One day in September I received an email from the Adobe Education Exchange in which I have an RSS feed to and I read the following:

Learn how one teacher is using the “flipped” teaching method to teach Adobe software as a way of utilizing class time to work on projects. This method enables communication between students and teachers during projects and allows everyone in the classroom to contribute.

via AEE September 2012: “Flipped Teaching”, the Language of Design, and more 

The topic peaked my interest so I clicked on the link to read the article. After reading the article, it shocked me into saying out loud to myself, “I could have written that.” The article so closely parallelled my teaching experiences that I felt like that I could have written it.

With only ten students in my yearbook journalism class this year, and only one with previous experience, I knew this was going to be a challenging year. Not to mention the two split period classes with seven students in one class and three more in the following period after lunch. I knew I had to be creative in getting the students up and running with everything that they would need to know in as little time as possible. That is when I started looking into the possibility of having my students enroll into Lynda.com. I have been a member of this software video tutorial site for about three years now and I am hooked. I knew that this was the best place to give online video training on the Adobe Creative Suite applications. I need my students to know how to use Adobe InDesign for layouts and also how to edit photos before importing them into the layouts using Adobe Photoshop. Lynda.com has a a LyndaClassroom that allows educators to sign up students for a defined length of time with up to only 5 video tutorial titles for about $10 per month per student.

I wrote up a proposal to give to my high school principal and had titled it “flipped classroom,” but got denied at first because my idea of using an expert didn’t fit the administration’s idea of “flipped classroom.” Some people believe that you have to make your own screen casts in order to it to be called a “flipped classroom,” but I don’t believe that to be the case. I believe it is important to direct your students to the best “experts” and maybe that isn’t you. Yes, I have been using Adobe products for over ten years, but I may not be the best person to teach it. Fortunately after I explained in person my logic behind wanting to enroll my yearbook students in these courses, it got approved for a one month basis. It also got approved for two of my advanced digital photography students who wanted to do an independent study course but had no curriculum to follow. By having them choose five courses from Lynda.com, I enrolled them for four months into these five classes. They now have a specific course guide to help them learn advanced photography and photo editing techniques.

I had wanted my yearbook students to learn the software at home and then use the class time to get started on their layouts. However another obstacle occurred this year when our tech guys decided they wanted to move all of our yearbook and digital photography files to a new server and it has taken them two months to do it. Finally at the end of October the yearbook files got moved, but I am still waiting for the digital photography volume to get moved. Hence the digital photography students haven’t put any of their photos in a place that the yearbook students can get to them yet. So as a result, students have been watching their video tutorials in class more than they have been outside of class. At least I had something that they could do to keep learning how to use the software, while the server finally became available to set up the documents and create folders for the work to finally begin.

It has been a difficult start, but I am very grateful that my students have had this opportunity to be enrolled into Lynda.com. Maybe when they graduate, they may become hooked on them like I am.