Content creation without the ICT headache

Looking for ways to meet those targets for cross-curricular ICT? It’s all very well adding new software to create content and make learning more engaging for students, but the danger is, where do you find time to train staff on how to get the most out of it, and how do you stop the time teaching students how to use the software cutting in to their actual learning time? The solution: simpler software.

Apple’s and Adobe’s entry-level applications are ideal for education, giving staff and students the basic video, audio and photo editing tools and skills to create exciting multimedia projects like posters, slideshows and podcasts without the fuss. Both are easy to pick up and affordable too, with just a couple of differences – but mainly the choice comes down to what your teachers are used to using.

Apple iLife comes pre-loaded on all Mac hardware and is designed to work on that operating system, so this is the option to go for if you’re already using Mac, while Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are better suited to PCs and staff who have more experience using PCs. Their interface is also a bit more advanced than iLife as it’s based on their professional Creative Suite applications, so this is a great option for teachers who need to create engaging course materials, especially if they have used any of Adobe’s software and tools before. Here’s a bit more info about iLife and Adobe.

Create terrific teaching materials with Adobe

If staff are more used to working with the familiar tools of Photoshop and Premiere, Adobe Elements will be more up their street. Based on industry-standard Creative Suite software, but stripped back to just the essentials, you get all the tools you need to create great video, imagery and printed material, without all the complex tools you don’t.

Photoshop and Premiere Elements will run on pretty much any PC or Mac, and are incredibly affordable, so you can easily buy just one or two licences for your existing hardware without denting the budget too much. All Adobe applications link up really well together too – if you create a printed poster in Photoshop, for example, you can then easily share it as an interactive PDF using Adobe Acrobat and view them on computers and mobile devices using Adobe Reader.

Make your Macs multimedia

Whether you’re new to Mac, or have used the OS X operating system before, you’ll find Apple’s iLife creative software incredibly easy to use. The intuitive interface and tools let students get editing with just a few pointers, rather than a whole lesson’s explanation. We’ve picked out our top tools for easily creating multimedia projects like videos, podcasts and photo albums below, and shown an example of how they can be used.

GarageBand – Apple’s music-making app lets you record and mix audio with students, create soundtracks for video and record podcasts (see below for how!).

iMovie – Import footage directly from the class camera into iMovie, then simply drag and drop on to the timeline to edit and add effects. No video experience necessary!

iPhoto – Upload, edit and share photos all within iPhoto. You can even tag photos by location, and who appears in them, so it’s incredibly easy to sort them by events and student groups.

HOW TO engage students with a slideshow podcast

Rob’s step by step guide to creating a podcast in the classroom using just a laptop and the Mac version of GarageBand.

  1. PREPARE A SCRIPT – Get students to use literacy skills to research around the subject, think about tone, and practise reading it aloud. Also think about what slides you will use, if any, to back up the audio.
  2. RECORD – Open a new project and choose the ‘Podcast’ layout. The four audio tracks on the left hand side are used for the spoken track (Voice), music, effects, and slides or video. Click Record on the Voice track, and use your Mac’s built-in mic or any USB mic to record students talking.
  3. EDIT – To chop out any unwanted bits from your finished tracks, click on the timeline and choose the Split tool to move and remove sections.
  4. ENHANCE – If you’re using slides or video, drag them on to the ‘Podcast Track’ at the top to support the audio. If you want to add background music (a ‘bed’) and sound effects like creaking doors and explosions, have a browse in GarageBand’s Loop Browser on the right hand side, then drag them on to the ‘Jingles’ track underneath your audio. You can use the ‘Ducker’ switch (next to where it says ‘Jingles’) to make these quiet when someone’s talking.
  5. SHARE – You can now share the finished podcast to computers or mobile devices by clicking Share, choosing what format and quality you need, then exporting for use in an iBook, on your school’s VLE, in Dropbox and more. QuickTime Player on your Mac is probably the best way to view your podcast with slides intact.

Want to know more about Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements or Apple iLife? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.


Call us: 03332 409 306

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *