Adobe Education Exchange is a free platform that focuses on building teachers’ skills and helps them to incorporate media into the classroom. It allows teachers to share and search for classroom resources, engage in discussions with others, and take online courses to learn more. While much of the platform has a focus on Adobe products (resources that require things like Photoshop or Flash and profiles for highlighting expertise with a specific product) there are also more resources and online courses focusing broadly on creativity and media, not tied to a specific product.
- Purpose: Engage, Learn
- Primary Users: Individual educators + Adobe Education Trainers
- Cost: Free
- Seeking Improvement: Integrating creativity skills into curriculum
- On-Brand Use: Teachers use this to find resources, connect with other educators on the network, and take courses focused around how to integrate creativity skills into all class subjects. Educators wanting to train other educators also use the tool to take courses to become Adobe Education Trainers.
- Off -Brand Use: High school aged students are taking the courses to learn how to teach others how use Adobe products. IT departments are using the courses to train their staff how to better serve people at the help desk.
- Platforms: Web Based platform, on all browsers
- Deal breakers: Some of the resources require Adobe products to work or to engage in. If a teacher is unable to download a free trial or doesn’t have access to the products, it would preclude them from using some, but not all, of the resources loaded up on the site.
- Types of Schools Using It: Individual teachers and districts that have purchased Adobe products
For educators who are interested in fostering creativity, Adobe Education Exchange is a blend of other like-minded educators, the resources they share, and opportunities to take courses on the topic. The great value is the hugely diverse collection of high quality digital media resources. There are many different ways to learn and to use the Exchange. Teachers can go at their own pace with asynchronous courses or they can simply use it as a place to share resources. There are also access points for all types of educators, including those teaching math and science.
Schools that have access to Adobe products and need to train staff to use them will find ample opportunities to learn on the Exchange. There is even a train-the-trainer online course for educators. It’s a great way for schools to get teachers or even students up to speed on how to teach others how to use digital media tools.
The Adobe Exchange is also a great way for educators to explore if the Adobe tool sets would be useful in their classes. Educators can do a free 30-day trial of the Adobe product that interests them, and then take a course to learn more about it.
On February 28, 2014, Adobe upped its contributions to education by committing to provide more than $300 million worth of software and production development to helping teachers use digital multimedia products. (Here’s the Adobe release on the news.)
How It Works:
There are four different areas of engagement on Adobe’s Exchange site, ‘Resources’, ‘Community’, ‘Discussions’, and ‘Professional Development.’ Anyone can search for these resources, profiles, discussion topics, and online courses with or without being logged in. However, to download or share anything, or take part in discussions a user must create an account.
To find a resource, users can search by grade level, subject area, resource type or Adobe product. Resources include anything from a five-minute activity to a full yearlong curriculum. Resource types include assessments, lesson plans, presentations, projects and technical tutorials. Resources can include downloadable files or links.
The Exchange lists what teachers need to implement the resource, along with a recommended measure of technical experience ranging from “rookie”, “novice”, “intermediate”, “pro”, and “expert” so users can gauge whether a resources is a good fit.
Users can comment on resource or ask the person who shared it questions about how to properly use it. Comments are tracked at the bottom of each resource page like a feed, so anyone can see the discussion and the types of experience others have had with the tool. Users are also invited to rate the product on a five-point scale.
The resources also track and display data like how many people have seen the resource, commented on it, and ratings they gave it.
users see a resource they like, they can mark it as a “favorite,” and it will join a “favorites”
list within their own profiles.
To share a resource, users click the ‘Share Resource’ button in the drop down menu. They select the type of resource they’d like to share first, and then fill out a description about that resource and tag it according to grade, subject, products needed, and searchable keywords. Users sharing a resource can also assign it a Creative Commons license, (basically a way to govern how the resource can be used by others).
of autumn 2013 users had shared more than 5,500 resources on the site and contributed
in excess of 50,000 comments on the available resources.
The community consists of member profiles; those who share contact information (email, LinkedIn or other social media addresses) are free to contact one another. There is currently no way to communicate directly with a member through the site. However, users can follow each other and be notified when they share resources.
is mainly a place where users can share more about themselves, track badges
they have earned, courses they’ve completed, and designate which Adobe products
they have mastered.
community consists of 127,000 educators from around the world.
Members are predominantly from North America; the UK, Australia, and New
Zealand have their own versions of the site. Out of the entire US community 57%
are teachers or professors, 11% are tech or media specialists, 10% are
curriculum specialists or trainers, and the rest are a mix of administrators,
graduate students, and others.
Members earn points for engaging in activities on the site, such as sharing resources, commenting, rating those comments, and following each other. Users can also earn badges (distinct from points) for things including becoming an Adobe Certified Expert (through an online course), being chosen as the best answer in a discussion, having more than 10 members following you, or sharing more than five resources.
Users track points and badges on their profiles.
The discussion section of the form is essentially a forum for users to ask and answer questions. Discussion topics are broken up into four different categories: CTE/Vocational Education, Education Technology, Events, and Research and Learning. Each group has subtopics as well.
In the forum, users can ask questions, upload resources and ask for critique, or simply start a discussion. Often times these discussions are catalyzed by an online course and will involve everyone taking part in the course. Users can tag discussions (like resources) and can be ranked according to how many people have seen it, and how many have commented.
A discussion topic like “Teachable Moments: Memes” asks people to share and discuss their favorite meme, including how to integrate memes into the classroom. This discussion received over 20 comments and over 5,100 views in less than a month since it was posted.
The professional development part of the platform is a catalogue of online courses, self-paced asynchronous modules and live webinars. Most of the course topics cover creativity and media creation, with topics like “Managing Creative Classrooms” and “Designing Creativity in the Primary Grades.” Some courses are focused on an Adobe product like “Making It With Creative Cloud” or “Interdisciplinary Learning With Photoshop 101.”
can use the courses to brush up on their Adobe skills or to study how to
integrate the tools and approaches into their classroom. There is also a strand
for those who want to become a certified Adobe trainer in their district.
As of autumn 2013, there were 20 self paced workshops devoted to “creativity” in the classroom.” Workshops are meant to inspire teachers to be more creative and think about how to foster that creativity in their own classrooms. Workshops take users through four steps that include:
- Learn a New Skill
- A Creative Challenge
Each workshop is self-paced and asks users to learn a new skill and then apply that new skill by creating something. Finally, the workshops instruct users to share their work (both resources and reflections) with the community and solicit critiques and feedback.
More structured courses are available that happen at a specific time and organize a cohort of participants around a specific topic.
All courses are free; instructors guide the courses and review homework. Online courses have a live component that takes place on Adobe Connect, where the instructor does a screen share and does direct instruction. At the same time there are question-and-answer chats going on, which provide space for participants to talk it out. Most of the online courses are six-weeks long and focus on topics such as “Digital Imaging for Beginners” or “Digital Creativity in the Classroom.”
There are also 30-minute live webinars offered through the platform, led by educators in the field.
How is it used?
educators use the Adobe Exchange platform to find resources and support for
using Adobe products. Others want to learn how to integrate media into
their classrooms. Still others are simply seeking some good ideas.
that have purchased Adobe software licenses can use the online courses to train teacher
leaders how to use the tools. (They can then, in
turn, train the rest of their staff or encourage
their whole staff to use the Resource section of the platform to find tools.)
Educators who don’t have Adobe product licenses, they will often download a 30-day free trial while they take a course. .
Who’s Using It?
majority of teachers who use the platform do it independently of their schools.
As of late 2013, more than 127,000 people were using the platform, 57% of whom were teachers, 11% were
tech or media specialists, and 10% were curriculum specialists or trainers.
Some educators are using the platform (and Adobe tools) throughout a region of schools. The province of Alberta, Canada bought Adobe Digital School Collection and Adobe Creative Suite Master Collections for all their schools. The province is encouraging all teachers in the region to attend the Adobe webinars and use the Exchange to share expertise and quell fears about using technology in school.
The biggest barrier to using this product to the fullest is having access to Adobe products. If a user lacks access to Adobe, even on a limited (and free) trial basis, then some of the tasks associated with the courses will be impossible to do.
tool is entirely browser based. To fully implement and get the most out of
training and resources, teachers need access to Adobe products.
Everything on the platform is entirely free, including all the courses. While there are 30-day trials of Adobe products available, licenses for individual products typically starts at more than $300 per user per product.
No formal graduate credits are associated with courses. However, teachers can receive badges, tied to the website, for completing courses. Getting PD credit hours for the badges is up to each individual school district to assign.
Are you a teacher or administrator who has used this product? Be the first to share your experiences with others by writing a Case Study: