Spark Creativity with Adobe Spark
This session will introduce you to three great tools from Adobe for bringing out your students' creative side. Adobe Spark Page, Post and Video provide three easy to use tools for creative expression in the classroom. Using any of these three brilliant tools, you can have your students creating beautiful media quickly and easily for any curriculum area. Sparks work on your computer (including Chromebooks!) and also on iOS devices like iPads.
Everyone knows that Adobe makes awesome creative tools for design professionals like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, and many more (I bet you didn’t know that Adobe makes over 100 different professional tools for creative production!) The problem is that while Adobe’s professional design tools are powerful and sophisticated for advanced users, they are sometimes overly complex for the average person.
Meet Adobe Spark! Spark is a set of three FREE creative tools from Adobe that are easy to learn and simple to use, but still let you produce amazingly designed media that looks really professional.
The best part of these tools (other than the fact that they are completely free) is that they can be used on iOS and Android devices, and also through any modern web browser. This means they can be used on ANY computer, including Chromebooks.
To use Spark on a computer just go to spark.adobe.com and log in.
For iOS, you will need to download the individual apps for Post, Page and Video. The iOS versions actually have a few additional features, such as animations in Post. The iOS version of Spark Video also takes advantage of the camera on the iPad or iPhone.
For Android, only Spark Post is available at this stage, but the others are planned soon!
Can I use Spark with students under 13 years old?
Yes! - Go to spark.adobe.com/edu/ to learn more about how you can register your school for Spark.
Your school’s IT Administrator can deploy Spark to your whole school:
- If your school already has Adobe products, Spark is available from their “Adobe Admin Console”. Check out this Guide to getting started
- If your school does not have Adobe products yet, simply request an Adobe Admin Console from which you will be able to deploy Spark to your staff and students. Call Adobe at 1 800 910 584 (Australian schools)
- Check out this PDF to learn more about Adobe Spark for Education
Adobe Spark Post
Spark Post is the simple way to produce beautiful graphic designs. It lets you combine text and images, then provides you with image filters and text tools that add some real design flair.
Start by tapping the + button to create a new design. Then select an image for your background. You can choose from plain colours and patterns, or select an image from your Photos or Lightroom collections, or browse online photo collections including a huge gallery of free Creative Commons photos, or beautiful paid options from Adobe Stock.
Choose a size for your design so your final image fits perfectly into standard formats like 16:9, 3:4, or posters, Letter size, or social media options for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and more. Of course, you can customise your own size and layout too if you wish.
Next you add your text. In general, the idea is to keep it short and pithy. Quotes, short phrases or inspirational sayings work well. However, you can add longer blocks of text if you really want to, but be aware that things can really slow down with large blocks of text.
After you add your text, try using the Style wheel… just rotate until you find a look you like! Or choose from the design gallery. Each choice will immediately rework your content into a new design. Different text/image combinations work better than others, so just play around to see you can fins something you like.
If you want to take a little more control over the work, Post provides you with simple options to control the font, colour, shape, alignment, opacity and spacing of the text. Just keep playing around with all the options until you come up with a design you like! It’s that easy and the results are awesome!
If you want to dive a little deeper, check out the Layout options for creating multipanel designs. Or tap the Add button to add extra text, another photo, or even a logo. If you’re using an iPad, try the Effects button to create simple animations.
Once you’re finished, download it to your device, or use the Share button to export your design to your device, send it via email, or post directly to the social web using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!
How could you use this in YOUR classroom?
Spark Post Activity
Create a series of classroom posters based on some inspiring quotes
Adobe Spark Page
Spark Page is like an awesome multimedia word processor, and is a simple and easy way to create a webpage. As you’d expect, it lets you add text, images and links to create your page, and gives you options for image galleries and beautiful text scrolling effects. Note that you create a single webpage, not an entire website.
Start with the + button, then add an image and a title/subtitle. Then scroll down to find the next + button. Each time you add more items to the page, and new + button appears to add the next thing. It really is that simple!
Make sure you check out the PhotoGrid and Glideshow options - they are easy to add and intuitive to use.
When you’re happy with your finished product, click the Share button to send to social media, or publish to the web. The page gets its own URL for you to access it from any device!
As an example, the embedded Spark Page on the right is my attempt at recreating this page you're reading now (made with Google Sites). It's interesting to open the two pages up and see the differences between them - both webpages have the same content, but they are different because of the way the two tools handle layout and media.
As you can see, the Spark Page is quite beautiful with scrolling parallax effects, etc. Remember it's just a single page though... you can't build a multipage website (unless you build lots of individual Spark Pages and link them together with Buttons.
But what a great tool for giving your students another option for presenting their work!
How could you use this in YOUR classroom?
Spark Page Activity
Create a Spark page about a topic you are currently teaching (or plan to teach soon)
Adobe Spark Video
Spark Video (previously known as Adobe Voice) is an easy way to create videos to tell a story, describe a process, explain an idea, provide instructions or show and tell. In fact, there are pre-designed templates to help you do all of these and more, or you can start from scratch and work without any guidance at all.
Think of Spark Video as a narrated slideshow. You create “slides” that contain text, images, icons or videos, then you add your voice narration by pressing and holding the red record button. You can speak for up to 30 seconds per slide (But ideally you should try to keep each slide short and pithy… if you really need to talk longer you can always just duplicate the slide and keep going, but please consider your audience!)
Spark Video automatically adds a music soundtrack to the entire presentation, and you can swap music by choosing from a collection of tunes (by mood) under the Music tab. You can also switch to different themes to change the overall look of your finished product.
To preview a specific slide, click the play button on the slide. To preview your entire presentation, click the play button on the timeline at the bottom of the screen. Too easy!
When you’re done, tap the Share button to send to social media or save to your device. Video production does not get any easier than this!
How could you use this in YOUR classroom?
Spark Video Activity
Create a video that explains a process, or tells a story related to something you plan to teach
Remember that the idea behind these Spark tools is to give you simple, quick and easy ways to create graphic designs, web pages and videos.
With that simplicity comes the trade-off of not having complete control over the finished product (although you still have quite a bit!) If you can accept the Spark workflow and operate within the limitations of these tools you will be able to produce some beautiful, powerful media. If you need or want more control over the finished product you'll need to graduate to more sophisticated tools such as Adobe Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Premiere Pro... although with all that extra power comes lots more complexity!
Because these Spark tools are so simple to use you can get the end result you’re after quickly and easily, enabling you to spend more time on the important stuff that really matters!