What is it? A package of software that allows you to create everything from documents to Web sites, videos and much more, Adobe Creative Suite also includes Photoshop, the industry-leading photo-editing software. Creative Suite comes in a number of versions, and this very powerful package of software might be overkill for most teachers and schools if they had to pay full price for it. Fortunately, Adobe has long seen the value of putting this software into schools and they offer it to educators at an incredible discount (prices vary, but often 80% off or more).
How does it work? Creative Suite includes Illustrator (for making fancy logos, or other graphic manipulation), Photoshop (for editing pictures), DreamWeaver (for building Web sites) and InDesign (for graphic design) – all programs that would be useful in a school setting. The programs all work independently and together. For example, you might use Illustrator to create a logo for your school newsletter, which you then export into InDesign to lay out the newsletter, before you use Acrobat to turn the whole thing into a PDF file.
How hard is it to use? Though Creative Suite has professional-quality, high-end software, the learning curve for basic functionality is minimal. You might not know all the tricks in Photoshop, but after a few minutes, anyone with basic computer skills can use the program to do simple edits like resizing or cropping. That said, some of the included software does require practice or training, but because Creative Suite is so popular, there are For Dummies books on it and a lot of online courses in the various programs.
How well does it work? These are the programs the professionals use. Adobe dominates the graphic design market, and their programs are well-liked by those who use them. The various programs work well and the learning curve is generally slight, at least in order to be able to use the programs on a basic level.
How do I use it in the classroom? Certainly students could use Creative Suite were you to have it on a computer in the classroom. It might be most useful for you as a teacher or administrator outside of class hours, however. Creative Suite allows you to create classroom materials, design handouts to go home and generally spice up how you communicate with your students and parents. Creative Suite can be used for everything from the aforementioned uses to other graphic design needs like making programs and tickets for school performances. It also can be used for building Web sites or doing pretty much anything imaginable with a photograph.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.
Article by Daniel Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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