In this age of instant communication, the old paper newsletter that often ended up scrunched up at the bottom of the bag is a relic of the past.
Each week I send out a ‘warm fuzzy’ email where parents learn more about what’s going on in class as well as important dates coming up. As the drafter of the emails, I had several needs not being met by email
- No information on how many parents had read the email – Am I sending notices out into virtual void?
- No ability to add a large number of photos or video to the email.
- The emails didn’t look visually appealing – particularly if reading on a mobile device
Thinking from a parent’s perspective I knew that the parents wanted
- Visually appealing information – no large blocks of text
- Lots of photos
- The ability to access readable content on multiple devices
- A chance to show they’ve received the information without necessarily sending a reply
Enter Adobe Spark.
Adobe Spark is a free digital storytelling platform. Whether you’re viewing Adobe Spark Page on your phone on your computer, the results are beautifully designed and readable multi-media pages.
You can use Spark in a web-based browser or on iOS Apps. You do need a sign to access Adobe Spark, but you can use your Google Account. The bonus of the App feature is that you can create on the go, I often write my newsletters on the commute home from school. Being able to send out beautiful updates from school camp or out on field trips is another possibility.
What I love about Spark as a creator is the simplicity of the interface.
I use pages for my Newsletters.
You then build your content using a simple interface – the only things you must include is an image, headline, and sub heading.
The rest is up to you.
You can add text, links to videos, Photo Grids, a ‘Glide Show’ ( text is overlayed on a photo). Spark turns all your content into well-designed multimedia stories that you can then share via a link with your parents. Here’s an example of a recent newsletter from my class.
When you are finished hit the share button and you’ll get a notice like this.
You do need to select a category. Be careful to turn off the ‘get noticed’ if you don’t want your email to be promoted on the Adobe Site.
I then share the link out via email to my parents.
One of the great features of Spark is the ability of readers to acknowledge that they’ve read the newsletter through giving some love.
As a creator, I have access to the number of views and hearts each update received on the ‘My Projects’ page. This lets me know, at the very least, my messages are getting through but I also like seeing the hearts.
I could see Adobe Spark being used for digital storytelling. In particular, I think it could be a great platform for digital portfolios for learners which is something I may trail with the learners next year.