making an open invitation to the homeschool community to join and contribute, FLOAT! is close to what we want. It's ambitious, it has high expectations, and it reaches across communities. So thanks for the info, all of this will help immensely, and again, best of luck with your project. . . And if you've used the Adobe Education software (InDesign, Connect, Photoshop, Premiere) in any of your projects to design an interactive website with upload and design capabilities, with licensing to others to contribute, please let me know! All advice gladly accepted!

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 11/9/10 5:15:38 PM Permalink

Hi Terri.

Actually, School Arts magazine just published co-conspiritor David Gran's article about our 'Student Creative' projects.

Basically, we came across each other's programs in the Art Ed 2.0 community and realized that it would be really cool to find a way to connect the student work we each were doing as we accessed many of the same resources from different parts of the globe. We also wanted to work with the amazing Mike SkockoGold(who may actually be a cyborg). After much brainstorming across time zones, we launched our first challenge called Paint the World with Light and were amazed by the yardage it gained through social media. With smiles on our faces it was natural for us to launch our second attempt... FLOAT!.

The idea of putting fourth a 'challenge' to students to work with in and share something about their community is obviously not a new idea but our approach stemmed from working with the Challenge Based Learning model and framing it for a major visual arts project. I was lucky enough to work on CBL's curriculum development team and really wanted to apply it to something meaningful to my classroom as well as other classrooms out there. The ideas behind it are project based without, what I call, the Macaroni and Cheese factor (it shouldn't take longer to plan/make it then it does to do/eat it).

Karen Cator, now the US Director of the Office of Educational Technology, lead the CBL design and is also an advocate for the 'Personalized Learning' approach. It is also an underlying factor that drives my program... letting the concept of "Who are you, Why are you here, and Where do YOU want to go" dictate how students select the type of projects they work on. Our Student Creative projects fit right into this, asking students to make the major decisions as to how the project will progress. More student centered vs. teacher centered. The idea of making education age specific, uniform, and standards based can be such a bummer.

As far as connecting the home schoolers in your area... I would certainly look at CBL as a curricular framework. More interestingly though, consider setting up a small social network for students to share and discuss their media across geographies with adults as moderators in the discussions and the media that gets approved. Our Student Creative grew out of the Art Ed 2.0 Ning. David and I both had been running these networks with in our programs and found it very useful until they cancelled the free subscriptions, throwing educators under the (school) bus per sey. I still have mine and feel that the $20 a month is still worth it to maintain its original purpose. Finding a sponsor is a good alternative to paying the $ yourself. You can also embed the killer Adobe TV videos as well as other dynamic resources from Vimeo, etc to supplement the curriculum. Peep the Digital Arts Education Ning here.

As of now, we have plans to launch a Student Creative network via It is currently free and has all the great functions that Ning does plus an ability to set each network page as public or private. This is ideal under the CIPA policy for education. Ning is either all public or members only. If Adobe has something breing, I would love to hear about it.

A practical guide to steps??? Hmmm, sounds like a good title for a digital text. In a nutshell... we all worked out the ideas old school style with email, David created the project site, Mike and I provided feedback, site got launched, then we pimped it out big time using our blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Art Ed 2.0, and face to face relationships to get the word out. It even made its way to NPR's The Picture Show blog which really excited us all... I think its safe to say that we shared a moment similar to Steve Martin geeking out on seeing his name in the phone book in the film The Jerk.

The final product we imagined, beyond Flickr and Picasa galleries, is the book created on which can be purchased as a fundraiser for the Jacaranda Foundation. With FLOAT! we are planning on taking it up a notch with the cool new Publishing Suite.

Sorry if I rambled on too much but...

even if we only get a few students out there to truly grasp the concept of the project and be more conscious about their own community then we are successful.

Would love to have some home school kids join us!

Terri Jacobsen

Posted on 11/9/10 2:05:53 AM Permalink

Hi Matt: I love the way you implement the "collaborative prototype" by challenging your community and then mining their responses. . . It's an amazing challenge, and should be very tempting for artists and photographers. . . for me, it's as much about the model you're using as the challenge you pose. . . I think it's a daring experiment that may only be limited by your community members' familiarity with technology. . . in other words, I wonder how many people will miss out on what you offer just by being unaware of what can be done in this kind of collaboration.

I reached this point on Adobe's edexchange site after searching for "homeschool" and getting 0 hits. . . on the entire site. I want to create an interactive website where homeschoolers in our geographic area (D.C.) can interact and post/review original content (photos, challenges, cross-links, comments, analysis) about museum adventures. . . We have a lot of resources available (the museums are empty during school days!) and I'd like to "experiment" with an interactive site that combines individual experiences at museums we visit with the educational resources available there.

The goal is to help kids become more interactive on the internet by sharing specific personal experiences. . . I've read that this is a "new frontier" for many entertainment companies (like Disney, for example), where an experience that reaches an individual is believed to be more meaningful than one that reaches out to age groups, or socioeconomic groups, or families, or any group. I want my child, together with other homeschoolers he knows, to collaborate when they get home from these museum adventures, to take experiential learning one step further by uploading artwork, ideas, cross-curricular links, etc. I think these kids are ready to extend their learning beyond these museum trips, and right now, they are limited to media such as email, facebook and other "mass-type" approaches. I'd like them to see what Adobe has to offer (technologically) to get their ideas out to everyone, and to inspire collaboration that essentially teaches the technology in the process.

I've studied the Adobe products and know (basically) what we will need from Adobe, but I'm looking for someone experienced with the collaborative model to get me to the next step. Can you tell me in more detail how you got FLOAT! started? Once you had the idea and knew what technology and software was available, what were your next steps??? I guess I'm looking for a practical guide to setting up a collaborative website using Adobe products. . . can you elaborate?

Thanks, and best of luck with FLOAT!

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 10/17/10 11:41:51 PM Permalink


Yes, it would be awesome to have all or part of your students involved!

Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Judy Durkin

Posted on 10/17/10 2:05:26 AM Permalink

Gosh - thank you very much for the kind words, Mike. I love my job and I have been an Adobe addict for years!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 10/16/10 2:03:28 PM Permalink

Check her posts, David. Judy's a Superteacher, able to leap standards in a single bound.

I predict her students will get incredibly fun yearbook pictures that just happen to FLOAT our way. :)

David Gran

Posted on 10/16/10 1:47:35 PM Permalink

Judy, we'd love to have your students involved! Let us know if you're interested.

Judy Durkin

Posted on 10/16/10 3:52:48 AM Permalink

I just realized that I have been missing an entire world of creativity. The FLOAT thang intrigues me. This might work with my Yearbook students. They are the only ones with access to decent digital camera. Thanks for the information.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/20/10 9:08:19 PM Permalink

Think fully clothed individuals just before hitting the water. So many possibilities. So many volunteers. (It's good to have adventurous kids. :)

Plus we have... parkour-ers? students who parkour? Aw, heck. Stuff like the featured image this week. This is going to be a fun project!

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 9/20/10 8:48:26 PM Permalink

Wow, I was just thinking of jump roping.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/20/10 6:45:11 PM Permalink

Linda McNair

Posted on 9/19/10 3:45:43 PM Permalink

I posted on the Facebook Walls of Creative Suite, InDesign and Photoshop! (Hi Mike!)

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 9/18/10 10:41:30 PM Permalink

Yes, thanks Linda!

Whats the FB handle/page?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/18/10 10:00:21 PM Permalink

Alright! Thanks, Linda.

Like Dylan sang, Everybody must get Float!

Linda McNair

Posted on 9/18/10 8:22:30 PM Permalink

Just tweeted on @AdobeEdu; asked for a RT on @CreativeSuite and posted on FB! Thanks again, Matt. So inspirational!

David Gran

Posted on 9/18/10 1:40:03 AM Permalink

Oh yes! Thanks for the heads up.

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 9/18/10 1:33:00 AM Permalink

David Gran

Posted on 9/18/10 12:02:33 AM Permalink

I'm admitting my ignorance. I have no idea what any of that means.

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 9/17/10 11:27:05 PM Permalink

I think I just had a Chriss Angel moment.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/7/10 11:05:43 AM Permalink

Kinda hard to print a video in the book. ;)

However, we're also going to use Adobe's new Digital Publishing tools to create a Wired Magazine-like version of the book (like Matt said back on the 25th). We certainly weren't thinking video but, as you'll discover once you're approved on the Ning, we've only established a few vague guidelines rather than hard and fast rules.

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 9/7/10 4:51:01 AM Permalink

I could really get into this! I signed up over on the Ning, and am waiting for approval before I can sign up. I loved all the examples to get the mind going. Because of this, I have another idea for a Photoshop tutorial... Hmm.. How about video? :) The pictures really have to be still, don't they?

David Gran

Posted on 9/7/10 3:05:59 AM Permalink

FLOAT is now online! Check out the project and sign up!

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 9/3/10 4:55:45 AM Permalink

Wasn't me brother.

David Gran

Posted on 9/3/10 4:43:44 AM Permalink

He teaches ESOL, but he's a great photographer. I'll bet he would get involved.

Hey, who rated me down for repeating something that my colleague said! Jeez, shoot the messenger, would ya? ;)

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 9/3/10 4:40:01 AM Permalink

Yeah, really.

You should tell your colleague that they're equivalent awards and to get his students geared up for

some serious F L O A T action!

David Gran

Posted on 9/3/10 12:35:03 AM Permalink

I just told a colleague that our project is a runner up for the award, and explained that it is in process and hasn't been completed yet. He said "Oh, isn't that like Obama winning the nobel peace prize before he's done anything"?


David Gran

Posted on 9/1/10 1:54:03 PM Permalink

Emailed our elementary school PE teacher yesterday to borrow some little trampolines....

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 8/25/10 8:33:45 AM Permalink

My students will be heading into the first couple weeks building examples as well. Can't wait to see the final product in multiple formats including Adobe's digital publishing and others!

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 8/25/10 8:28:40 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/25/10 8:23:56 AM Permalink

Yes! The cat's finally out of the bag. (But, Matt, she's over here, not there.) A few of my kids have already started Float!(ing) with the goal of providing student examples and video tutorials about the process. (Along the lines of Christopher's Paint the World with Light tuts.) By the time school starts (Sept. 7) we might have something to share. If not, shortly thereafter.

It's going to be fun!

P.S. I cheated and posted a Best Student Work vid (Vimeo) under Video Production. The Exchange is still in Beta. I'll bet Adobe addresses this... eventually. ;)

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 8/25/10 8:05:08 AM Permalink

Thanks Nicole! The community is what it is all about. It excites us teacher folk, but students are highly stimulated & motivated to know that their work is globally visibile (with parental permisson of course).

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 8/25/10 7:56:20 AM Permalink

I love collaborative projects like this! Sounds great. I love the part about the community too.