Adobe have made their Spark creative storytelling school free for primary and secondary schools. But what makes Spark different from other apps, and how can you and your students use it in the classroom? We broke out our trusty 5W essay template and got our resident Adobe experts to fill in the details…
Adobe call it a “creative storytelling” app, but in practical terms it’s an amalgamation of Adobe Post, Adobe Slate and Adobe Voice. It gives users access to all the functionality of those earlier apps, but with the support of a new, user-friendly interface that’s designed to help people with less design experience create quickly and easily.
You can create projects in three formats:
· Spark Videos are narrated films, ideal for replacing slideshows or oral presentations.
· Spark Pages is a souped-up word processor that allows you to create image-heavy text documents.
· Spark Posts are attention-grabbing graphics optimised for social media.
These options mean students can personalise projects to suit their own learning style. A wide range of templates, fonts, photos and even musical cues are included as part of the app, so everything they’ll need is in one place and there’s no need to waste lesson time moving back and forth between apps.
As well as providing everything students need to create work, Spark is designed to give teachers the admin powers they need. It integrates with apps like Teams, OneNote and Google Classroom, so teachers won’t have to adjust the way they set or collect work, and can be used in accordance with COPPA and similar EU laws if you obtain parent consent, so it’s easy to incorporate into your school’s eSafety plans. There’s even a safe search option for images and video clips.
Spark can be used by teachers and students in any subject. It’s ideal for integrating creative skills across the curriculum – pupils can create infographics about scientific topics or short videos about historical events, for example.
But it’s also a professional tool used in the creative industries (our very own designers have used it to make graphics for social media) so it’s also useful if you want to equip creative students with industry-applicable skills. According to Adobe’s research, 82% of professionals wish they’d had more exposure to creative thinking as students, and Spark makes it easy for teachers to facilitate this.
Adobe have an exhaustive list of sample projects that covers everything from second language acquisition to classroom newsletters to photo essays and creative portfolios.
You can find a range of project examples and instructions over at the Adobe Education Exchange, Adobe’s hub for teachers. Some of our favourites include this delicious-looking introduction to fractionsand this dynamic art portfoliothat functions much like a professional website.
One of the nice things about Spark is that it offers support for different skill levels at each step of the creative process. Pupils can use a pre-selected colour palette or create their own moodboard. They can edit their video themselves or choose an appropriate YouTube template. There are even tutorials that will help more adventurous students add animations and effects to their videos. There’s plenty of space for pupils to take an idea and run with it – and enough resources that teachers can feel confident supporting them!
Unlike Adobe’s more complex programmes, Spark is available as an Android app, as an iOS app and via your computer’s internet browser. That means teachers and students can access the full functionality of the app from any device – great if you’re looking for a flexible solution that can bridge in-person and remote lessons.
Your devices do need to be centrally administered by your school, though, so give us a call to find out how to get everything set up.
Well, as an Adobe Elite Education Partner, we provide the most comprehensive support for schools looking to use Adobe programmes (we also offer the best possible pricing, should you want to start using paid apps like Photoshop). We can help you set up and manage your Adobe licences, including integrating them with existing solutions like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, and even have a team of Adobe Certified Instructors on staff who can deliver online or in-person training for teachers and admins.
To speak to an expert about Microsoft solutions, call us on 03332 409 290, email education@Jigsaw24.com, or pop your details in the form and one of the team will be in touch to discuss further.
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What makes Spark different from other apps, and how can you and your students use it in the classroom?
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