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Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2015

Adobe Slate

Build and share slick presentations with photos from around the Web

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity

Subjects
  • Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (3 Reviews)

Take a look inside

5 images

Pros: Straightforward interface and nice search experience make it easy to create attractive, engaging presentations.

Cons: A little more in-app guidance would help users better understand the features.

Bottom Line: A highly visual tool available on iOS and the Web; while it has a limited overall feature set, the ability to search and add Creative Commons images is great.

For students who might already have an Adobe ID, it easy to log in to Slate, but it's also simple to create a brand-new account just to use this app. Use this app as a presentation tool for more image-heavy projects that will require students to thoughtfully order imagery to tell a story. Or have students with an all-text story use the search features to find appealing images to illustrate it. Consider sharing presentations with the class by projecting an iPad on a projector in your classroom or viewing a presentation from the Web.

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Editor's Note: Adobe Slate is now part of Adobe Spark.

Adobe Slate is a visual presentation and storytelling tool for the Web and iOS. First, create a free Adobe ID, then log in to start creating a "visual story" or presentation featuring text, images, and links. Users can import images from their device's camera roll, Dropbox, or Lightroom, or they can take a picture on the spot. Meanwhile, users can also search the Adobe Creative Cloud to add Creative Commons-licensed images to a presentation. There's a choice of themes (with names such as "Vintage" and "Whimsy") that customize the presentation's font, borders, and filters. Once finished, users can share presentations to the Web (publicly or privately) or via email, social media, or SMS.

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Adobe Slate is a simple, super-fast way to make a visually appealing presentation. There aren't a ton of features (yet), so it's not likely to be your go-to tool for creating in-class presentations. The standout, though, is the ability to search Creative Commons images. Not everyone is a gifted photographer, and it can be nice to have so many high-quality photos to choose from to illustrate a story. It's also nice that there are so many ways to share your presentation -- it's great that you can save it to the Web and save it locally to an iPad. It's also nice that you can save to the Web both publicly and privately, so students can back up their work without sharing it widely.

Some more structured demo help within the app would help. As it is, it's not always clear what all the functions do, and it takes some exploring to sort out which button does what. A walkthrough upon first launch would be a welcome addition. It would also be nice if users had to opt in rather than opt out of data collection on usage. Overall, though, this is a cool tool for digital storytelling, and it's free, so it's certainly worth a look.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Kids can add text, search Creative Commons-licensed images, or add their own photos to create slick, shareable presentations.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids won't learn anything in particular, but this could be a great storytelling or presentation tool for your students if you offer them some structure and guidance.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Example projects give users a sense of what's possible, but you have to search a bit to get insights on how features work and what they're called within the app. A starting walkthrough would be a welcome addition.


Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews)
Featured review by
Samantha E. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Antelope Valley Adventist School
Lancaster, CA
Simple, Intuitive, and Shareable Presentation Design Tool

Since students can create several Spark pages by the end of a year, it is a great way to showcase a student portfolio. Unlike with PowerPoint, students have the ability to easily and immediately share presentations via Social Media, e-mail, and more, which gets them engaged faster. This also aids in the grading process!...no more downloading projects, just click each link.

Which brings me to a constructive criticism, it would be great if Spark allowed for following other users (such as your students) or the creation of "groups" where a teacher could essentially create a classroom and invite students to join. Also, from an art teacher and graphic designer's perspective it would be nice to have more creative reign over fonts, layout, objects/elements, etc.

spark.adobe.com/page/Kx5V4sFll0ZFI

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