Tools to Promote Learning (#6 Adobe Spark)

If you haven’t come across Adobe Spark yet (or have, but haven’t had the time to really play around with it) it’s a great tool for creating short videos or infographics to get across an idea in an engaging way.

The mobile app is straightforward to use and there’s a lot you can do with it in a fairly short space of time. Like with any story,  it’s only as good as the effort you put into the telling of the story beforehand, so it’s worth thinking about what you want to say, creating quality images and video clips to include, your audience, and so on before you even start with the app. However, for the purposes of a simple demonstration, I’ve created a short Spark of one of my favourite past times – fell walking.

Fell walking in the Lake District

And in the time-honoured fashion of “here’s one I made earlier” here’s the Spark I (quickly!) put together to tell the story of my trek up Helvellyn:

It’s a first attempt and isn’t about to take Hollywood by storm any time soon, granted, but it does give you a flavour of some of the key things you can do with Adobe Spark.

I love the way it allows you to build a narrative around a particular idea or story. There’s also a range of templates you can make use of that provides your story with a structure and gives you some tips on the kinds of images and video clips you might like to include in order to make the overall project more engaging. That’s not to say you have to follow a set template – you can tailor the project to include any combination of images, video, text, music and voice narration you please.

As well as using your own images (which is what I did above) you can also make use of a preset bank of images through Spark that searches Flickr for Creative Commons images and Pixabay for images tagged as public domain.

Here are my initial reflections on the pros and cons:-

Pros:

1) The applications are limitless.
2) Ideal for creative storytelling.
3) The app is free to download.
4) Templates provide a clear structure to your idea.
5) The music library has plenty of variety.
6) Sharing options and the HTML embed code is included.
7) Images included in Spark are Creative Commons or public domain.

Cons:

1) Lacks the functionality of something like the iMovie app (see my earlier post here).
2) The text editing is practically non-existent in the video option.
3) Spark video slides containing video or voice narration can be no longer than 30 seconds (slides containing just images can be no longer than 10 seconds).
4) All videos published with Spark are public – anyone with the URL can access them (so consider carefully what you include).

Further support on using Adobe Spark is available here.

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Amplifying Events through Social Media

How can social media be put to good effect to amplify events?

This week Jisc held its annual Digifest in Birmingham (#Digifest17) and the Subject Specialist team were working hard behind the scenes to ensure the event trended on social media and reached out to those ‘attending’ the event virtually, as well as complementing the activities for those physically present over the two days. Continue reading Amplifying Events through Social Media

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Ten Top Tips for maintaining a positive digital footprint

Recently I was asked if I had anything to use with academic staff and/or students to give them some basic pointers on how to be a little more savvy with their social media use.

Image by geralt, available on Pixabay under a Creative Commons licence.

Continue reading Ten Top Tips for maintaining a positive digital footprint

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Safeguarding Learners Online (workshop resources)

This post is dedicated to the resources used to complement the face to face training session on ‘Safeguarding Learners Online.’ The main focus of the workshop is to empower teachers to embed aspects of e-safety into their everyday practice, which typically involves promoting the safe and responsible use of social media. Continue reading Safeguarding Learners Online (workshop resources)

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Tools to Promote Learning (#5 Socrative)

I’ve often heard the phrase “We don’t have time!” during staff development sessions where staff are encouraged to embed technology into their practice. Without wanting to get into the argument of whether this is a perfectly justified response or whether it hides a range of other issues that are not technology related per se (like anything else, it will depend on context), I wanted to flag one tool in particular that can save time.

Finding time Continue reading Tools to Promote Learning (#5 Socrative)

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Activities to Promote E-safety

Promoting e-safety in the Further Education and Skills sector can be a bit of a tightrope walk – you’re caught between ensuring the wellbeing of your learners and allowing them the freedom of expression and experimentation in online spaces that allow them to learn and develop as individuals. Continue reading Activities to Promote E-safety

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