ADOBE SLATE

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Recently I attended a conference on use of technology in the classroom and was inspired by the Adobe Suite, particularly the Adobe Slate app. This is a great little tool if you’re looking for a really quick and easy solution for making a website for your students to use.

What is Adobe Slate?

Adobe Slate is an app which creates websites for sharing with others.

There are many features available within the app such as:

  • Multiple themes for presenting your information that are colourful and interesting
  • Ease of sharing with others
  • The ability to upload original and shared content to one space for reference

Why did you use this app?

My aim this term has been trying to gather and use resources that students can easily have access to in case I would (in the future) like them to create their own version. This app is great because it can easily be used on the iPad. It does require an Adobe ID, however, the projects can be stored in the Adobe Creative Cloud and then worked on between devices. Another wonderful feature of the app (and many of the other Adobe Suite apps) is that they are free! (I have been experimenting with Adobe Clip and Adobe Voice as well).

NB: I would like to make a disclaimer that I have not used any other website making websites or apps recently. I have used this one as it was suggested to me by another teacher and I really liked the app interface. Please see further below for some reflections on the apps features.

How did you use this app?

Example website: bit.ly/SACSYear8Keyboard (please tap the link to visit my website!)

The example website was created for use by my Year 8 Music classes in preparation for how to play the keyboard (two handed) in the one classroom and so I tried to deliver my content in a different manner. I have two classes with very mixed abilities and felt that this was the easiest way to differentiate their learning.

Firstly, I filmed keyboard tutorials specific to the learning content using my iPad and uploaded them to my YouTube channel. I then used Adobe Slate to create the website detailing the assessment requirements (step by step), frequently asked questions, the repertoire choices (exercises and two pieces) and other images and clips I felt valid to the students’ learning. (I also used Skitch to create some of the images you can see on the website).

This website allowed me to move around to each student during the lesson and listen to them playing rather than trying to teach them from scratch each time (we only have one lesson a week). Students were able to watch specifically tailored tutorials and focus on what they needed one step at a time. They came to class with more targeted questions in the lessons and were able to use me as a more valuable resource. It also inspired them to do some work at home, which many have not done previously.

Bizarrely they enjoyed watching me more on YouTube than trying to teach live, even though I was standing in the room (maybe that says something about my teaching!). I thought it was great to see some of the struggling kids really give it a good try because they could pick and choose their learning at their own level. I’ve had a lot of wonderful feedback from the students, which is great.

Tips and tricks

  • Adobe Slate’s default image finder is Creative Commons, which is great if you are creating original content because you know the images are allowed to be used by you on your own ‘public’ website. You can also use your own personal images.
  • Adobe Slate will give you a unique web address for your finished website but I like to use Bitly to create a shorter one. Having specific titles for the websites makes it easy to share with the students.
  • I found this really great for a whole unit of work rather than a single lesson idea. You can continue building on the work even if you have published it (you just need to republish it when you’ve updated it). I have made a few other ones for our Year 7 Music program as well.

PRO’s

CON’s

  • Really funky finished product that engages the students immediately
  • Many different features to make the website itself more interactive e.g. images, slideshows, links, text, headings etc.
  • Easily shared amongst peers and students
  •  Reads well on both the iPad and on a desktop/laptop browser
  • Only editable by the person with the Adobe ID (as far as I can tell)
  • The website cannot be hyperlinked within itself meaning that you have to scroll a long way to get to the end (no tabs or easy way to skip to where you want)
  • Must be on the internet to access the app (or at least online to sign in)
  • You cannot embed the video directly into the page but rather must create a hyperlinked item or text to move somewhere else (can become clunky!)

Please let me know if you have any questions about the app. I am still discovering wonderful things each time I use it. I will be running a more in depth session next term on how to use the app if you are interested in learning more.

Dominique