I found out recently that Adobe hosted a free workshop site for educators called Adobe Education Exchange (or AdobeEdEx) to learn CC programs and expand on what can be taught in the classroom. I’ve been wanting to expand all my skill sets when it comes to what I can do at my job, teaching, and art career, so I felt that this was a great way to push myself. I’ve always wanted to get better at digital programs but the motivation is HARD and I work best with either a project or a class based environment. Luckily AdobeEdEx does both. There are courses and workshops/tutorials that you can enroll in to learn with others basics and sometimes advanced skills. I’ve been enrolled in 5 classes so far and have learned so much in the short amount of time.
Two of my courses focused on Adobe Spark. Spark is a web based program, like Adobe Portfolio. It’s free for Educators (with a school based email) and does come with the CC subscription. The great part is that educators can get the pro features (which is normally part of a fee structure). The courses I took mostly featured how to incorporate it into the classrooms, such as multimedia presentations and enhancing the storytelling aspects to your assignments or lectures. However, I think it has much more potential for artists and their branding, especially with how easy it is to jump in and get started.
Spark is also pretty involved. There are three types of media you can use: Post, Page, and Video. Post is a graphics making template. You can make easy social media posts with pre made templates and modify them to your purposes. Page is simplified webpage/blog interface. Most of the time it is used in AdobeEdEx as a learning journal where you can compile your graphics, links, texts, and video together. In theory you could make a simple website this way, but Portfolio (or other web options) are much more suited for this. Video was my favorite. You could create a short video with narration with incredible ease. There are also mobile options where you can use the apps on your phone or tablet, but unfortunately mine are too old to really test the apps.
Pros to Adobe Spark:
- Easy to use, quite intuitive
- It’s pretty: great typefaces due to Adobe Typekit and decent templates to pick from.
- The branding feature is awesome. You can use your logo and have a set typeface and color scheme ready for each project. This has upped my social media game.
Cons to Adobe Spark:
- A little buggy: I had issues here and there when the file got too big. Typefaces wouldn’t load correctly, video would take too long to export and then quit. It stalls and freezes my computer most of the time due to how much RAM it needed to run.
- Lacks a lot of customization and features: its simplicity is also a flaw. I found myself a little frustrated when I could not redesign something in Post the way I could in a similar web program like Canva. I’ve also feel like once I get to know Premiere more, I will use Spark much less.
Since these are not related to my art, I won’t go into detail about courses and process, but you can read those if you want on my class learning journals: Multimedia Presentations and Digital Storytelling in the Classroom. I also learned more beyond the classes and feel embarrassed with how rudimentary they feel.
Multimedia Presentations was great in giving me a basic overview on Spark. I always wanted to try out the program, but I didn’t know where to start and it felt confusing to just plug in things and see what worked. This class was mainly focused on using the video features and creating narrated video presentations for lectures and whatnot. Which is actually useful for me considering I teach online classes a lot and use video and images to try and convey what I am teaching.
Visual Storytelling added to my previous course and gave more though on how I presented my material. People are much more engaged by stories, so everything you try to present will have more success if it is structured as one.
Both classes gave me a lot of thoughts on how I present my own art and business. I try to put a little more effort in telling a story now with what I feature online. Anyway, if you are interested in AdobeEdEx, feel free to contact me with questions! I’m learning a lot!