Train the Trainer 2018 A Robert Bourgeois Learning Journal

For starters, my final training plan and resources are located in the next section directly below this short final reflection.

What an incredible course! I took far more away from the Train the Trainer course than I ever expected! While I have always considered the use of creativity important in instructional design and lessons, this course put a new perspective on the urgency and importance of it. It also encouraged me to think differently about how and what I will include in future instruction sessions, both with peers in PD and students in my classroom. Because of this course, I will be spending a lot of time during the upcoming summer break redesigning my lessons for next year, taking additional Ed Ex courses to boost my skills and planning on doing some PD sessions for my school, district and statewide content area.

UPDATE: (Jun 14, 2018) I received an email just this morning that the NC CTE Summer Conference had an individual back out of presenting just this morning, so they asked if I would present my PD on using Spark! Now I'm really looking forward to the conference in July. I am still planning on presenting this training to Technology Education teachers at the NCTEDE conference in Charlotte next Spring and in our district Out of the Box PD sessions this coming school year.

Final Assignment Criteria

To receive a passing grade, each final assignment session plan should:

  • Have participant-centered, achievable, time-bound, specific, and measurable learning objectives
  • Show how the designer has planned appropriately for time throughout the professional development session
  • Differentiate between direct instruction, guided practice, and independent practice
  • Have strategies for effective grouping
  • Have a strong session opening and closing
  • Include assessment opportunities
  • Include best practices in adult learning theory
  • Include best practices in technology training
  • A short 5 minute video tutorial demonstrating part of the intended training.

Over the course of the past eight weeks (holy mackerel, has it been that long already?!), I have been actively involved in creating my hour-long professional development session on using Adobe Spark in the classroom as my culminating piece for the Train the Trainer course. What an experience this has been! I've learned a ton along the way and have decided on making some serious changes to the way I teach my students as a result. This course may have been designed to teach educators how to work with adults but I took so much more than that away from it. I can't wait for a chance to run my PD session for our staff next school year and hopefully present it at our state's summer conference for CTE teachers next month.

Thanks to keeping up with recommendations throughout the course, I have needed to do minimal updates to the final products. You can find access to all the assembled and created resources below.

It all started with a with the introductory/advertising video which provided the overall direction this training session would take:

From there, the course became more flushed out by creating various graphics for an advertising poster and digital badge participants could earn before moving into developing a training plan with solid objectives.

Training Plan, Session Poster, Session Badge

I also decided upon creating several separate video resources. In wanting them to remain short and relevant for the participant, I created one for each component of Spark. This allows participants to quickly find the information they are seeking rather than dig through one long video tutorial or trying to cram everything into a single short tutorial, likely missing essential information.

Once all the resources were finished and assembled, I considered how I would present this information to participants in the actual session. While I would normally create a slideshow in PowerPoint or Google Slides for this purpose, it occurred to me that it is important to practice what you preach and therefore I figured there is no better way to demonstrate the effectiveness and usefulness of Spark than to create a Page for instructional use and as a participant reference. It also allowed me to showcase how I would use some of the various features Spark offers, thus providing participants with a good set of examples. It also gives participants a central repository of session resources that they can access both during the session and after it is over as well.

Week 8 Discussion - Discuss any strategies you use, or would like to use, and what you find most effective.

I use a lot of different strategies to help me deal with the unexpected. I always make sure I have an offline version of anything I will need for presenting, typically in triplicate form (online, on my hard drive and on a flash drive) just to be safe. While this is not always ideal, I sometimes find it necessary to substitute one form of material for another. For instance, I may not have a working internet connection. So if I plan on using Spark or some other online resource, I might also create a PowerPoint (UGH!) and have an offline version of all videos I might need.

I also make sure I arrive early to test all technologies I need for my session in the environment where they will be used. This is critical as I have run into situations where I assumed I would have specific equipment only to find it either lacked the ability to function or was missing altogether. It is also important to test any application you will use for the same reasons. Open and run EVERYTHING.

In terms of things that are more in my control ahead of time, I always try to get a feel for who my audience is going to be. What do they normally do and how can I help them improve their lives with the information and techniques I am about to share with them? Having this kind of knowledge can solve the majority of the problems you might stumble into. Nothing is worse for a participant than sitting through a boring session that appears to have no use for them. These are the people who may try to make the session more interesting for themselves by making it more difficult for you. So keep it engaging, interesting and useful and you are less likely to run into that kind of situation.

Reflective Questions - What was the most difficult unexpected professional development situation you've encountered, and how did you handle it? What advice would you offer new professional development trainers who need some coaching on how to handle the unexpected?

Probably the most difficult situation I have run in to date took place last summer during the CTE Summer Conference. I was presenting a session on my students' experience in working with virtual reality to help participants get some ideas on how to engage with their local community and what can come out of such engagement. But, the main hook was the importance of teaching with the latest technologies.

When I arrived in the session room, there were all kinds of equipment problems and the session had been placed under the wrong category in the program, so the session was entirely marketed to a very different participant level of understanding than was expected. To begin with, I arrived early to make sure I had all the equipment I needed and could reach someone to remedy the situation if necessary as well as test everything out before any participants arrived. This solved the equipment problem, but then I had to figure out what to do about the audience.

My session was originally intended for teachers of technology education but found its way into the marketing teachers program. So, when the participants arrived, I polled them about their content area, asking how many were marketing teachers instead of tech ed. What I found, and expected, was the majority of the teachers were not from tech ed. So, instead of pushing the technology side of what my students did, I changed gears and highlighted how teachers can market their program, market their students and the technological skills they gain, and used the high end tech to highlight how I did this with my students. In the end, the session went swimmingly!

Reflective Questions - What best practices do you incorporate to create effective learning climates during your professional development sessions? Which of the climate-setting areas outlined below resonated most with you? Why? How can you apply these strategies to further refine your professional development sessions?

I always try my best to incorporate all of the climate setting practices below. As I said before, many of them simply fall into being a professional for me. You can't expect PD participants to trust you as an expert in a manner that can teach them something new if you are disrespectful to them or don't create a comfortable environment. But the one that resonates the most for me is making the session fun. Nobody wants to be lectured or feel like they are a product on an assembly line. You need some kind of hook to keep them interested and engaged and this is where making the session fun comes in. Make the session a celebration rather than drudgery and you will do a better job at keeping your participants' interest and enthusiasm about what you are teaching them.

Knowles's suggested areas of climate-setting

Which of these do you already implement into your sessions:

  • Climate of Mutual Respect - Always speak to participants in a collegial tone and manner. Learn participant names and something about their professional or personal interests.
  • Climate of Collaboration - Establish a climate of collaboration rather than competitiveness by introducing group tenets at the beginning of the session, asking participants to share their best practices, listen actively to their colleagues, and value each other’s point of views. Actively seek participant input into the session when possible.
  • Climate of Supportiveness - Never judge participants or dismiss participant questions, suggestions, or concerns as insignificant, unimportant, or inappropriate. Encourage participants to offer and ask each other for help.
  • Climate of Mutual Trust - Let participants know that you value and respect their opinions and experiences, and acknowledge that you have a lot to learn from them as well. Offer examples of your own professional lessons learned, when appropriate, and your attempts to strategize to improve your practice.
  • Climate of Fun - No need to create elaborate activities or a stand-up comedy routine; a genuine smile and some shared excitement can do a lot to shift the mood!
  • Human Climate - Create a comfortable environment with proper lighting and temperature control, comfortable seating, and frequent breaks.

I feel I do a pretty good job with each of the above items. Most of them simply fall under being professional in your interactions during a training session. But, I am also a firm believer that nothing kills a session faster than not having fun while attending. So, I am always trying to spice things up and keep those involved both engaged and enjoying themselves!

“Creativity isn't an elective anymore; it's our future”.

Week 8 Discussion - Discuss your opinion on both this and the future of creativity as a whole.

I cannot think of a more true or appropriate statement! The world is constantly changing around us and simply falling back on the same old tools and techniques is not going to solve our modern problems. To do this, we need to come up with new ways of thinking and new methods to do things. To best prepare our students for the world they are growing into, we need to inspire and encourage them to think creatively or outside-the-box. Some creative thoughts will come in and through technological innovations, some in artistic expression, and others in new solutions to world problems. But students need to take the risk of trying new things, exploring options and testing the status quo to get to that point and this is where creativity and creative thinking come into play the most.

Reflective Questions - What is your creative vision for the educators and students in your school or university? What part will you play in promoting creativity in your school or university?

My creative vision is for both educators and students to learn the importance of and techniques for being a digital creative in our modern world. Many of my coworkers are highly creative but for years they shunned the relevance of digital creativity. It wasn't "real art" from their perspective. But, in recent years they have come around to how what we do digitally is art and is related to and equally relevant in the world today as the traditional art techniques they teach.

With regard to students, I want them to understand they can express themselves creatively even if they can't draw or paint. There are many forms of creative expression and the digital tools we teach are among them. I also want them to realize how they can make a career for themselves using those same skills.

Reflective Questions - What is Deila doing to foster creativity in her students? How could the educators you work with implement similar strategies?

Delia makes the assignments relevant to the lives of her students and provides them the freedom to express themselves within the boundaries of the assignment. Teachers can implement similar strategies by getting to know their students and what motivates them most, then allowing them freedom of choice in their creations.

Reflective Questions - How can you use the presented best practices to foster creativity in education?

  • Habitat - How can educators create spaces that foster creativity? How can we ensure that the rules, constraints, and incentives within schools are designed to foster creativity? One can and should create an environment that inspires students to be creative. This includes carefully considering what sort of examples are placed on a classroom walls, setting up and atmosphere for creative thinking and how you interact with the students. In terms of rules, one way I handle this is by having students critique the work of each other using a critique sandwich: say something positive, identify something to improve and how to improve it, end with another positive statement.
  • Resources - Do the educators you work with appreciate the resources currently available in their environments? If not, how can we help them to appreciate the resources they currently have access to? Definitely! Some need more instruction and introduction to the digital tools we use such as the Adobe products, but overall we have a culture that inspires, fosters and encourages creativity and appropriate use of all available resources.
  • Culture - What is the culture of your school or university? How can we as educators help to change the culture of our school or university to promote positivity and creativity? I teach at a magnet school with a focus on the arts, so we are very open to creativity and trying new things. We can promote positivity and creativity by how we present what we do and encouraging others to try new things.

Instructions - Start to draw together everything that you’ve learned and build a final draft of your training plan. Make sure that your learning objectives and learning pathways have been finalized, and take all the professional development knowledge that you’ve gathered over the past seven weeks into consideration as you work. Ensure that your software demonstration video from Week 6, along with any additional resources you plan to create, has been updated and finalized as well. Get everything to the highest standard you possibly can, and make sure you’re happy with everything before you submit. Update your Learning Journal.

Training Plan Draft:

Here are the items I have pulled together for my plan draft. Most of the items are the same as earlier submission, some have some VERY minor alterations and I created a couple new video tutorials.

Updated Poster

I made some minor changes to the poster in changing the title as well as matching the colors and fonts used in the other resources.

Digital Badge

I made no changes to the badge at all. I considered changing the colors to match the other resources, but I still like how this looks.

Training Plan/Pitch Page 1
Training Plan/Pitch Page 2

There were no changes necessary for my training plan/pitch. I considered adding a piece in the learning objectives about improving student understanding of content through encouraging development of creativity, but this is really pretty well summarized in the first text block.

UPDATE - After feedback from course participants, I added a second page to my pitch. I also added a Spark page to use during training rather than opting for a standard PowerPoint or Google Slides. I felt it better to show Spark in action than to use another application.

Video Tutorial Resources:

The videos I need for this training session come in a couple of separate files. The intention is to provide the information needed for various participants at various stages of understanding without frustrating them by having to dig through one long tutorial to find the piece of information they need.

The first tutorial only covers creating an Adobe account. We all know this is necessary for accessing the tools Adobe provides and while some participants may already have an account, others may need to create one. When training, I would draw attention to this necessity but wouldn't want to stall on the process for very long. Thus, this tutorial helps those needing an account and allows me to get to the meat of the PD training without boring those who already have one set up.

The second tutorial is an overview of the Spark interface and the basics of creating a Page. I explain what and how to use various aspects but encourage exploration by not spending too much time on any formatting object. This pulls life experience using basic formatting tools into play as most people don't need to be shown what formats like bold or italic do.

I made a couple of very minor alterations to this second video. The main changes included changing the title screen to be more descriptive (identifying the content as relating solely to Page) and adjusted audio levels that were clipping previously.

The third video in the series focuses on the creation of a Spark Post. This tutorial introduces participants to the basics of working with Post to create customized graphics. It examines various aspects of the app and works through basic creation and downloading.

The fourth video provides a simple overview and brief introduction to Spark Video. While I want to encourage participants to explore this tool, I feel it is not as useful for many teachers compared to the other items in Spark. However, I do want them to know about it and those who are more experienced can explore Video on a deeper level on their own. I consider it the take-home aspect of the training if this is something participants want to explore for their classroom.

Reflective Questions - Which of Leonard’s messages resonate most with you? What are the key points which are offered? What can you take from what Leonard offers to help focus your professional development planning?

It is important to find out what your participants need and to understand that they will be at different levels. Always ask what they want to learn. It is also helpful to go through the lesson on your own and create a video about it. This is a good way to refresh your own skills/memory and also gives you a resource you can use with the participants in a variety of different ways. Expect and anticipate problems as things will not always go the way you planned or trained for it to go. You can use your previously recorded video to help with this. Always have a backup plan!

It's also important to understand that when you run or attend a training session, you gain new insight into the quality of your teacher peers and skills. It's inspirational and you can learn from one another in how to change or improve your own teaching skills.

Week 7 Discussion - Effective Formative Assessment - Share and discuss your own theories and opinions about incorporating effective formative assessment into your sessions.

Having a good concept how how formative assessment can be used to both increase participant knowledge and improve future sessions is critical. While I often move around my classroom when teaching students and do the same with PD participants, I tend to fall down on the post-training aspect of formative assessment. I hand out required questionnaires but need to start developing my own for personal improvement as a trainer. I should also use these with students and not just peers undertaking PD. Doing so can provide insight into my strengths as a teacher as well as the quality of my lessons.

Reflective Questions - What formative assessment strategies do you incorporate into your professional development sessions? Which of the formative assessment strategies from the video are you most likely to incorporate into your professional development plan? Why?

I am constantly moving around the room observing and helping participants, be them students or educators, where they need assistance. I find this to be the most effective way of understanding how well a lesson or PD session is going. And, like was recommended, I typically stop the entire group to address large, common problems. If a couple of participants are asking about it, odds are good that others are equally confused. The one area I need to work more on is using post-training questionnaires. When running PD, they typically give us a required questionnaire to use but when I run it myself, I need to start doing this to know where I need to improve.

Week 6 & 7 Discussion - Assessing Creativity - Share and discuss your own theories and opinions about assessing creativity in education.

Reflective Questions - How does Silveria inspire creativity with his students? How does he approach imagination, knowledge, and attitude with his students to help them to be creative? How can we use what we've learned to inform the educators we work with, so they can begin to foster creativity in their students?

Silveria inspires creativity through examples and living it himself. He approaches each student individually by providing different or needed feedback to each student he teaches. I love the quote from Chuck Close:

Waiting for inspirations is just for amateurs, the rest of us sit down and get to work.

This can be used to inspire both students and educators. We need to look at the tools we have access to and learn them if we want to encourage creativity in our students!

Reflective Questions - Which of the strategies from Tina’s TED Talk resonated most with you? How can we use this information to inform the educators we work with, so they can begin to foster creativity in their students?

The item that most resonated with me was the comparison to quilt makers instead of puzzle makers. I see this every day with my students. They want the final grade and they know what pieces of the puzzle they need in order to succeed, however they often pay little attention to the steps they take to get there or what those steps can allow them to do.

We can use this information to explain how being more creative will encourage students to think more deeply about the teachers' content area. This will also encourage students to share more of their understanding of the material with others and get them to think about it in different ways.

Develop and finalize your learning objectives, and add them to your learning journal for this week.

You’ll also create a draft of your final software demonstration video, as well as any additional resources you require.

The video demonstration must:

  • Include a screen recording
  • Include a voiceover explanation
  • Be no more than 5 minutes
  • Be exported as an MP4
  • Shared on Youtube or Vimeo

So, on to the reflection about this week's activities!

This week's video tasked us with creating a tutorial for use in our professional development session. I created two short videos. The first is for use in creating one's Adobe account. As we all know, you cannot work with Adobe products without first completing this important step, so I wanted to make sure my participants know this as well as how to create their own free account. This video can be seen below:

The second video, which is the main one I shared in the course, involves creating a simple Spark Page. The first problem I ran into was with my screen capture software, OBS Studio. For some unknown reason, it refused to capture my browser window! So, I went back to an older screen capture software I have (Movavi) which did the trick. Once I captured the necessary components, I did a healthy bit of trimming due to the 5 minute time constraint, but I feel I covered everything in a manner that both informs the participant and encourages them to explore the features on their own. I also used Photoshop to create some simple graphics, such as the title screen, for both videos. Another issue I ran into was the size of the video. It was slightly smaller than my sequence so I had to rescale each portion of my video to 105% in order to fill the screen as needed. It worked out, though I did a little position shifting in one portion. The editing was made smoother using simple crossfade video transitions. This helped to hide some of the more awkward cuts. Check out the finished product here:

With regard to my learning objectives, I do not plan on changing them at the current time.

Participants in my professional development session will be able to:

  • Understand how Adobe Spark can be used in their classes to extend student creativity and curriculum knowledge
  • Create and edit a basic Spark Page
  • Create and edit a basic Spark Post
  • Explore the use of Spark Video

Reflective Questions - Which of Colin’s messages resonate most with you? What are the key points which are offered? What can you take from what Colin offers to help focus your professional development planning?

There are lots of different kinds of PD but some of the more common include: books, online and face-to-face. It is useful to do a little research about the PD topic or presenter(s) prior to the session actually taking place, especially if the PD is in-person as it may be the best way to learn from an expert's experience or get their opinion on a topic. It is also important to consider how you might use the content you learn in a PD session. Don't waste your time on information or material that serves no purpose for you.

When creating PD, it is important to think about how you can make it useful for your participants. One way to do this is to ask the participants for examples of what they do prior to creating the material for the session, then you can cater your training to their needs. It is also useful to engage in discussions with the participants about their needs and uses. So, in short, everything you create and present:

  • Should have high focus
  • Usable immediately or reused elsewhere

Week 6 Discussion - Session Opening and Closing - Share and discuss your own theories and opinions about designing effective session opening and closing.

I like using the beginning to set the tone by introducing what we will do and why we will do it. I also often try to put a small piece of humor (not a bad joke) in here to lighten up the mood as participants in school settings are often voluntold to attend and might not feel particularly interested in being there. So, I want them to understand they will learn something they can use but also have fun in doing so. Once the session is near the end, I like to reiterate what we did, why we did it and ask participants how they might use what we did in the session back in their own classrooms. I also make sure they know how to reach me if they use the information but need additional assistance.

Reflective Questions - How can she acknowledge her learners’ lifetime of experience, even though they have no prior experience with Photoshop? How can she allow her participants to be self-directed in their learning, even though the school district chose the skills and functionalities that she should cover?

One way she can acknowledge her participants' lifetime experiences is by incorporating how she uses the tools outside of school in a practical manner and ask the attendees how they might do the same, probably not for every topic being introduced, but at least on occasion. She could also have participants use the tools to create something they could actually use in their classroom whether it is a poster or a lesson or something else of their own choosing.

Week 6 & 7 Discussion - Assessing Creativity - Share and discuss your own theories and opinions about assessing creativity in education.

Prior to seeing the videos and reading the webpages on assessing creativity, I would consider solely examining if the idea was original. But, now I feel there is much more to what constitutes a creative piece of work by a student. While I would still find it difficult to assess them on being creative for a grade, I feel that providing them with feedback about the appropriateness and quality of their creativity is essential to their understanding of what it means by saying "be creative." By helping them understand these items, one can only develop better students who think more deeply about topics and will hopefully come up with more innovative solutions to problems in the future. Therefore, assessing students, even if only in an informal manner, is critical to their development.

Reflective Questions - Do you believe it’s possible to assess anything? Did you find the ASCD’s rubric for assessing creativity valuable? Why or why not?

I do believe you can assess creativity as a guiding principle but not necessarily for a grade like we normally think of when assessing students. That being said, I would consider using it as a component of a larger graded assignment. For instance, I often have my students create original video games. I could work a creativity component into the grade in some minor aspect but I love the rubric for assessing student!

Week 5 - Create a training plan pitch

Remember that you're not creating the training plan itself, just outlining your ideas.

Before starting your pitch, decide what software you'll be demonstrating. You could choose one of the apps covered in weeks one to four, but feel free to use any of the other Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps if you prefer.

Your pitch should outline the following elements of your training plan:

  • Your session title
  • Identify your participants, and why your training is important to them
  • Where and when your session will take place, and how long it lasts for
  • Your learning objectives
  • A plan for your software demonstration video
  • Any extra support or equipment you might need (e.g laptops, software, staff)
  • An outline of any additional training resources that you’ll need to create

When you’ve completed your pitch, please upload it to the assignment forum so that other participants can give you direct feedback. You should also include your pitch in your learning journal for completeness.

Now for my reflection:

After looking over some of the other training plans from class participants, I decided I needed to revise my design. I opened InDesign and began by placing an image at the top that I felt encompassed the training. My session will cover using Adobe Spark and be geared toward middle and high school teachers as that is the audience at my school. I decided the learning objectives would be to create a simple Spark page and post but also wanted to introduce video for those who move through the essential components quickly. I create subheadings using a unique slab style font (Birra 2) but left the body in Minion Pro so it would be easy to read. I also wanted potential participants to know their trainer is someone whom Adobe has identified as a campus leader, so I included the badge near my name.

Anyway, I think this version is MUCH improved over the previous one. Check it out below:

Training Pitch

Reflective Questions - Which of Greg’s messages resonate most with you? What are the key points which are offered? What can you take from what Greg offers to help focus your professional development planning?

Engagement and relevance is critical to both success in training and learning for students. It is importance to make it clear why the information is important so the audience understands why they are there and what they will get out of your session. It is also important to understand why the audience is attending your session.

One key point Greg made is to have a backup plan for your training. I have seen this in action with a coworker who was showing a student made video to the entire campus and planned on streaming it directly from YouTube. He trusted everything would work as expected but reality had another plan for him. He didn't realize there were two versions of the song: one clean and one definitely not school appropriate. Unfortunately for him, the option to play down the playlist was enabled and it was the latter item that found itself on the screen in front of our entire campus. When I asked him why he hadn't provided a copy of the video on USB, he said he hadn't noticed the continue playing option and had no idea there were multiple versions of the song.

I also agree with the importance of showing student work, especially both good and bad examples. It gives students and audiences something to compare and think about. And, think not using handouts is important. For starters, in this day and age, there is no need to waste paper and ink when everything can be shared digitally. But, thinking back to sessions I have attended, I always wind up stuffing handouts in the bottom of my bag and then finding them months later only to throw them away! If info needs to be shared, digital is the way to do it!

Week 5 Discussion - Designing Effective Strategic Grouping - Share and discuss your own theories and opinions about designing effective strategic grouping in your sessions.

Similar to the manner discussed in the video, I find it important to first consider the learning objectives I am going for with the session. If the training is geared towards advancing knowledge of a tool with regard to a group's curriculum area, I group homogeneously. However, I tend to lean toward heterogeneous grouping whenever possible as it allows participants to grow off one another's strengths as much as they learn from what I teach them. When it comes to working with students in my classroom (teens), I always go for heterogeneous grouping with a mixture of skill levels and understanding in each group.

Reflective Questions - How do you use strategic grouping in your professional development workshops? What was your biggest takeaway from the strategies reviewed?

I always consider the expected learning outcome but generally tend to use heterogeneous grouping to allow students to learn from one another as much as they learn from me. I also find it important to assign roles, especially with teenage students. Otherwise, there is always someone who does all the work and others who sit back doing minimal or nothing for a grade.

Reflective Questions - Does the learning path in your session plan resemble Thomas’ or Kaia’s? How? Based on your experience as a trainer, which of the two learning path plans do you think will be more effective? Why? Can you apply any of the practices within these plans to your own learning path?

My learning path tends to be a combination of both Thomas' and Kaia's plans. I often spend too much time introducing concepts and techniques through lecture, then walk students through the techniques as a group before giving them the freedom to explore. However, I am coming around to seeing Kaia's method of weaving everything together throughout to be far more useful and interesting. I think students will pick up information better from the second option than the older method of instruction.

Week 5 Discussion - Teaching Creativity and the Creative Process - Share and discuss your own theories and opinions about teaching creativity, and fostering the creative process in education.

I believe creativity is our natural inclination given the option and freedom. Although we don't always possess the innate skill set to create what we imagine right away, students can develop and grow from trying and exploration of the tools and techniques we provide them in our lessons. It is also important not to stop students (immediately) when they stray from assignments. This allows them to come up with innovative and creative ways to use they have learned in our classes. I also feel students need to be encouraged to dig deeper into other creative expressions giving them a bigger toolbox of experience to pull from in their own creative endeavors.

Reflective Questions - Do the educators you work with implement a creative process with their students? If so, how is their creative process similar to Jeff's? How is it different? If not, how can you inspire the educators you work with to implement a creative process with their students?

Being at a magnet school with a focus on the arts, I would definitely have to say YES with a resounding boom! Our teachers are constantly pushing the creative envelope in allowing students to explore the artistic tools and techniques that are common to their classes and in moving up towards the more advanced classes down the road. We push our students to try new things, think outside the box and explore things in new ways.

Reflective Questions - Do you agree or disagree with Robinson’s suggestion that imagination cannot be taught, but that it can be fostered? Do you agree with Robinson that creativity can be taught? Why or why not?

I whole-heartedly agree with both statements Robinson makes! Creativity is all about doing something with one's imagination, extending it passed their own little corner of the world. I liken it to copyright - it has to be placed in a tangible form before you can say it exists. Creativity requires learning the tools to do that.

Week 4 Assignment - Create a 2 Minute Instructional Video

Create a short demonstration video using screen capture and voice recording which you’ll then edit - preferably with Adobe Premiere Pro. This week, your video should demonstrate how to create and share a training plan template using Adobe InDesign.

Please use the following criteria for your InDesign template:

  • Use a maximum of two sides of A4
  • Include dates, titles, learning objectives and an outline of your session plan
  • Keep the design clean and beautiful
  • Use the Publish Online button, and add the link to your template into your Learning Journal

This template will form the basis for a final lesson plan, which will be created later in the course.

Now with the instructions out of the way, on to the assignment reflection!

While this week's make video is not my best tutorial, I think it came out pretty good. I created the template for a finished product and to get some experience with using InDesign as I do not teach that piece of software. Then, in just a few short takes, I recorded myself going through the process. I wanted to make sure I had information on the type tool (including special characters), shape tool, gradient tool and gradient feather tool. I went a little over the time constraint of two minutes but this was because I wanted to keep each of those in the video this time. One thing I left out that I normally include is background music. Check out the finished video and template below:

PD Template for Adobe Spark Session

Note - I added a grey background to the template to make it more visible on this site. The actual background would be white. To see the actual finished version of the template, check the InDesign Online Publish link at: PD Template.

Reflective Question - Which of Lukas’ messages resonate most with you? What are the key points which are offered? What can you take from what Lukas offers to help focus your professional development planning?

The biggest takeaway I got from the video is the interconnection of teaching both online and in the classroom. I love the way Lukas explained that online instruction helps you focus on how you instruct while in-class helps you understand what to focus on.

The other big tip I learned was how to use video to demonstrate a tool or technique better when providing online instruction. I had never considered using it in the manner he shared with demonstrating part of a technique where I could focus on specific aspects being used or taught that are hard to explain and demonstrate simultaneously.

Week 4 Discussion - Learning Pathways and Session Frameworks - Share and discuss your own theories and opinions about creative effective learning pathways and session frameworks.

As a high school teacher, I know it is always important to start planning with the objective in mind. Typically, I have to prepare students for a state exam of some sort and I want them to know the terms and techniques that are on such tests first and foremost. I believe the best way to learn them is through hands-on doing rather than the preacher on a pulpit mentality. I developed this belief through my own experience.

I always work towards minimizing lecturing as much as possible. If I can keep a lecture to under 10 minutes, I do it. And, when I do lecture, it involves active participation rather than passive intake of knowledge. Participants and students typically have life experiences that can be related directly to material making it far more relevant for the group as a whole.

I spend the bulk of my instructional time providing students and participants with hands-on activities. It's at these moments that I feel I can best help them understand the material/tools/techniques while building their own skills through doing. It's also during these times when interesting learning experiences appear that I may never have thought about or experiences where we can share knowledge/experience with the larger group, improving everyone's understanding of the topic.

At the end of guided practice, things change up a little depending on who I am teaching. If I am running a PD session, I ask participants to keep trying new things relevant to what they learned outside of the session. I like to let them know they can always contact me if they get stuck or need assistance with something. If I am in the classroom with students, this is when I give them a larger, over-riding project where they can demonstrate their knowledge of the material through creating a piece on their own. While I let them look online for inspiration, I want their work to be completely original and demonstrate the tools/techniques we were focusing on.

After a training/lesson, I always do a debrief of what was learned. Typically, I try to let the students/participants run this portion of the training. I want them to identify what they got out of the session rather than me providing and overview summary. That being said, I do direct the flow and direction of the debrief but it is in their stating what they got that many ah-ha moments occur for them.

Reflective Question - Do you already use any of these tools, tips, and strategies? Which of these tools, tips, and strategies might you apply to future professional development sessions?

I have always taught using these techniques. I prefer to spend very little time on lecture as I have learned over the years that students tend to gloss over within 15 minutes of starting. But, unfortunately, there are times when more than that is needed. I spend most of my time on guided practice and provide students with a lot of resources to help them understand the material. This can involve written documentation including step-by-step tutorials, video tutorials, live walk-through sessions, and one-on-one assistance. During guided practice, I encourage students to get help from one another. Sometimes my classroom sounds more like a zoo than a silent library like some classrooms. I refer to this as the sound of growth. After guided practice, I always provide my students with an opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have learned by creating something entirely on their own. This typically comes after learning several new tools or techniques with a single application and results in a culminating project for a lesson or unit of material. When I run professional development sessions, I use the exact same techniques as I do with my students. However, it's typically on a much faster and trimmed down manner, depending on the training subject and the audience I am instructing.

Week 3 Assignment - Create a 2 Minute Instructional Video


Create a short demonstration video using screen capture and voice recording, which you’ll then edit - preferably with Adobe Premiere Pro. This video shows how to create a digital badge using Adobe Illustrator.

Badge Guidelines:

  • Badges needs to be 175 x 175 pixels
  • Exported as PNG
  • Keep the design clean and beautiful

Video Requirements:

  • Include a screen recording
  • Include a voiceover explanation
  • Last no longer than 2 minutes
  • Be exported as an MP4
  • Shared on Youtube or Vimeo

Assignment Reflection:

Making the badge for this activity was not difficult. I wanted it to stay in-line with everything else I have done so focusing on making it relevant to Spark was easy. What really took time was the recording of the video. I thought I had it all in a few takes on Sunday but found out pretty quickly that it would take a lot longer than two minutes. So, I decided to redo the recording today instead of cutting it off like I did last time.

Once brought into Premiere, I knew the time was not going to be an issue but I had a few ummms and dead spaces which I cut out. You might notice them as I could use some more practice on cleaning that up. However, I think it came out pretty good overall! Below are both the final tutorial and the badge I created while practicing to make it.

Finished badge for Spark Course

Reflective Question - What are the key tips that Dan is offering?

Plan, plan, plan! Make sure you have all the hardware you need for a session without relying on others to provide it. But most importantly, practice with the software and the presentation will develop.

Reflective Question - Do you feel empowered as an education trainer to foster creativity? If so, how are you able to promote creativity? If not, what prevents you from promoting creativity in your work and your school?

I definitely feel empowered in fostering creativity. I am constantly working with both staff and students to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to express themselves creatively. I encourage them to explore new areas and try new things with the areas they are already familiar.

Week 3 Discussion - Creating Meaningful Learning Objectives - Use this forum to discuss any strategies you use, or would like to use, and what you find most effective.

I often find myself struggling with creating loose objectives that although I feel are achievable in the timeframe I have with students, I learn I am wrong. However, I have gotten better with time constraints by walking through the steps myself, even if I have done them before, to refresh my memory on where I will run into problems. This allows me to trim and plump up my objectives based on my knowledge of my current students.

I also find that the language used in the objective has a big affect on how my participants (regardless if they are students or peers) makes a huge difference on how the objectives are received. By being specific, participants can see where they are headed and that the route is planned out and something they can achieve. If they feel they cannot achieve the goal, they are less likely to even attempt it.

Reflective Question - What do each of the terms mean and what strategies can I apply?

  • Participant Centered -  Participant centered means the focus is on what the participant will know or can do. I can make certain that this is the case in the way I phrase my objective ("The participant will be able to...")
  • Achievable - This means the participant can accomplish the goal that is set before them. One must consider how difficult the information is to grasp.
  • Time-bound - This means it can be accomplished within a specific timeframe. This is an area I always struggle with and need to pay closer attention to. One way to think about an objective is to reflect on my own introductory experience to the material. How hard or easy was it for me to understand the first time around? This can help guide me on how long it will take for others to pick up the new information, though it is not always perfect.
  • Measurable -  The manner in which we see that the knowledge or skills were understood. Strategies can include responding to questions or completing a task.
  • Specific -  Making sure the objective is clear and precise. By being careful with the language used in developing it, one can make sure the objective is specific to what the trainer wants to teach his participants.

Week 3 Discussion - Barriers to Creativity in Education - Use this forum to discuss any strategies you use, or would like to use, and what you find most effective.

I use a lot of different strategies. When it comes to introducing new topics, I am constantly asking students (and peers if running PD) about their own experiences. I then ask for their input in how the new material might improve their own lives or the lives of those around them.

I often ask students who ask for help what they have done to try to solve their problem. This is especially useful when students are learning new software such as an Adobe product. Most importantly, I ask them to explore and try new things and keep practicing. Just because I am asking for something from them shouldn't mean they can't keep pushing what they learned to explore different features in interesting ways. I often find myself comparing creativity for my students with a sport they enjoy, especially if they are on a school team. I ask them if they could automatically sink that free throw (basketball) or whatever the first time they tried and every time thereafter. Of course the answer is no so I follow up by asking how they got so good at the sport. Inevitably, the respond through practicing. I finish up by telling them creativity is the same - you aren't innately born creative, you work at it until you keep improving.

And finally, I ask them to examine what each other has done and critique their work. Sometimes this is in self-reflection and other times we will discuss a piece as a group. But, it allows them to examine different ways others interpret an activity and gets them thinking about how they can do so as well. Sharing and learning from one another is an amazing way to improve one's own creativity.

Reflective Question -Do you feel empowered as an education trainer to foster creativity through your training? If so, how are you able to promote creativity? If not, what prevents you from promoting creativity?

I do. I teach in a magnet school with a focus on the arts, so being creative is not an option. I extend my creativity outside the classroom by taking part in curriculum revision as well as inspiring both teachers and students to be more creative.

Reflective Question - Do you agree with Robinson that schools stifle creativity?

Unfortunately, I believe his assessment is true for most schools. The push toward testing and college prep instead of exploration and examination overpowers most institutions, at least in America.

Reflective Question - What grabbed your attention about Robinson's assertions regarding education systems and creativity?

The connection between the education system and its original purpose to develop a more robotic, instruction following citizen to be prepared for life in an industrialized occupation rather than promoting creativity.

Reflective Question - Do you agree with Robinson that creativity is as important as literacy, and should be treated as such by school systems?

I definitely agree that creative thinking is critical to success. It is often the more creative thinkers who go on to being the most innovative and interesting people in the nation and world.

Week 2 Assignment - Create a 2 Minute Instructional Video


Create a short demonstration video using screen capture and voice recording to explain what you are doing, which you’ll then edit - preferably with Adobe Premiere Pro. This video demonstrates how to create a simple advert for your proposed training session using Adobe Photoshop.

  • Include a screen recording
  • Include a voiceover explanation
  • Last no longer than 2 minutes
  • Be exported as an MP4
  • Shared on Youtube or Vimeo

Assignment Reflection:

For starters, I have altered this learning journal a little starting with the content. I just finished the Visual Reports and Essays Ed Ex course focusing on Adobe Spark and learned a few new tips, which will also be incorporated into my planned training component of this course. I have begun using more of the Spark Post and Page formatting for my learning journal with sections headers to differentiate my personal reflections as Materials throughout the week with my responses to the latter reflective components at the top and working my way down from there (Activity 5: at the top to Activity 1: at the bottom). Above the activity reflections/forums, I have placed a section for Make Section to show the week's final product to readers immediately without any unnecessary scrolling. I hope this helps make my learning journal more clear for those who look it over.

Now, onto this week's assignment product!

For my poster video, I decided that I am going to continue with the idea of running a training on Adobe Spark. I am thrilled by the idea that Spark is a free product so it can be used by teachers who don't have the rest of the Adobe software while allowing their students to be creative!

The hardest part of this activity was keeping to the two minute time limit. So, instead of extending it a couple of additional minutes, I simply faded the video to black when I hit the time constraint. Under the video needed for the assignment, I placed the finished poster image. This was a great exercise in both Photoshop and Premiere as well as getting accustomed to thinking through the content needed to create a great video tutorial. Such an awesome exercise on so many different levels!

Background music from: bensound.com; Image credit: Jessica Lewis on pexels.com

Finished Photoshop Poster

Reflective Question - What did you find most helpful in this tutorial?

Probably the most helpful piece in this video for me was the explanation of what we are doing for our next assignment. I am already familiar with all the tools Greg demonstrated, so using them and the concepts presented were not new to me. However, the final product was.

Reflective Question - How could you modify this tutorial to better meet the needs of an audience of educators?

I think it was exceptionally well done. It is to the point, touches on a variety of tools, and explains what needs to be done. He also explained how he accomplished it and the creative concepts behind his decisions. So, I probably wouldn't change anything.

Reflective Question - How might you include something similar as part of your own training sessions

That depends on where the training is taking place. If I were running a live session with attendees in-house, I would likely demonstrate and explain all of this information via projection. However, I would provide this kind of video for attendees to refer back to if needed as I sent them off to do the tasks on their own. I like making resources available that allow my students/attendees to solve their own problems. However, if the training was online, I would place make sure it was available for viewing prior to allowing the attendee to complete the task, basically in-line with the content or expectation as was done here.

Reflective Question -Which of Ian’s messages resonate most with you?

Be the lead learner, lead by example and constantly examine your experience including mistakes.

Reflective Question - What are the key points which are offered?

  • Be the lead learner - Become a lifelong learner
  • Learn from our mistakes - Don't only share best practices, examine failures too! Fail fast and on a small scale before using it with a large group
  • One skill to understand - Knowing when not to use technology
  • Prepare for alternative facts - How can we prove that what we do makes a difference and how do we plan for contradiction?

Reflective Question - What can you take from what Ian offers to help focus your planning as you begin your training plan?

Discussion Forum:

Prompt - This week we're asking you to share and discuss your own theories and opinions about process design, constructivism, and technology training.

I am a firm believer in providing context for any professional development or student instruction. This allows the learner to understand why they should care about what I am sharing with them. I also always incorporate hands-on learning allowing them to explore as much as possible even though this is not always possible, depending on the content. It also allows learners to move at their own pace and I encourage sharing their experiences and problems with the rest of the group so we can all learn something interesting or new when it pops up.

Reflective Question - Which of these best practices in technology training do you already apply to your professional development sessions?

I always make sure my learners know what we will do and how we will do it. I also make sure learners have the opportunity to practice after I have demonstrated the process. I'm a big fan of letting people explore and examine what I am teaching them and using the time to help them individually as well as use their experiences as examples for the entire group.

Reflective Question - Which of these best practices are you most likely to incorporate now? Why?

I often fall down in the recap of what we did. I typically have a summary statement posted where all can see when I am finished with a training, but I often forget to verbalize it. I need to do that part better.

Reflective Question - What training strategies have you used in the past which you found most effective?

I find allowing learners to explore on their own with minimal sit 'n git lecture to work the best. I like to tell them in a sentence or two why the tool/technique matters, demo how to do it, and allow them to find out the details as I assist with problems on their own.

Discussion Forum

Prompt - Share and discuss your own theories about defining creativity, and how to foster creativity in education.

When I was a young boy, the world was my oyster and I spent my days seeking that ever elusive and prized pearl. I was filled with wonder and amazement at how things interacted with one another and how changing one thing affected another. I enjoyed reading about, drawing and questioning the world around me. That all changed when I entered the formal education system.

It seems most of those early urges to learn typically get squashed by the structure children are placed into when entering school. Creativity seems to take a backseat to the now ever prevalent testing that children are subjected to in schools, but it doesn't have to be this way. Creativity is a process used to solve problems and answer questions regarding one's curiosities and in coming up with innovative and interesting ways to express one's self to the rest of the world.

We can use that natural curiosity and individual forms of expression in relation to the assignments we provide our students. By encouraging students to try new and interesting things, they learn about the tools and techniques as well as the material they are working with. Personally, I like to provide students with activities that are as open-ended as possible to allow them freedom of choice and expression. In doing so, they often find new ways to use the tools we are working with and create some really amazing products. As educators, we need to continue inspiring students to try new things without fear of failure.

I have a new motto that I am trying to live by and use to inspire my students as well:

Be brave. Live bold. create;

Reflective Questions - How does Ken Robinson’s definition of creativity compare to your own? Do you agree with his definition of creativity? Why, or why not?

I define creativity as having the courage to consider and explore new, previously unexamined, ways of completing tasks or sharing one's thoughts and experiences with the rest of humanity. So, overall, I do agree with Sir Ken's definition. It's definitely a process of exploration and analysis with an end goal in mind, though the route to the final destination may change along the way.

Week 1 Assignment: Create a 1 Minute Course Intro


Create a short video introducing participants to a fictional training session.

  • Include a screen recording
  • Include a voiceover explanation
  • Last no longer than 1 minute
  • Be exported as an MP4
  • Shared on Youtube or Vimeo

Assignment Reflection:

At first, this was VERY difficult. Which Adobe application should I focus on? What should I share about a fictitious course? How much do I need to share on myself? I was at a complete loss!

Then, I attended the live class and there was a push for some items on Adobe Spark and I watched several different videos created by other class participants. The software was set! Next, I had to find the components I wanted to include. I started by opening a Photoshop template that I use for YouTube videos which has a layout of where all the various "safe" zones are for creating thumbnails. I used this to create my title screen and all other still images I would use.

Knowing that I would have an empty house on Saturday afternoon, I next sat down and wrote the script I would record for voiceover components. I knew I wanted to provide a sense of who I am and why anyone would want to sign up for a course taught by me. So, I worked that into the script. Once I was alone in the house, I opened Audition and began recording what I had written. Although it took a couple of takes for some of the components, I would up pulling in six different recordings for various audio pieces. I trimmed out the dead space, altered the dB so all audio was playing at about 12dB on the scale and saved the files to my project folder. Then I went to Bensound to find some background music that I felt would work.

With the audio set, I had a few more items to find. I wanted to include some images of me working with students. As luck would have it, I had a Duke University photography student in my classroom this school year following one of my students around for a project she was working on. So, I used some of her shots for this purpose. I also wanted a handwriting video clip, which I found on Pexels video site. I then found a video that I thought could represent the transition to a digital world there as well.

Once I gathered all the necessary components, I began bringing them into Premiere. I then dropped the voiceover recordings on one track and began putting them into the correct order. This gave me a good sense of just how long my completed video would run. Underneath, I placed the music track and tweaked the dB level until I felt it didn't overpower my narration. Once I was satisfied, I locked the two audio levels to prevent any accidental editing.

Since I recorded the voiceovers separately, I had a pretty decent guideline for where to place each graphical component of the video. For starters, I placed my title images and the credits into their places. I now had a good start and stop point. The next items to add were my stock video footage. This created a transition between who I am and what this course is all about.

Finally, I needed some screen capture footage to demonstrate the product we would be working with. To do this, I used a screen capture program I installed on my computer a long time ago: Movavi. I opened up Spark and selected one of each item: Post, Video and Page. I did a short setup so I could capture the most important pieces of each and recorded myself starting the process of doing so. Finally, I brought the video footage into Premiere and made a few cuts so they fit in the space I had left. I also wanted to use the Adobe Spark logo. So, I used the effect controls to bring the logo into the center and then move it to a resting position in the upper left corner.

Overall, I am pretty proud of the finished product. However, I must state that the entire process to creating this 60 second video took considerably longer than I expected. But, with practice, I can see getting the entire process finished much quicker in the future! Below is the result of my work for this week:

Update - After finishing my video, I was closing all the applications I had used and noticed a setting I missed in Movavi. I didn't realize I could save the screen capture in a number of different sizes, including the size I was making my video for this activity! If you pay attention to the quality of the Spark screen captures, you will probably notice this error on my part. But...live and learn: it won't happen next time!

Best Practices in Adult Learning Theory

Discussion Prompt: Share and discuss your own theories and strategies for supporting adult learning.

I know that when I am in a PD environment as a learner, I want to know a couple of things before any training gets started (whenever possible) or discover the answers along the way. These include:

  1. ​How will what you are teaching me help me or make my life/job easier?
  2. What is it about your experience that makes you qualified to teach this to me?
  3. How do I accomplish/use what you are teaching me? (this is different from question 1 in that it is less informational and more process oriented for me)
  4. Are you available for help me after the training is finished if I need more assistance?

Knowing that I find all these items important in my own participation in PD, I always try to answer each of these for my audience when I lead PD sessions. I want to make sure participants walk away with new knowledge they can put to use immediately or with minimal, additional exploration of the tools/techniques I am teaching and that I am there to help them even after the session has concluded.

Reflective Question: Which of these strategies, if any, do you currently incorporate into your professional development sessions?

I use several of these when I run PD. I always start off by informing the audience what they will learn from participating and why it matters to them. I tend to back it up with personal relevance and prompt for their experiences with similar tools or techniques. I do my best to keep the learners involved through questions and back-and-forth interaction. And, unless I have a relevant topic or materials to share, I try not to run a PD. No need to waste anyone's time.

Reflective Question: Which of the strategies, tools, and tips do you think will be most useful for you in your future professional development sessions? Why?

I should probably use KWL charts more than I have in the past. It would be useful in helping to put a good plan for the PD session in place.

Reflective Question: What is your initial reaction to Knowles’s assumptions about adult learners?

My initial reaction to the assumptions made by Knowles is that they completely resonate with the way and reasons I undertake new learning experiences. I love to learn new things but I want to know what I can do with that information once I have learned it. And, I don't want to waste my time on material that has no real use or personal interest to me.

Reflective Question: Which needs of the adult learner are you already meeting? How?

Knowles identified six assumptions about adult learners: need to know, self-directed, relevant lifetime experiences, relevant, problem centered, and contains intrinsic and extrinsic meaning for the learner. When I lead PD, I have always tried my best to incorporate each of these, even if I hadn't realized it at the time. So, I would say that I touch on each to a greater or lesser degree.

How? - Well, when I hold a PD session, I generally start off setting the stage about how learning the information has changed my life or teaching. This helps learners understand why they need to know it. I use personal life experiences to add relevance but also try to ask the learners how knowing what I am teaching them could make their lives easier or help them do a better job relevant to the topic. Combined, these two practices help make the content relevant for all involved. My training typically solves some kind of problem the learners are experiencing. And, saving them time and effort as well as helping students and families understand their classes easier provides both intrinsic and extrinsic meaning for PD participants.

Reflective Questions: Which needs of the adult learner do you need to meet in future professional development sessions?

You might have noticed that I did not touch on the assumption of self-directed above. While I often try to provide some individual space for exploration, I often direct the session in a pretty straight forward manner where all involved are following along. That being said, I always end my sessions by directing participants on a variety of additional things they can explore on their own to improve or become more familiar with whatever I am teaching them. I also always offer them the ability to contact me if they have problems or new questions based on their own exploration of the topic.

Reflective Questions: What strategies, tips, and tools do you implement in your professional development sessions to support each of the six assumptions?

This may sound obvious to most, but I recommend as one plans their PD, they think about how they would feel sitting in the chair with someone teaching them about the topic they are about to present on. If you can show your audience how the PD will make their lives better and provide real-world personal experience with the material, you've won half the battle before it even starts!

Reflective Question: What has been your most meaningful learning experience as an adult? What made it meaningful?

Outside of the Adobe Ed Ex courses, I would say the most meaningful learning I have undertaken has been participating in the Kenan Fellows Program. I came into teaching lateral entry, so I never underwent formal training prior to finding myself in the classroom. The Kenan Fellows program provided me with up-to-date tools and resources to improve my teaching. They gave me a support network and allowed me to try new skills outside of my expertise under expert leadership. While we earned a stipend for participating, it was the way they connected real-world experience with educational practice that made it such a great program. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in this program, apply!

Reflective Question: What was your least effective experience as an adult learner? Why was it ineffective?

The least meaningful learning experiences I have undergone are our school district's annual required training for active shooters, cultural sensitivity and so forth at the beginning of every school year. These are ineffective because although they can be done at our leisure (prior to a date) because they are all online, the content is nothing more than a multimedia slideshow being read to us, which we can do on our own. Also, it hasn't changed in a decade, so it is completely out of touch with current times. It's meaningless and a total waste of time.

Discussion Forum:

Prompt - Why is Creativity Important in Education? - Discuss both your own ideas, and your reaction to Ken Robinson's answer to this question.

I agree with Sir Ken Robinson, to a point. Creativity is often overlooked or considered less important than other modes of learning in today's educational systems. However, this is not true of all schools or all teachers. While it is true that districts and politicians are mainly interested in test scores and classes that foster creativity such as art or music are the first areas to be cut in budget deficits, there are lots of ways creativity is developed both in districts and classrooms.

Creativity doesn't always require a visual or auditory artistic component, though that is usually what people refer to. When teachers provide students with options or flexibility in how to explain or express what they have learned, they are encouraging creativity. Being creative also means coming up with new and interesting solutions to problems. Science classes often encourage creative thinking in this manner.

I would say that I am a very lucky teacher in terms of how creativity is expressed in my school and classroom. I teach at a magnet school with a focus on the arts, so I am surrounded by creative individuals, both in terms of school personnel and our student body. Being a digital arts teacher, I try to make sure students see the connection between creativity and employability. And, I am supported in this endeavor by my fellow teachers, the school admin and (in a sense) the district by allowing us to have such a focus.

Well, I've done it: After completing several Adobe Ed Ex courses, I have decided to try the Train the Trainer course. My overall goal for taking it is not necessarily to prepare for teaching fellow teachers or adults, though I feel it will definitely help me with leading professional development for fellow teachers and I do want to push the use of the Adobe apps more with my coworkers. Instead, I am just hoping to walk away with some good ideas on improving my teaching skills in general for use in my classroom and perhaps come up some lessons I can adapt for use next school year with my students.

As a game design teacher, I am responsible for teaching a wide variety of applications. While they are not all Adobe products, many of them are. My students need to be familiar with Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and Audition. And, although I have been teaching for 15 years now, I came into an education career from an unrelated industry (I was a psychological researcher before an educator) instead of through a school of education so when it comes to the use of digital artistic tools such as the Adobe CC Suite, I am self-taught. When I learned about the Ed Ex site and courses, I decided to make a push to improve both sets of professional skills in a manner that boosts my own creativity as well, especially since Adobe offers them for free. So far, I have completed the following Adobe Ed Ex courses:

You are welcome to visit any of my learning journals to see how this creative education experience has progressed so far simply by clicking on the links above. I have already learned a ton from these courses which has provided me with lots of new lessons related to the Adobe Suite and has already had a HUGE effect on how I teach.

To get a better idea as to who I am and why I took Train the Trainer, check out my brief introduction video below:

It's definitely not the best video I have ever made. My webcam quality is mediocre at best, I used OBS Studio to record (which I need more experience with) and audio was giving me trouble. But...I know I will get better with using it throughout this course!

Although I did not do much with the original recording, I made a few minor tweaks. I brought the video into Premiere Pro and scaled it up to fill the standard file size for YouTube. This had the fun effect of making the video more grainy, but for this time, I decided to tolerate it. I also unlinked the audio from the video and brought it into Audition to boost the dB level a little as the microphone didn't pick up sound quite as well as I wanted. I figured it would at least be important to hear me even if the visual quality wasn't the best.

My plan is to recreate the video when I have more time to add to it, but I wanted to get something up there before the first week was finished. I'm looking forward to this course and getting to know everyone!

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