Adobe 2012 Educator’s Choice Awards

Educator’s Choice Higher Ed Grand Prize Winner ‘Type Faces’ by Micheal Cole

I had the great opportunity to serve as one of the judges for the 2012 Educator’s Choice Awards sponsored by Adobe.  The contest celebrates the best projects, lesson plans, and curricula used to teach Adobe tools and technologies in innovative, creative and inspiring ways. There were several hundred entries. Many were fascinating.

The judges picked the finalists, then opened the judging up for the public to vote. Adobe announced the winners this morning! Congrats to all of the finalists and winners. A job well done!

Visit the Adobe Education Exchange and view the winning entries.

Vote for Advanced Authoring in Mission: Small Business

Advanced Authoring is entering the Chase/Living Social Mission: Small Business grant competition. The competition awards 12 small businesses $250,000 each to help further their small business along. Advanced Authoring will use the funding to complete development of the mobile game The American Dream.

Voting takes 30 seconds and is done in 3 easy steps:

  1. Visit and sign in (you can use your Facebook Acct too).
  2. Search for “Advanced Authoring”.
  3. Click the VOTE! button.

The American Dream is a personalized mobile/tablet/desktop game designed to teach necessary topics of personal finance. It’s targeted to high school and college students. Think: “The Game of Life” meets “The Sims” meets “Survivor”. In the game players have to constantly balance a budget while dealing with unexpected “Life Events”. The game will have both a commercial version, for individuals.  And, educational versions for institutions which involve teachers and parents.

Possible Life Event in the game

Teaching Naked: NPR Interview

Students build a band by dragging and dropping artists to the stage.

Last night I was answering a request for best practices in interactive teaching and learning from Adobe, I stumbled on an NPR interview where one of my games became the focus! Hear the interview.

Teaching Naked focuses on moving teaching technology out of the classroom to spend quality face-face time where it counts, essentially inverting the traditional approach to teaching. Dr. Jose Bowen, argues that you can use technology in effective ways to first introduce students to material before they reach the classroom. So when students do get into class they can spend the time debating, discussing and exploring. Dr. Bowen discusses why he provides his lectures as podcasts and uses Flash based games to engage his students.

In the interview,  the host of the program plays Jazz Bandstand, one of the games I designed for his Jazz History students when he taught the large attendance class at Miami University. In the game, the students build a jazz band to match the requested jazz style. It’s a whimsical but effective way of moving students from simply memorizing who played what, to analyzing differences in individual playing styles.

The activity kicked off a large series of successful activities and learning games I designed for the Fine Arts faculty and teaching staff at Miami. See more in the Game Category.

Adobe Education Exchange – New!!

The Adobe Education Exchange promises to be an excellent source of Adobe curriculum written by and for teachers and for students from k-16. It also will allow its members (sign-up is free) to share ideas and build networks with other educators in the same disciplines or areas of interest. But resources on the exchange aren’t limited to curriculum centered around Adobe products. Ideas, activities and curriculum are categorized by members who share by age group, activity and area of study to make things easier to find.

After being online for a little over a month, it already has over 900 members.

Check it out here!

The Impact Award!

image courtesy of Motion Soup

Today I was shocked when I started getting congratulatory emails on my way to the final meeting for this year’s Summer Institute in San Jose.

I had been presented with the Adobe Impact Award. Unfortunately, due to my own time zone mistake, I was not present when this was announced. But, upon my arrival, I was asked on stage to receive it. I was pretty shocked, but pleasantly surprised.

The award is presented to two higher education professionals and two k-12 educators worldwide for “contributions to the educational community”. Its great feeling to join the ranks of some of the other Ed Leaders that have received this before me!

Thanks Adobe!

Presenting at Adobe’s Ed Leader’s Institute 2010

image courtesy of fellow AEL Joseph Labrecque

Today, I gave a presentation to my fellow Ed Leaders on working with students to optimize Flash for mobile applications at the AEL Summer Institute in San Jose. There’s been a lot of criticism against Adobe that states that Flash crashes browsers, or uses too many resources, or takes to long to download. I’ve never found this to be the case. However, I have seen instances where a development could be optimized to make the activity look/feel better for the end user.

The presentation’s initial proposal was written to show users how easy it was to export AIR applications and seamlessly turn them into iPhone apps. But in early April, the rules changed due to Apple’s stance on Flash, and the change in wording in their developer license. Since I had to change the focus of the presentation anyway, I figured it would be good to discuss best practices for optimizing Flash. These are good rules of thumb in general. But, when it comes to mobile delivery of Flash apps, special considerations apply since you have limited memory, processing and screen size.

The gist of the presentation boiled down a 92-page white-paper by Thibault Imbert and Paul Robertson (Optimizing Performance for the Adobe Flash Platform) as well as some practical tips by others in the industry.

The video of the presentation will be on Adobe TV soon. I’ll post a link as it becomes available.

The Adobe Ed Leader’s Institute

image courtesy of fellow AEL, Joseph Labrecque

The end of July marks the time when Adobe hosts the Ed Leader’s Summer Institute. This is a week packed full brainstorming, sharing of ideas, product insights, research results, and professional development. Not to mention meeting some amazing thinkers. The schedule starts at 9am (7:30 for those seeking certification) and runs usually until around 10pm throughout the week!

As Adobe invitees, AELs are given sneak peeks at the products in development, and sometimes given the opportunity to weigh-in on their usefulness and practicality. Due to the non-disclosure AELs are under, I can’t discuss what I have seen so far, except to say that more pleasant surprises await Adobe users in the future.

I’ll be presenting on optimizing Flash for mobile delivery. The video of the presentation should be available in a few weeks on the Adobe TV Ed Leaders Channel.

New Faculty CD


The Miami New Faculty CD

New Faculty CD Architecture



This project was undertaken to introduce new faculty to the technology resources available at Miami University. Using Flash and XML, it was possible to combine all the commonalities faculty have with specific personal data on a single CD. This combination created completely personalized information including network account settings, departmental library and technical support representatives, user-centered campus maps, academic resources, and discipline specific online learning materials. Duplicating this effort for each faculty member required simply changing userID and academic department variables for each CD. Because of the CD’s success, similar projects in other areas were spawned using the same architecture.

The New Faculty CD included the following content sections:

Your Info:

This section introduces the new faculty to the central computing
resources available to them and provides hyperlinks and easy to
follow instructions for configuring things such as email and web
page accounts. In addition, this area provides the answer to the
most popular question, “What is my user name and password?”

Instructor Resources:

The Instructor Resources section brings to light not only all Miami
University units designed to assist faculty in improving teaching and
learning, but also the MERLOT website, which provides
department-specific online learning materials.


When things go wrong, or a faculty member needs help with
technology, where do they go? This section breaks down all of the
support areas at Miami. It also provides the faculty with their own
academic department’s support representative contact information.

Campus Map:

The campus map contains an interactive version of the standard
fold-out to help orient faculty to the Oxford campus. This special
version initializes by labeling and centering the faculty member’s
academic department with a “YOU ARE HERE” type marker. Then,
provides a link list of common places all new faculty must visit within
the first few weeks of the semester. A click on the list visually
reveals the buildings location in relation to their office.

Huge Tips:

Huge Tips is a helpful list of all of the little known resources
available to faculty, such as reduced-rate home broadband service
and interest free loans for personal home computers. In addition, a
complete list of grants and resources are available.

Local Eats:

A list of all of the local eateries is included for newcomers. Broken
down by type of restaurant, this list provides numbers, hyperlinks to
menus, and directions to the establishment and indicates whether or
not they deliver.