Whether you’re looking to give 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, or want more advanced editing skills to give students a leg-up in further education and beyond, we can provide you with both easy to use software essentials, and industry-standard multimedia software.
Every new Mac comes with Apple’s suite of easy to use multimedia tools bundled in free. This includes: GarageBand, the music-making app for recording and mixing audio, creating video soundtracks and recording podcasts; iMovie, which lets students import, edit and add effects to footage by simply dragging and dropping; iPhoto, for uploading, editing and sharing photos. These intuitive tools are great as they let students get editing with just a few pointers, rather than a whole lesson’s explanation, but if you want to step it up a notch, you could look at Apple’s Logic and Final Cut Pro too for professional audio and video editing.
Adobe is the watchword in creative software, developing household names such as Photoshop for creating and editing imagery, Premiere Pro for video editing and InDesign for laying out pages to create pro-looking brochures and magazines in class. Their software is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud through Adobe’s Value Incentive Plan (VIP). This is a subscription-based buying programme that makes it easy for your institution to purchase, deploy and manage Adobe licences. Whether you just need a single Adobe application, or the All Apps package, you can just download the desktop apps you need. We can even arrange training for staff on all Adobe apps.
Avid produce some of the best media software that education institutions can buy, including the Media Composer video editor, Pro Tools professional recording system, and Sibelius music composing software. These are great on their own for secondary level usage, but if you want to give students experience with professional-level workflows and help them get a foothold in the creative industries when they graduate, we recommend full Avid setups. As well as getting your students used to working with hardware and software they’d find in professional environments, Avid’s systems make it easier for your staff and technical team to offer a complete professional workflow, from ingesting footage to organising how files are stored.
Software isn’t all about creating great-looking documents, audio and video though – it’s also about making students and staff as productive as possible. Whether you’re running off some word-processed handouts or creating engaging presentations, or need a solution that will make organising your documents and files a whole lot easier, here are our top productivity software picks from Apple, Microsoft and Extensis…
Apple provide their own suite of productivity software (similar to Microsoft Office) which comes free on the latest Mac and iPad models. This includes word processing app Pages, spreadsheet app Numbers and Keynote, which lets you create amazing presentations. Now, they’ve made the whole lot available in your browser too, so you can access documents on the web, and up to 100 students can collaborate on documents at once, making it ideal for large class sets!
You’ll already be familiar with Microsoft Office, but you might not know about Office 365. This subscription model includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, and lets staff and students access the files and documents they need from any device via cloud services – so they always have access to email and schoolwork, whatever happens. They can also save documents to the cloud, get their own mailbox and get more collaborative by sharing and working on the same documents at once.
Digital asset management (DAM) software organises your files so you don’t waste time looking for files, or even having to recreate them from scratch because you can’t find what you’re looking for, and makes sure everything has a standardised, easily-searchable file name, and is in a format that can be opened. The DAM solution we suggest is Extensis Portfolio, which manages all your digital media, including images, videos and more. And as we work closely with industry leader Extensis, we can offer you great prices and service.
Whether you’re exploring the human body or oxbow lakes, there’s a massive range of apps out there to aid learning. But there’s also a wealth of apps you may not have tried that are designed to improve your mobile workflow, making for better teaching and learning. Here are a couple we (and nearly every teacher we speak to) recommend)…
Showbie lets you create virtual classrooms, upload resources to them and assign tasks to students. You can use it as a replacement for handouts in a usual classroom setting (“Open our Showbie room, take the quiz there and then post your result”), and it’s a great way for students to submit homework or projects and get instant feedback. You can annotate the files they submit, or record a voice note giving them more detailed verbal feedback.
Foldr works with your existing Windows accounts to give you access to your home folder and shared drives from iPad. It means you and your students can get to important files and folders whether in school or at home (no excuses for not doing that handout you set for homework any more). It also includes powerful annotation tools that let teachers provide visual and audio feedback to students by adding comments and voice notes to assignments. While the app’s free, you need a Foldr server to run it and get access.
RevisionPlan lets teachers upload a student's predicted grades and exam schedule, then generate a sensibly-paced revision timetable that organises and prioritises work for the most urgent exams. Before the release of the RevisionPlan app, teachers could only share this schedule with students by handing out a printed copy (expensive), or emailing a PDF (easy to ignore or lose). Now, you can beam the schedule straight to their hands with the help of the app, which is specifically designed to give parents and carers a clearer, more concise summary of each day’s revision, so they can provide more effective support.
Want to get the most out of apps, iPad and Mac in the classroom? Apple’s version of continuing professional development (CPD) training is an ideal way of getting the best possible training on tech, and making the most effective use of it, whatever level your staff are at. Check out the course catalogue at the link below, and if you don’t see what you need there, we can also provide training sessions that are tailored to your school practice and how comfortable your staff are with Apple kit.
“The students have adapted really quickly as they’re new to it. Lately, staff in other classes have said they’ve struggled to get the students out of Photoshop, which is job done for me!”
David Storey, Selby College IT and Computing Subject Area Manager
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