OnCUE

Light a Spark

hand holding sparkler

Adobe Spark is not a new tool, but if you haven’t checked it out lately, you don’t know Spark. In April, Adobe announced that they would make this creation tool free for students and teachers, and they would throw in all the premium features to boot. All you need is a little help from your friendly neighborhood IT manager to get it set up and you are off and running, even with students under 13.

The Swiss Army knife of creation tools, Spark has three easy to use “utensils” that even the littlest learners can master:

  • Post: This graphic design software lets students work with images. They can upload their own or select from Creative Commons licensed media inside the app from providers like Unsplash and Pixabay. Curricular uses could include creating book cover designs, billboards promoting one of the original colonies, and social media posts from historical or literary figures.
  • Page: This tool allows you to create a very attractive one page website. Students can include text, images, videos, and links. Use as a digital portfolio, to deliver a report, or include images from class events.
  • Video: As its name implies, this is a video creation tool. Students can upload images or select from Creative Commons licensed photographs (automatically credited at the end of the video), add music, and even record voiceover narration. They can also upload video clips. Spark Video can be used to create historical documentaries, highlight themes or other aspects of a novel, summarize a concept, explain vocabulary, document science experiments, or provide a background image for a story or poem that they read aloud.

Students who are unsure of their design skills may choose from the design themes and templates available in all Adobe Spark tools while others can build from scratch. Creations can be shared publicly or privately.

Access Adobe Spark from a computer at spark.adobe.com. There are also iOS apps (one for each tool, to keep them from being too bulky). Android users only have the option to use Post at this time. Content syncs automatically between the web and mobile apps, so you can start your work in one place and finish in another.

To learn more, visit this page with an overview and examples of the tools. There is also a teacher guide you can download. They even have nine suggestions for assignments to start the school year off “on a Spark-ly note.”

By the way, the image for this blog post was made in Spark.

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Nancy Minicozzi

Nancy is the coffee half of the TLC Ninja podcast. She began her career as a technology teacher and is now an instructional technology coach, helping other teachers meaningfully integrate new and shiny things into their classrooms. She loves collaborating with others, her family, coffee, and British comedy (not necessarily in that order).

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