Try Adobe Spark to easily make Memes, Videos, and Websites!

Recently, we on the EdTech team have become moderately obsessed with Adobe Spark (OK, maybe it is just me, but my obsession is large enough to cover everyone). Spark is comprised of a free web-based tool that makes beautiful memes, webpages, and videos for the casual user. Unlike some of the other Adobe creativity tools, you don't have to have a graphic designer or video producer on staff to make something that is both informative and aesthetically pleasing. I used it to make the meme below that adds visual interest to an otherwise boring Twitter post: 

Adobe Spark contains a library of Creative Commons images that can be searched via a keyword (to find this image, I searched "old technology"), then added by just clicking on them. You can also upload your own images from Dropbox, Google, or your computer. It has ten different filters to add a specific look or style to your images. It also provides a variety of options for text color, font, and placement, and provides suggestions for a color scheme, based on the colors in your image. Who knew that design could be so easy? 

These same design tools can be used when creating webpages and videos, both of which have a higher degree of applicability to the educational user. Rather than having students create a powerpoint or prezi, encourage them to turn their content into an artifact with polish, that they will enjoy making and be proud to share. Check out the video below, provided by Adobe, for more information, then visit http://adobe.ly/1OsodWC to get started!

Students and Technology: A Recent Study

Educause recently released their 2016 Students and Technology Research Study, which details how higher education students in the United States use technology as a tool for learning, which types of technology they favor, and what teaching strategies enable them to engage with content. The study's purpose is to assist institutions and educators in identifying broader trends in student behavior that can be used to make improvements to college IT services, as well as to adjust teaching strategies to increase technology productivity. The comprehensive 48 page study is worth a read for those who would like a deeper understanding, but for those who would like a snapshot of the larger trends observed in the study, Educause has also produced an eye-catching infographic. Both can be viewed here, along with more information about the study's methodology.  

Future Digital Media students

Today the Digital Media Productions studio was full of excitement as magnet TV Production students from the Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology came to visit and talk about their futures, FSCJ's program offerings, and possible careers.  The students asked great questions and even got a chance to get in front of the cameras for a change.  We're looking forward to seeing many of them back in our studios as FSCJ students in the near future!

Digitizing history

This week, photographer Curtis Lyles had the opportunity to photograph a 115 year old magazine/book for English professor Laura Jeffries. Dr. Jeffries wants to use some of the pages for a conference presentation, but the age of the book made photographing it a delicate process. We tasked Curtis with helping digitize the pages and he went about figuring out a set up that would work to eliminate shadows from the frame of the page without blowing out the background white of the page, or damaging the book. He placed two soft boxed lights on each side of a work table in our studio to push out any shadows caused by the book. Using our camera jib, he was able to bring the Nikon D800 between and above the soft boxes to get a clear view of the book without casting any shadows into the frame. After adjusting the camera, we were on our way to digitizing and sharing an interesting piece of literature from our history.  

Useful Apps During the Hurricane

Although I coincidentally managed to be out of town during Hurricane Matthew, I asked my friends and colleagues which apps they found to be most useful and reviewed them this week on The Chat. Watch the segment and find my list below so you're even more prepared in the future.

The Weather Channel
This app, along with your preferred local news app for live streaming and up-to-date radar information.

Twitter

JSO kept readers aware of up-to-date info on this social media app.

Facebook Safety Check

This is a great way to let others know you're safe.

FEMA

Explains how to prepare ahead of the storm and allows users to submit photos of damage afterward.

iHeartRadio

You can listen to the local radio here, which provided great coverage during the storm.

Hotel Tonight

If you needed to evacuate during the storm, this app was helpful in finding availability of last minute rooms in a specific area. 

Grubhub

Discover which nearby restaurants will deliver and if they were open after Matthew made it's way through the area.

FSCJ Safe App

This app has so many useful features, including Emergency Contacts, Friend Walk, Virtual Walkhome, Campus Maps and Alerts. 

Firechat

The app provides public and private communications that work without Internet access or cellular data,  which is perfect during natural disasters, massive events, historical elections, or even large festivals.

Most Recommended by those asked:

JaxReady
From Emergency Preparedness Division and Information Technologies Division of the City of Jax, this app assists users in monitoring weather threats and plan for evacuation in their specific location. It also provides access to current threat levels, weather reports, and wildfire updates. 


macOS Sierra

Last week, Apple release a new operating system for your computers called macOS Sierra. There are some really helpful new features that you should be aware of as you update your hardware, and here are the basics.


Siri is now in your menu bar and Dock

Now Siri can assist you in locating recent files or adding a new event to your calendar.

Now Siri can assist you in locating recent files or adding a new event to your calendar.

Universal Clipboard

This one is helpful if you have a tendency to work on multiple devices and often use them interchangeably.

Auto Unlock

This may not affect everyone, but for those who have the Apple Watch, it's a very nice option.

Photos have been organized

You can now view your photos by event, location, or search who or what was in the photos.

iCloud Drive

You can now share the content from your Desktop and Documents folder across each of your Mac devices. You can select what items you'd like to make available within iCloud Drive by going to System Preferences, iCloud then Options. Click here for more assistance with iCloud Drive

Optimized Storage

Your Mac can help reduce some of the unwanted files and delete files left in the Trash for 30 days. Click here to learn more about Optimized Storage.

Picture in Picture

This feature is great when you're viewing a webinar and taking notes or multitasking. 

Download Microsoft Office for FREE!

Did you know that all students, faculty and staff have the option to download Office 365 for free on up to 5 computers? That includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, and many others. Here's a quick tutorial that shows you exactly how! If you have any issues, please contact our Service Desk at help.fscj.edu.

Here's a link to the written tutorial as well.