FETC Presenter Spotlight: Michael Sawyer Delivers Adobe Crash Courses for Educators

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Adobe software is ubiquitous in the work world, but many educators have yet to realize the value of these technology tools in the classroom setting. Michael Sawyer, new media production specialist instructor and Adobe educational leader at Aparicio-Levy Technical Center in Florida, is out to change that. At the FETC 2009 conference this week in Orlando, FL, Sawyer will present three different sessions on how to incorporate Adobe's software programs into the educational world.

Sawyer has taught a variety of social science courses at the high school level and branched into technology and staff development training over the past eight years. He's conducted training on Macromedia Web design programs, Microsoft Office Suite, and effective technology integration practices at the district level. Here, Sawyer provides an in-depth look at what attendees can expect from his three sessions.

THE Journal: Why is it important for educators to know how to use Web and graphics software?

Michael Sawyer: When you look at classrooms--and at schools in general--most lack a solid foundational staff that understands Web design and graphic arts software and processes. I always make the joke to my class about how we historically used a lot of animated GIFs repeating across and down a screen a thousand times, and how we took that thought process and applied it to Web site development. The FETC sessions I'm doing will focus on how to actually put elements together, get them up on a server and work with the school district to gain a better understanding of how all these factors come together to create compelling Web sites.

THE Journal: What will you cover in Web Expression: An Introduction to Web Design using Adobe's Web Suite?

Sawyer: Teachers, school technology specialists and district web designers can use Adobe's Studio CS3 (Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash) to create a Web site from planning to posting. In this session, participants will use Dreamweaver to create a Web site directory, Web pages using tables as a layout tool and templates that increase website consistency and productivity. Fireworks will be applied to crop, resize, select, color, erase and adjust images, while Flash will be employed to create simple animations. Attendees will come away with a basic understanding of the Web design process using these different software programs--from project management to the exporting of the final product.

THE Journal: What can attendees expect from the Adobe's Flash: One Plug-in for Audio, Video and Interactivity session?

Sawyer: Flash is just an amazing piece of software. In fact, the Flash player is on over 90 percent of computers worldwide that are hooked up to the Internet. The challenge is that working across various multimedia platforms (such as Real Time and Quick Time) can be extremely frustrating for educators. Teachers, technology specialists and district Web designers use Adobe Flash to create multimedia-rich and interactive animations for stand-alone programs or for the Web. Participants in this session will use the timeline to animate objects, create streaming sound controls for the Web, create video controls for Web digital movies and use ActionScript to create interactive symbols. I see this as a critical component in the educational setting because Flash offers a lot of interactivity that kids are used to. They expect to see it, and they quickly get bored when they don't see it.

THE Journal: What will you teach attendees in the Adobe Dreamweaver: Make More with Less Effort workshop?

Sawyer: In this follow-up to Web Expression, teachers, school technology specialists and district Web designers will use Dreamweaver to create multimedia-rich and interactive Web pages. Participants will use Dreamweaver's layout tools, and behaviors, CSS and Timeline panels to create a Web page, and will also arrange using layers, create spans to represent objects and write Java Script without writing code. Dreamweaver is designed for someone who has experience in Web design, and incorporates elements like cascading style sheets (CSS) and Java Script development. Because I'm a Social Studies teacher by background (who later got a master's degree in IT), I like to take topics like the Great Depression and incorporate it into this session to make it even more interesting. From my point of view, if someone is learning about technology, it never hurts to get insights on another subject at the same time.

THE Journal: What else should educators know about your three FETC sessions?

Sawyer: These sessions bring the elements of the online world into the classroom through Web pages and multimedia, and can provide valuable tools, knowledge and resources for educators to take back to their schools and apply in their own day-to-day activities. The trio of sessions also pertains to schools that use intranets (versus the Internet) because it covers multimedia files, podcasts and other interactive elements that are used on these internal systems. It's all about making the classroom more fun, exciting and relative for students.

Further information about individual sessions at FETC can be found here.

About the Author

Bridget McCrea is a business and technology writer in Clearwater, FL. She can be reached at bridgetmc@earthlink.net.

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