Welcome to Day Twelve of Digital January. Today we're going to take a look at Spark from Adobe. Technically, you've already been looking at Spark for the last few weeks of Digital January because that's what we're using to produce this page. So, for one day only, the medium is the message!
If you've got a moment and you're enjoying Digital January - and lots of people are, according to our statistics - why not give us some feedback on our Padlet (and see Day Three for an introduction to Padlet).
What does it do?
Spark is a tool to help create eye-catching but easy-to-assemble web pages or presentations - what the makers of Spark call visual stories. Sign up and get going - it takes literally about five minutes to get started and have something worth looking at, saving you weeks of your life learning HTML and developing slick web content.
Spark is provided by Adobe (the same people who provide your basic PDF-reading tool, among other things) and their emphasis is on usability. The editing tool is much like your editor on MS-Word, although less sophisticated for ease of use. You can choose from a modest range of styles and visual themes, so all the formatting of the appearance is set out for you.
You can easily add video from places like YouTube by simply dropping in the URL of the video. Same goes for links to web pages, and images. To get around issues of image copyright you can search for copyright-free images available under the Creative Commons arrangement.
Once you've created a Spark 'project' you can then either circulate the URL of the page you've created, or you can use an option to generate a little code to add into your website or MyDundee module to allow the Spark page to appear as a visual link.
If you've been following Digital January so far, hopefully you'll already have seen the clean and simple functioning of Spark and how it brings alive web content without being flashy or complex.
When would you use it?
For students, it's clearly a useful tool to create eye-catching web content for promotion of your work, for evidence of creativity which can be added to a digital portfolio or for producing web-based assessments using multimedia sources.
For teachers there's a good article on using Spark in the classroom from Richard Byrne on his blog here where he suggests, among other things, that Spark could be used to create a timeline or story, used to create a multimedia portfolio or record of achievement or even create a 'flipped classroom' experience by developing a teaching resource.
Richard Byrne's short (8 minute) introductory video on using Spark in an educational context is available below;
How do you access it?
Like so many digital applications, Spark is free to use but requires you to sign up for an account. You can access it here.
You can also access it as an App for Android and Apple smart devices.
Where can you get help to use it?
In addition to the video from Richard Byrne above, there's a good introductory video here;
What Digital Literacy skills will Spark help you to develop?
The University of Dundee has a Digital Literacies Framework which sets out what sort of digital skills you should have, whether you're a student or a staff member. It's unlikely you'll have all the skills contained in the Framework (yet!), but this project can help you get started in developing some new ones. To see the Framework click here and click on Digital Literacies Framework at Dundee University to download a copy.
Using a digital presentation tool is an aspect of DIMENSION 5 - Collaborate and share digital content as outlined in the Framework.
COME BACK TOMORROW AND THROUGHOUT JANUARY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GOING DIGITAL