How I Use It
Adobe Spark is the ideal creation tool for teachers lacking the design gene. While I love Canva and the design tutorials that site provides, Adobe Slate's variety of projects (Post, Page, and Video) expands the possibilities. Teachers can model what is means to be a Creative Communicator (ISTE Standard 6 for Students, 2016) by creating graphics that serve as attention getters, designing a dynamic page for the class syllabus or as a template for an assignment such as a lab report, or creating a self-directed learning video for students, etc.
Adobe Spark provides a free, professional quality creation tool from a company that has a long history of serving as an educational product. While many promote Adobe Spark as a tool for K-12, the functionality of the different formats should be considered. Posts are really limited to those 13 and above when you consider the social media integration. Creating a Page requires higher literacy skills, which doesn't lend itself to primary age students. Page is ideal as a micro-blogging platform for grades 6-12 and can be used as a project portfolio with elementary students. Video is suitable for all ages and the sharing options allow teachers to create galleries using embed code. Projects can also be downloaded as JPG or MP4 files.
Another ISTE Standard for Students can be addressed with student use of Adobe Spark. By including photo credits and using free public domain images, teachers can make students aware of Standard 2, Digital Citizenship, and indicator C related to copyright and fair use. Adobe Spark provides a robust library of free icons and graphics. (A cautionary note is that you can not disable public image search within the tool.)
A final lesson learned: When transitioning from teacher use of the tool to student use of the tool, it is important to discuss sharing settings with students. Personal identifiable information can be withheld if you choose to have your students publish publically. Work can remain private.
Like so many tools available to us as educators, Adobe Spark may seem a bit daunting the first time you use it. Once you select the type of project you want to create (Post, Page, or Video), you are directed to a template that will guide you in creating the product. You will find prompts to guide your text and dozens of suggested themes. If you are like me, you may spend a little extra time clicking through options and playing with design. On the other hand, our students will appreciate being able to clear the slate and start with an empty canvas that they can personalize.
Since most of the schools I work with are Google Apps for Education, students and teachers can get started by logging in with their GAFE account. If your school is using the Adobe Suite and students have existing accounts, those can be used instead. Since Adobe Spark is on the cloud, the one login works across all devices and browsers. In schools without 1:1, this means students aren't tethered to the computer lab.
One of the biggest advantages of Adobe Spark is that is compatible with most devices including Chromebooks (love BYOD-friendly tools). The only conflict is that it is not currently in the Google Apps Store (sorry Android phone/tablet users). iOS users can download the suite of apps (Post, Page, and Video).
To answer all your user start-up questions, check out the Guide for Educators and Schools: