New South Wales Department of Education & Training selects Adobe.
The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education and Training will provide Adobe® design, development, photo-editing, video and collaboration software to students and faculty in its Kindergarten through 12th grade schools and TAFE vocational education and training institutes.
The selection of Adobe software is part of the joint federal and state government Digital Education Revolution initiative, which contributes sustainable and meaningful change to teaching and learning in Australian schools, by providing students with skills they need to live and work in a digital world.
The contract will provide Adobe software to 741,000 NSW government K-12 students, 50,000 K-12 teachers, 500,000 TAFE students, and 10,000 TAFE teachers. Year nine through 12 secondary school students will receive netbooks preloaded with various Adobe software combinations, including Adobe Photoshop® Elements, Adobe Premiere® Elements, Adobe Captivate®, Adobe Contribute®, and Adobe Acrobat® Pro. Additionally, classroom and lab machines across K-12 schools and TAFE campuses will be equipped with Adobe Creative Suite® 4 Design Premium, Adobe Creative Suite Web Standard or Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection. The Department of Education and Training has also licensed Adobe Acrobat Connect™ Pro software for web conferencing and teacher training, and Adobe Flash Media Server software to provide streaming video and real-time communication.
"NSW public schools lead Australia in providing computer resources, giving our teachers and our young people the vital skills they need to help them succeed in the 21st Century," said NSW Premier Nathan Rees. "The combination of the hardware and the software contracts we have signed will open our classrooms up to the world. Using this software, teachers and students will be able to create videos and presentations, edit photos, and collaborate on class assignments and projects."
"Adobe has participated in several efforts around the globe to integrate technology in large education systems. This effort in NSW represents a bold step forward by simultaneously addressing career and technical education, cross-curricular use of technology and teacher professional development," said Julian Quinn, vice president, Asia Pacific at Adobe "Adobe is proud to participate in a comprehensive effort to improve student learning at this scale."
Building classes with virtual learning
Building studies may not be the first subject you think of for distance education, but Graeme Wilton, teacher of Certificate IV in Building Studies, Residential at Armidale TAFE, uses Adobe Connect to teach the course to a range of distance education students.
Certificate IV in Building Studies is not widely taught in North-West New South Wales. However, the course happens to be the minimum requirement for a Builder's licence in New South Wales, meaning it is in high demand. Faced with the difficulty of gathering students in remote areas together in numbers to justify the cost of putting a teacher in front of them, Wilton decided to try Adobe Connect.
The main tasks involved in the course are theory, with less practical work required, lending the syllabus to distance learning.
"It was no stroke of genius on my part that I started using Adobe Connect. A couple of years ago, there were 30 students doing Building Studies through distance learning. Despite my best efforts with the techniques I knew – photocopier, phone calls, couple of face to face, I just felt overall my efforts were going nowhere compared to 18 years previous teaching experience face-to-face."
Introduced to Adobe Connect, Wilton says he started off taking a simple approach to his distance teaching. "Given my limited experience with computers, what I asked was, and still do, is 'How would I do this face to face?'
In front of a class, Wilton used short handouts, his voice and a whiteboard. With Adobe Connect, he accesses the same tools and more.
"I deliver using a tablet and a stylus and I have notes prepared and we run it like that. I prepare exercises the students would be doing for the night's lesson, all ready in the virtual classroom when the students log on. It's expected that they would log on about 5:55 pm, download those and print those off. I deliver the class using the microphone and the whiteboard, so as I speak I write, just as you would on a whiteboard in a classroom. The students get the voice and they get the screen, but because I have so many students we don't have the opportunity for them to get back with voice. Instead they have opportunity to respond via 'chat poll' which is just typing in their questions and the questions can be displayed to the whole group, or they can be displayed just to me privately."
The biggest benefit for the vast majority of students is they can now complete a vital course with a real teacher 'face-to-face' without leaving home. "It's a huge benefit and the number of enrolment enquiries reflect how it is received. The interest is phenomenal. I got a call yesterday from Darwin. I got a call today from Lightening Ridge," says Wilton.
Importantly, Wilton says not only are results comparable to face-to-face, he believes learning via Adobe Connect has actually helped reduce student attrition.
"My students absolutely love it. It's a revelation to get a fairly dead and dull subject at times, which can be the case with Certificate IV Building, and see the students being engaged by the method of delivery now, rather than just the content. It's added an enthusiasm that I haven't seen for a while, but I must say that part of that would come from me because I'm a little 'g-ed' up about the whole thing too," he laughs.
For further information on Adobe's education offerings, and to see Graeme Wilton's full interview (slide 18), download the Connect presentation at http://pacific.adobe.acrobat.com/nswdetstory