Week 9: Digital Portfolios with Adobe Spark Page

Very quick post to finish off the term.

One of the advantages of being an Adobe Education Leader is that you get to hear about (and sometimes trial) new software before it becomes available to the public. For the last few months, Project M (as it was called) was being trialled. This was a way to bring to the desktop the three big apps that Adobe had been pushing on iOS – Adobe Voice, Adobe Post and Adobe Slate.

Knowing that the end of term was coming up and that I wanted to use Adobe Slate for the students to publish their digital portfolios as a single webpage, I was praying it would come out officially by the time we were ready to start. And my prayers were answered!

Now officially called Adobe Spark (which you can find at http://spark.adobe.com/ ) this is a free service to anyone who has signed up with an Adobe ID. Spark brings these apps to the desktop seemlessly. It all revolves around one idea: How do you want to tell your story, simply, effectively and how you want to? Via a video? An image? Or a written story?

The apps become rebranded to reflect this new Spark family. Adobe Voice becomes Adobe Spark Video, Adobe Post becomes Adobe Spark Post, and Adobe Slate becomes Adobe Spark Page.

I showed my students (from Grade 1-6s) these two videos to get them excited. Each year level has had experience in one of these apps, but not all three. I wanted them to get engaged with the possibilities. About how they could create projects not just for Media Arts but for all subjects they do at school, using these simple tools. I have since been told by some parents, that many of the kids are playing with the apps now at home. BRILLIANT!

So for their digital portfolios, we used Adobe Spark Page (previously Adobe Slate). To give them a taste, I showed them this video on how it works. I explained that the video was a year old and shows Adobe Slate on the iPad, but everything they saw could be done on the desktop with Adobe Spark Page.

Since all their work was saved in Google Drive folders on the desktop, it was much easy to approach it via the desktop.

As I hoped, the process was fairly easy for the kids. I did have issues with the grade 1-2s who had not used desktop computers with me before (I didn’t even bother with the Preps – I did it for them) and I got some of the older students to come in and help the younger ones with just the basic mechanics of using a desktop and mouse, and navigating folders in Windows.

But I was very pleased with the results. When the students had finished with their portfolio and published it (published it without going to search engines, for privacy sake), I got them to copy the link and paste it into a Google Form I had set up.

Once all the students were done, I had a nice spreadsheet in Google created automatically with the students names, classes and link so I could copy and paste it straight into their reports.

We had parent-teacher night following the release of the reports, and I had such positive and wonderful comments from every parent I met with about how much the kids loved media arts, and how fantastic it was to see their work right there.

Click here to see an example of a Grade 5’s portfolio.

Next semester, the students will add to their current portfolio, and I’m very excited to see what lies ahead.

Next term, it is planned for the Prep – Grade 4s to do animation, and the Grade 5-6s to do Video Production. Stay tuned!


Week 8: Fingerpainting, Glow Painting, Logos and Magazine Covers

This week the Preps looked at a couple more types of art on the iPad in the form of fingerpainting and glow painting. The Grades 1-2s started work on their Digital Portfolio (more on that in the next post), the Grade 3-4s finished their app logos and the Grade 5-6s created Magazine Covers in InDesign.


It’s not easy to come up with Graphic Design lessons for 5-6 year olds. I approached it as looking at different ways to create art on an iPad – my device of choice with the younger kids.

The first app we looked at is simply called FingerPaint. The task here was to explore the app and come up with different ways to create Fingerprint characters. Here is a video that shows how I modelled the app.

Here are some examples from the Preps.

04 03 02 01


Our exploration of artistic pieces on the iPad with the Preps concluded with what I can only call Glow Paintings. When introducing this to the Preps, I told them that everything that we had been doing previously on the iPad (drawing, colouring, funny faces, fingerpainting) were the kinds of art you could use using paper and art tools in the classroom. This app – Art of Glow – differs because its a kind of art that can ONLY be done on an ipad. Flashing, moving, animated art.

Here is a video of how I modelled the app to the students.

I didn’t save any of their work this time around, but they certainly had a lot of fun. Again, their love of “rainbow” colours could hurt the head when gone too far – perhaps even bring on an epileptic fit if you’re not careful! The kids really loved it!


The grade 3-4s concluded their work in creating their logos on Illustrator. When they started I got them to create four artboards with the intention of creating four near-identical versions of their logo. The only difference being that they changed some colours around each time, so they could show me different variants of the same idea.

I then mapped their final chosen logo onto a 3D iphone image in Photoshop to come up with the end result. Here are some of the best ones I think the kids came up with.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I thought the best ones were the ones who had a clear idea of what they wanted to do from the beginning and who followed my advice in making some that was realistic to draw on Illustrator given the rudimentary skills they have so far.


The final activity for the grade 5-6s this term was to create a magazine cover in InDesign that would (hopefully) complement the magazine spread they had just finished last week. For the grade 5s, that meant a magazine on Environment or Sustainability and for the Grade 5s, that meant either a current affairs magazine or a Natural Disasters Magazine.

They were to include their article and byline on the cover as well as a suitable cover image. Like last time, I supplied them with some example magazine covers for them to look at. Unlike last time, however, I told them the examples were there to be used as inspiration, not as something to copy.

The video below explains how I modelled this to the class.

Here are some grade 5 examples that I put through Photoshop to make them more 3D and professional.

07 05 04 02

And here are some grade 6 examples where I have done the same.

06 03 01

Next week we are all doing Digital Portfolios. With the end of semester reports going out, I wanted there to be included in my comments a link to the students work so that the parents could see what they have been doing in Media Arts this year so far. See the next post in how I did this.