This is my Adobe Gen Pro learning journal. I will be using my learning general to post assignment work and reflections. For each assignment, I hope to learn more about content creation, Adobe tools and tips to share with students.

About Me

I am passionate about technology, creativity and learning. I also love sunsets so you might see some of my sunset photos from our cottage in Port Elgin, Ontario.

Introduction and Personal Branding

Reflection: I find videos extremely time consuming because I am not comfortable behind the camera and trying to get a good starting image is hard as you can see below.

Assignment 1: Create a headshot and edit the image with Adobe Photoshop.

Headshot Credit: Richard Hampshire

Reflections: My reflections cover the purpose of creating a headshot, photography tips, photoshop tools and what I learnt.

Purpose: Always start with why? Why do you need a headshot? Who is your audience? Too often, I see students using a photo of themselves with their partner or dog. I really like the tip to stay true to yourself. I've also seen the glam shots!

Photography: While I did not take this photo, I learned several tips about photographing head shots including the background, clothing choice and lighting. It really makes me want to run out and buy a digital SLR camera (seriously...I have the local camera shops flyers beside me). The photo I used for the assignment was taken by a photographer who takes LinkedIn headshots where I work.

Photoshop: I learned about the rule of thirds to focus on my eyes. I cropped the photo. The patch tool was used to remove the dark circles under my eyes but I left my wrinkles. I like the ability to improve a photo while keeping true to yourself. I've used Photoshop before but learned some great tips including the vignette option under the camera raw filter - very cool!

Sharing: I will use the tips from this lesson to help students starting with encouraging them to think about how they will be using their headshot. The photoshop tips are simple enough to share with students. I am hoping to offer a one-hour workshop where students could bring a selfie and learn how to create a professional looking photo for use on ePortfolios.

Assignment 2: Killer Resume

Reflection: At first, I loved using InDesign to create a resume. I started with Adobe Comp to do a rough sketch of the layout. I have never used InDesign before but I found some similarity with other Adobe products that I’ve used so it was easy to get started. Compared to using Microsoft Word, the typical resume tool, I really liked using shapes and text areas and the ability to reposition sections if I didn’t like the look.

The most difficult part for me was finding icons to add and resizing them. I wished there were built in icons in the tool because finding creative commons licensed icons was time-consuming.

I would love to show this tool to students. College students would be able to create a very unique resume. Using shapes and text areas is a skill that would be great to show students. Is InDesign a good tool for first-time Adobe users? I was disappointed in the quality of the exported PDF file. Did I miss a step? I tried to compress or change some settings but it didn’t seem to improve. I am a little worried that InDesign might be too advanced for students without any Adobe experience.

Overall, I am happy with my resume but it is definitely not a “killer resume” yet! I still have lots of work to improve the content and the design but I had to give up after 8 hours! Next steps, more InDesign training so I can learn some tips for lining up the text and figuring out the export options.

Assignment 3: Creating a Logo

Logo - Create with Illustrator
Twitter Header - Created with Photo Shop
YouTube Header - Photoshop
Facebook Header - Photoshop

Creating a logo turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. The tip to start with sketching ideas on a note pad was brilliant. I also liked the tip to start with black and white. My mistake is to start with a tool and then I get lost. The lesson and videos taught me how to use a process to create a logo. I wanted a simple design that could easily work if I wanted to remove part for a favicon.

My Illustrator and Photoshop skills are rusty so it took time to remember how to do simple changes. I would have loved to have spent more time playing with photos and adjusting the layouts.

The social media graphics was frustrating because it took me too long to relearn old skills and to find suitable photos. The social media graphics are difficult to work with because they view changes depending on the device. What I thought looked good on my computer, did not look good on an iPad.

I like following a process or step-by-step instructions that I can share with students. The links that give you the pixels sizes are great tools that I will share with students and co-workers.

Assignment 4: Digital Portfolio

For this assignment, I chose to use Adobe Spark to create an online portfolio. I really wanted to try the Adobe Portfolio tool but for my students, price is a factor. Our students use eportfolios to collect examples of their work and reflect on their learning. The tool we use is difficult to learn and time consuming to add any information or work. My goal was to see how fast I could create an eportfolio using fictitious files and images. The demo ePortfolio I created can be accessed from the button below.

Assignment 5: Assessment using Adobe Spark

Reflection: Digital Portfolio Assessment

For this reflection, I’d like to focus on my understanding of the purpose of creating online portfolios and how to assess them. Most of the students I assist are not making portfolios to showcase their creative work. They are working on eportfolios that I would describe as learning portfolios similar to what we do every week.

I’ve helped hundreds of students create portfolios for assignments. For these students, the purpose of their portfolio was for a graded assignment. Most of these students were only making a learning portfolio to get the mark. If the assignments were structured better, the students might put more effort in to creating something that shows their skills, challenges and growth. They also need to use a tool that is easy and fun. One of the comments that resonated with me during this week’s lesson was that the process should be painless and engaging. That is the key to improving our ePortfolio process.

The assessment work for eportfolios should be done systematically from beginning to the end so students get feedback at the beginning. This feedback would show their growth during the whole process. Using Adobe Spark video for the feedback tool was easy and painless. I gathered some quick screen captures that would allow me to focus on exactly which parts I wanted to focus on. The ability to download the file as an mp4 or embed in a learning management system is fantastic!

In the video, James Field talked about a future process for their students where first year students would start a portfolio with assessment and then in second and third year, the students would be working on developing professional portfolios. That is what I would like to see happen at our school.

Final Reflection - Great many tools, need more time to play!

This was a fantastic course from a both a learner and teacher perspective. What worked for me was learning the process of creating and teaching digital portfolios. I think every teacher should make one before they expect students to create them.

I’ve learned skills in creating learning journals, reflective practice, making logos, tips for creating effective online portfolios and tips for working with Adobe tools. Getting creative with Photoshop and Illustrator made me miss having the opportunity to not use these tools on a regular basis. The Adobe iPad apps are fantastic tools that helped in the process. I shared Adobe Capture and Adobe Comp at work and it has generated creative energy in our office.

The course is very well organized but I should have started earlier rather than cramming! The peer evaluation and online sharing is very engaging! The only tool that I had trouble with was Behance. I could not load my work without having a cover image which created too much work that did not add to my learning in this course.

The skills I’ve learned in the course are already helping me out. I am organizing an event in the college where I work. Over 5 days, we will have 2000 grade 7 students coming to the Collaboratory to experience college. I’ve asked a team of 8 colleagues to each lead a small group of students. The staff are creating Spark pages to introduce themselves to our guests. After the students see the Spark video, they will all be using Spark to share their story with us. I am so excited about sharing Adobe tools with these students and so are the rest of my team!


Cover photo taken by William Hicks Port Elgin, Ontario

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