What is this tech tool?
Adobe Spark is in the Adobe suite and provides a means to make visual stories or presentations efficiently in a way that is visually compelling and relatively simple. It is web-based and does not require a download.
How is it being used here?
Background and context: I used Adobe Spark to create several introductory videos for my course. There are several advantages to using it over PowerPoint. For example, it is very easy to change the Spark video from semester to semester as you can simply re-record the seconds for the slides that need to be changed and then Spark edits them together again when you hit the “download button.” Another advantage is that Adobe Spark can easily be adapted for collaborative projects. Invitations can be sent out to make projects collaborative. This could easily be used for collaborative projects that could be well polished and easily coordinated across distance.
Heads up: Make sure that you don’t clip yourself at the beginning or end when recording audio, so allow yourself an extra second on either end. Also be sure to check your audio levels when recording anything new in relation to the old to make sure that the volume doesn’t change significantly between sections.
Sample Activity: Students could be tasked with creating a five-minute video in pairs to introduce a subject. To do so, they would need to first outline their presentation and plan what materials to include in how many slides (for 5 minutes, it would be about 20 slides at 15 seconds per slide tops). Since students record the audio with each slide, it is easy to rearrange the slides and change the presentation structure as needed.
Learning outcomes and/or benefits:
As a standard part of the Adobe suite, it is no doubt a useful tool for students to know and familiarize themselves with. With using the invitation feature, it also gives a chance for collaboration that can still be divided up among students. It provides a forum for group presentations that can be a welcome alternative to PowerPoint and where there can be a clear responsibility and “voice” for each student present (as they can record audio for different slides), while still creating one single shared project.
Demonstration: To see an example of a video created with Adobe Spark, see the following link for my “Nuts and Bolts” syllabus video.
As I mentioned above, I have found it to be a good medium for the online syllabus video since I can easily just trade out a few seconds to customize the video to the new semester and then redownload and upload the new video for the new semester. If you upload the video to Panopto (or have students upload the videos to Panopto if they completed a project), it will add the captions making them accessible to all students.
How can I get it?
If you go to https://spark.adobe.com/, you will be asked to log in. Use your SMU credentials. From here, your videos will be archived online and you can return to them to edit them as you wish to.