Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 targets 21st-century skills

Adobe's latest release targets digital learners.
Adobe's latest release targets digital learners.

Adobe Systems Inc. has updated its multimedia design and publishing software with the April 12 release of Creative Suite 5 (CS5), which contains new curricula, a certification program, and learning resources to better train students and faculty in the digital communication and collaboration skills that are increasingly important in a global marketplace.

Adobe has developed three different CS5 curricula designed to help teachers implement design, web, and video programs. These curricula focus on the technical skills and design theory students need to be successful communicators in their fields: (1) Digital Design: Foundations of Web Design; (2) Visual Design: Foundations of Design and Print Production; and (3) Digital Video: Foundations of Video Design and Production. The year-long curriculum guides will be available free of charge from Adobe and will align with the International Society for Technology in Education’s National Education Technology Standards (NETS) for Students.

Educators and students can become certified for both entry-level skills as an Adobe Certified Associate and professional-level skills as an Adobe Certified Expert. Developed and deployed by Certiport and Adobe, these certifications validate a broad range of technical and communication skills when entering post-secondary schools or the workforce.

Adobe also will offer online training in the CS5 applications from Total Training and on-site, instructor-led workshops through Knowledge Network Solutions.

“Being able to creatively express an idea using compelling facts and visuals is imperative in any profession. This process involves technology literacy, creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration skills,” said Peter Isaacson, vice president of worldwide education for Adobe. “With the launch of Creative Suite 5, we’re giving institutions, students, and faculty the ability to learn these skills and use the tools wherever they are—in the classroom, at home, or online.”

Today’s students produce as much digital media as they consume, Adobe says. Creating and sharing ideas, photos, and videos on social networks and personal blogs are part of their daily lives. It’s how they communicate socially, and they want to incorporate these elements into their school work.

Many educators recognize that one way to attract students’ attention is to reach them through the use of such digital media and social networking tools.

“Adobe solutions are a critical part of the digital media platform for Lee County schools and are integral to our technical certification programs,” said Jana Hambruch, project director of technical, career, and adult education for Lee County Public Schools in Florida.

“Using Adobe software, students are graduating with the competitive skills required in today’s workplace. Certification programs combined with industry-leading software like Adobe Creative Suite 5 will continue to better engage students in learning to achieve higher grades and standardized test scores.”

Overall, the latest update to Adobe’s Creative Suite aims to make it easier for users to include interactive elements in their designs. A new tool called Flash Catalyst, for example, lets traditional designers create interactive web content without knowing how to code software. It uses drop-down menus that can turn boxes on a screen into buttons, for instance.

“It can take traditional print designers and help them get into interactivity,” said Chris Kitchener, a senior product manager at Adobe.

This is also the first time Creative Suite includes services from Omniture, a company Adobe bought last fall for $1.8 billion. Omniture’s technology helps companies measure the ways people interact with web sites, ads, and online applications.

CS5 includes an upgrade of the Photoshop software that makes it easier to detect the borders of images within a photograph, among other new features. This could come in handy when trying to delete or move an image of a person from a photograph. Typically, detecting just where a person’s hair strands end and the background begins is a painstaking process.

In a challenge for Adobe, the launch of CS5 comes just a few days after Apple Inc. updated the contract it has software developers sign, effectively preventing them from importing Flash applications to the iPhone and other devices.

Adobe’s Flash, the format that many web videos, games, and interactive graphics are created in, does not work on the iPhone or the iPad. Adobe has tried to work around this by giving developers a tool to translate Flash applications for the iPhone. Now, Apple says in its updated contract that developers must use Apple’s own tools if they want to create apps for its gadgets.

In an April 9 statement, Adobe said it was “looking into” Apple’s new language and that it will continue to develop its app-generating technology and include it in CS5.

CS5 will cost between $1,299 and $2,599, but Adobe offers flexible volume licensing programs and low pricing for the education market. The new CS5 Student and Teacher Editions for individual home-use are expected to start at $299. It will ship in the next 30 days and will be available in “major languages,” which in the past has meant English, French, German, and Japanese, by June 4—the end of Adobe’s fiscal second quarter.



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