BUZZ: Georgia Tech, Udacity, and AT&T Launch MOOC to Earn Master’s Degree in Computer Science

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 3.06.20 PM

The Internet is abuzz with yesterday’s announcement of Georgia Tech, Udacity, and AT&T’s MOOC launch.

Here are the basics:

  • Georgia Tech will offer an Online Master of Science degree in computer science (OMS CS).
  • Course content will be delivered through Udacity’s platform.  Courses will appear for free on Udacity, but only Georgia Tech’s accepted students can receive credit.
  • Tuition is expected to be below $7000.
  • A pilot program supported by AT&T will begin in next academic year and limited to a few hundred students.

Now, the buzz:

Co-founder Sebastian Thrun, on Udacity’s blog, puts his pride into perspective:

“There are a few moments in my life I will never forget. Like the moment I proposed to my wife, Petra. Or the moment Stanley crossed the finish line in the DARPA Grand Challenge.”

Forbes describes the move as a “shock” to higher ed:

“This is the kind of disruption that the higher education industry has been expecting and experimenting with using massively open online courses (MOOCs) for free that do not lead to a degree. Georgia Tech and Udacity made a bold move with this announcement. They changed the game by offering a sought after graduate degree through online instruction for 80% less than what the existing classroom curriculum costs, and employers are waiting for such graduates with good paying jobs.”

Inside Higher Ed’s post, entitled “Massive (but not Open)”, highlights the 4 types of OMS student:

“The first of the four tracks will include traditional degree-seeking students who will be able to complete the 12-course master’s degree in roughly three years. Georgia Tech said it does not plan to lower admission standards to find 6,000 or so students for this track — a number than is 20 times larger than its current computer science master’s degree program. Instead, Georgia Tech hopes to attract more qualified applicants from across the world, including inside the military and at companies – places that harbor nontraditional students who could not previously come to a traditional campus or find the money for a full degree, on campus or online.

The second type of student will be ‘prospective degree-seeking’ students who will be admitted to the program tentatively because they will not have to take the GRE as other applicants do. If they do well in two core classes, Georgia Tech will put them on the degree track. The university expects to enroll 2,000 such students in the next three years. 

A third type of paying student will be students who can drop in to take several courses for a certificate short of a full master’s degree. Georgia Tech expects 2,000 such students.

The final type of students will resemble the students in a traditional MOOC and will be able to take the courses but will pay nothing or perhaps a small fee for a certificate of completion for a course. Tens of thousands of students would presumably sign up for these types of courses, an enrollment figure similar to existing MOOCs.”

TechCrunch has this to say:

“Again, while the idea itself isn’t new, and Udacity isn’t the first to partner with an elite graduate program to provide quality education and an actual, graduate-level degree to students online, the quality of the academic program (and presumably its content), its focus on Computer Science, combined with its relative affordability and the ability to receive credit and complete a full, graduate-level degree online, is absolutely huge.”

“If technology and online education are going to truly transform education, maintaining the status quo isn’t acceptable, especially if these automated courses replace or curb the need for real, live human teachers. So, not to be party pooper or anything, but while this program has significant implications, it’s still all about quality content/presentation, improving retention, outcomes and ye olde learning experience. Without that, scale and affordability don’t mean quite as much.”

EdSurge talks about AT&T’s statement of STEM support, saying:

“Although AT&T’s involvement seems limited to providing what the press release calls ‘generous’ support, AT&T’s chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson was unequivocable upbeat about the program in a statement:

‘We believe that high-quality and 100 percent online degrees can be on par with degrees received in traditional on-campus settings, and that this program could be a blueprint for helping the United States address the shortage of people with STEM degrees, as well as exponentially expand access to computer science education for students around the world.’

AT&T will have to live up to that declaration by offering the first grads jobs–but at least for now that’s in the future.”

And from the educator’s mouth, Robert Talbert on his blog on Chronicle of Higher Education:

“I think here in a nutshell is why so many educators are ambivalent about MOOCs. The way Thrun puts it here, getting a good education seems to mean sitting at the feet of ‘the best professors in the world’, by whom he means professors in ‘top–10’ programs — a designation largely determined by reputation, which is in turn driven by prestige and research output. That the quality of one’s education is determined in this way is highly debatable, first and foremost because the emphasis in this formulation of education is on the professor, not on the student. This is where a lot of things in education — online and otherwise — start to go wrong.

Most of us in education also realize the fact that a good education consists not in being around smart people but in doing interesting and useful things. And in that sense a ‘top–10’ university actually might be a terrible place to get a good education. Much better would be a CS department where professors know and interact with their students and where the curriculum is structured to provide lots of hands-on work to give students transferable, useful experiences both on the theory side of CS and on the application side. Thrun writes that the tuition cost for the credit-bearing version of the Master’s degree will be for ‘support services’. At my university that’s called ‘teaching’.”

Education blogger Audrey Watters tests AT&T on Twitter, saying:

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This is just the beginning of the buzz – there is certainly more to come the education technology blogosphere processes and ruminates on the groundbreaking announcement.

Read the original press release on on CNBC via PRNewswire.

Building DBQ Skills in the Digital Age

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

Letter from Joseph H. Adams to Alexander Graham Bell, February 2, 1875

Letter from Joseph H. Adams to Alexander Graham Bell, February 2, 1875

What the DBQ is a DBQ?  The acronym DBQ stands for document-based question, a question type that appears on the U.S. History Advanced Placement exam taken by approximately 400,000 high school students every spring.  Essentially, a DBQ requires students to analyze roughly ten primary sources—artifacts, documents, recordings, or other original material—and then create and defend a thesis in a 45-minute time frame.

Jay Mathews featured the DBQ last week in his column for the Washington Post, interviewing AP teachers and AP administrators about the merits of DBQs and their role as a college-readiness task.

While the time constraint of the DBQ on the AP exam is a little artificial, the ability of students to analyze and interpret primary sources remains a relevant and necessary skill that is demanded in college courses.

Prior to the digital age, teachers would assemble “jackdaw kits” as a way to introduce primary source documents into the classroom.  A kit would contain a collection of primary sources related to a particular topic, and students would be asked to interpret and create a project from the materials in these kits.

History, like many other disciplines, has benefited greatly from digital distribution and discovery. Primary source documents are more available and accessible than ever before, through the National Archives, Library of Congress, and other online sources.  This is great news for instructors and students, and offers countless new opportunities for the study of history.

PrimaryAccess-logoI had the opportunity to speak to Bill Ferster, director of the PrimaryAccess initiative at the Curry School of Education at University of Virginia.  PrimaryAccess MovieMaker is a web-based tool that gives students an opportunity to narrate in Ken Burns’ style pan-and-zoom movies using artifacts collected by their teachers.  By having students write a script, the process incorporates a writing task to create a thesis and complement the images.

Ferster says that the tool makes history come alive, and that “it’s not just telling a story about something, it’s [the student] looking at an artifact and making sense of it.  It encourages historical thinking and valuable perspective skills.”

Other tools that were developed as a satellite of the MovieMaker include PrimaryAccess Storyboard and PrimaryAccess Rebus.  These satellite activities are designed to take less classroom time than creating a full movie.  The TeacherTools allows teachers to curate the primary sources that will be used in the movie, much like a digital jackdaw kit.

Ferster says that there are almost 25,000 primary source documents in the database, all added by teachers.  It’s a crowdsourced repository for artifacts, curated by those who actually make use of the content. The database is also seeded with documents from the Virginia Center for Digital History—an early pioneer in digital primary source storytelling.  All artifacts are annotated by teachers, and tagged with metadata such as eras and sub eras.

PrimaryAccess’ suite of tools allow teachers to build the skill of primary source analysis earlier in students’ education, and not necessarily wait until the AP U.S. History class DBQ format to learn how to create and defend a thesis.

Currently, Ferster is working on new tools for academics in which to better visualize data in order to create their own artifacts through the University of Virginia’s Sciences, Humanities & Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI).   Ferster gives a peek at the future of digital, saying that “people used to have to go through trouble to digitize older things, but now with things born digital, primary sources are now digital sources.”

Ten Ed Tech Tools of the 70s, 80s and 90s

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

kidslaptopOver at eSchoolNews, they are taking us on a trip down memory lane with these tools that were considered “ed tech” when we were back in school.

Remember these?

  1. Overhead projectors (early 1960s):
  2. Cassette recorders (early ‘70s-late ‘90s):
  3. Floppy disks (Mid ‘70s-early 2000s):
  4. Oregon Trail (V.1- ’74):
  5. Lemonade Stand (V.1- ’79):
  6. Dry-erase boards (Made in the mid-‘70s and popularized in classrooms in the ‘90s):
  7. Reader Rabbit (V.1- ’86):
  8. TI-80 graphing calculator (’95):
  9. Tamagotchi (’96), Giga Pet (’97), and Nano Pet (’97)
  10.  Alta Vista (’98) and Ask Jeeves (’99)

Personally, I think that filmstrips are missing from this list, falling somewhere between that cassette recorder and floppy disks, and full of that “boop-y” goodness that would signal when it was time to turn to the next frame.  Also, never forget the Laserdisk era – best science class movies ever.

Check out the full list with pictures over at eSchool News.

Eighth-Grader to Common Core Test: Stop the Product Placement!

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

Taking a TestThe Washington Post ran a piece by 8th-grader Isaiah Schrader, in which he discusses what bothered him most about the Pearson provided Common Core-aligned tests that he and other New York state students just took: excessive product placement.

Brands that could be found within the passages in the test included Mug™ Root Beer, IBM™, Lego®, FIFA® and Mindstorms™, each accompanied by a footnote informing test-takers of the respective companies that had registered each trademark.

Schrader interviewed the New York State Department of Education, who claimed no one was paid for these product placements and that the brand names occurring within the texts were “incidental and were cited according to publishing conventions.”

He also spoke to Barbara Kolson, an intellectual property lawyer for Stuart Weitzman Shoes, who said, “The fact that the brands did not pay Pearson for the ‘product placement’ does not mean that the use is not product placement.”

Schrader goes on to discuss the following concerns regarding this product placement:

  • The effects of advertising on children
  • Pearson, the world’s largest for-profit education business, including gratuitous references to trademarked products in its tests.
  • New York State permitting these tests to create a captive market for products that are also debatably appropriate for children and the role that New York State taxpayers have.
  • The students’ requirement to being subjected them to hidden advertising through required standardized testing.

After discussing other factors unrelated to the product placement issue, Schrader concludes that “Taken together, the subjective and even nonsensical nature of questions and answers, product placement, and more time-consuming test format made the state assessments the most frustrating and unpleasant standardized test I have ever taken.”

Anyone who’s ever been a teacher should know that students will see through inauthenticity.  Bravo to 14-year old Isaiah Schrader for his eloquence and attentiveness.

Read Schrader’s full article as well as a response from test-maker Pearson at the original article on the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/08/eighth-grader-what-bothered-me-most-about-new-common-core-test/

Exo Labs Launches Kickstarter to Get Microscope Cameras to Classrooms

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

Exo_iPad

Drosophila head with annotations and measurements, taken with Focus Microscope Camera™ and displayed on Focus App

Last month, EdTech Times introduced Exo Labs’ iPad-connected Focus Microscope Camera.  Today, Exo Labs has launched a Kickstarter effort, with the goal of raising $29,000 in order to get their new Focus Microscope Camera into classrooms.

The funding will enable Exo Labs to place 40 Focus Cameras in classrooms at no cost to the schools.  In exchange, Exo Labs will get valuable feedback on performance and usability, as well as guidance on the types of features and functionality that would be most useful for their customers.

With US students falling behind in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Exo Labs hopes backers will see the Focus Camera as a the right technology at the right time.  The Focus Camera sits at the intersection of STEM and iPad adoption by offering a solution for teachers looking for new and exciting ways to engage and inspire students.   It breathes new life into the compound and stereo microscopes that schools already own, and can dramatically improve the learning experience. Now students can collaborate and share images and use these powerful features to explore the unseen world.  Teachers are better able to convey information and confirm students aren’t confusing an eyelash for a nematode.

We had the chance to speak with co-founder and CTO Jeff Stewart to ask him how Exo Labs’ first product got its start.  He describes the microscopy experience as essentially being the same since 1600s, and yet teachers are still finding the kids spending hours looking at air bubbles.  “The Focus Microscope Camera’s direct connection to the iPad allows for a very collaborative and cooperative experience that is all about sharing,” says Stewart.  “The goal is to ‘ignite curiosity’ in the next generation of scientists.”

Stewart recalled a recent interaction with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center‘s Science Education Partnership.  One researcher took the Focus Camera to her private lab and used it on their expensive fluoroscopy microscope.  To her surprise, she was able to get images from the Focus that were nearly comparable to their high-end imaging tool, with much greater convenience.

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The Focus Microscope Camera™ from Exo Labs links any microscope to an iPad

“What we’re finding is that our intial target in education is seeping into research,” said Stewart.  “Just think, the same product for 7th grade scientists can be used in a top research lab, like a stack, a progression. If you get them into science early, they may eventually be a researcher.  But the key is engaging kids.  You don’t have to be a scientist to think like one, and if we can help drive that lesson home — the value and discipline of a scientific approach can be applied by students in a wide variety of situations and careers, then we’re helping kids win.  And that’s exciting.”

“We can’t wait to see what students will do with these cameras,” said Stewart.  “We got a great reception at the recent NSTA show in San Antonio, and heard a lot of enthusiasm from key stakeholders. We’ve been doing a lot of listening in our development process and we see our Kickstarter effort as a way to further extend that by working closely with schools interested in driving STEM education forward.  We want their input to steer us in the direction that will help us inspire students.”

The Kickstarter initiative hopes to grant cameras out into schools that have a high mix of low-income students.  Stewart hopes that this will also help teachers out with “the E part of STEM,” and that Exo Labs can help share their engineering process with students.  “By having a dialog with the classroom about our product development – we can help model a relationship for organizations to get involved in classrooms,” says Stewart.  “We do [the engineering process] like we breathe, but it is a process that can be taught and learned.”

Find Exo Labs’ Kickstarter at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/exolabs/the-focus-microscope-camera

UPenn Penning Conflict of Interest Guidelines

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

Inside Higher Ed brings us a new wrinkle in the discussion about professors and MOOCS: The University of Pennsylvania is working on new guidelines to dissuade their professors from working with the competition – outside vendors of online courses.

The university publicly released new guidelines Tuesday that illustrate how its existing conflict of interest policy applies to this situation, saying that outside ventures “may create the potential for conflicts of interest that did not arise in the past,” due to Penn’s expansion into its own online offerings.  A strongly-worded bullet point reminds faculty that their “primary professional obligation is to the University. This includes both a primary commitment of time and effort to University activities and a commitment not to compete with the University without advance permission.”

IHE spoke with Edward Rock, a senior advisor to Penn’s president and provost and the university’s director of open course initiatives, who said Penn was thinking ahead and not reacting to a particular incident.  Penn says professors who want to teach online courses or freelance their talents should first explain why they can’t do so through Penn’s existing online opportunities both within the university and through Coursera.

Universities are looking to protect their unique brand – the faculty members they have hired to provide educational experiences.  Professors are wondering whether their personal brand belongs to their universities or to themselves.

Read the full article on Inside Higher Ed.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s Commencement Speech

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

twitter-bird-white-on-blueTwitter CEO Dick Costolo’s commencement speech at the University of Michigan this past weekend is catching the eye of the entrepreneurship news-verse, appearing on AVCBusiness Insider, Mashable, Upstart, and even as a business management lesson on Cengage.

Not only is Costolo engaging and personable, but the speech is filled with gems of insight that link his improv comedy roots to the unscripted-ness of startup, education, and every day life.  How often do we plan for specific impact of our lessons or our products, only to find true impact as a result of factors outside your control?

He offers two closing pieces of sage advice for us all (in which quotations do Costolo’s humor no justice):

  • Be bold.  Make courageous choices…what are you afraid of?
  • Don’t always worry about what your next line is supposed to be.  There is no script.

Watch his speech here:

 

TechCrunch + Udemy = CrunchU

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

CrunchU - Course Listing Page

CrunchU – Course Listing Page

TechCrunch, the site for startup news, is breaking through the proverbial 4th wall and getting into the start-up business.

TechCrunch is partnering with online learning marketplace Udemy to offer readers self-directed, TechCrunch-curated courses featuring business luminaries and grey beards such as Eric Ries, Dave McClure and Jack Welch.  Ned Desmond, COO at TechCrunch says: “CrunchU offers tech-driven learners around the world an exciting opportunity to learn from some of the greatest minds in today’s tech and startup world.”

CrunchU will couple its big-vision course offerings with practical next-step courses such as  “Creating Responsive Web Design” and “Sales and Persuasion Skills for Startups” to “Android Apps in 1 Hour: No Coding Required ” and “Raising Money for Startups

When asked about the unusual alliance between a news outlet and a MOOC, Dinesh Thiru, VP of Marketing at Udemy noted that TechCrunch readers are particularly driven by the need to reinvent themselves:  “The world is changing for the busy professional and it’s changing really dramatically. Now more than ever, entrepreneurs need to keep improving their skillset, and have to keep learning throughout entire life…to stay relevant, get promoted make a career change, start a business.   TechCrunch has been at the forefront of informing and equipping the world.  This is an amazing yet natural extension in their ability to deliver a ton of value to their audience.”

Thiru believes that CrunchU targets are, by definition, TechCrunch readers and Disrupt attendees or followers whose natural inclination toward growth hacking makes the news outlet’s partnership with Udemy a natural fit, and that TechCrunch’s expansion beyond news to include other start-up related content serves its readers well.

“Maybe they’re working for Google or Facebook as engineers, marketers or operations talent, and they want to know what their next skillsets should be.  What should they be learning about, and from whom?  Together, Udemy and TechCrunch intend to answer the question with mobile courseware, which may be the only way many of their targets can find the time to get and stay current.”

Udemy and TechCrunch are natural partners for the company they keep:  both have access to movers and shakers in the start-up and global business worlds, and will translate that access into courseware and strategic counsel.  The TechCrunch and Udemy teams will work together closely on identifying and addressing trending issues and needs.

Thiru declined to offer a projected uptake for the first year, and said that TechCrunch and Udemy’s initial focus was courseware quality.  He did share that course costs probably won’t break the backpack: sign-up is free and most courses will retail between $19 – $99. A full list of courses is available at www.crunchu.udemy.com, and users can enroll by visiting CrunchU‘s site or  or TechCrunch.



Sheri Cheng can be reached at sheri@edtechtimes.com.  Maureen MacGregor also contributed to this article.

Boston, Chicago Public Schools Pick BoomWriter

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

boomwriter-logo

The Boston Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools, are adopting an innovative content creation, collaboration and delivery platform from BoomWriter Media, Inc. – with a little help from  Chicago-based CareerBuilder, who’s stepping up to sponsor their home town’s district.

Together, the two adoptions will give more than 250,000 Chicago and Boston students in grades 3-12 the opportunity to use the award-winning digital education platform in their schools.

Founder and CEO Chris Twyman says that BoomWriter re-imagines the group approach to creative writing by asking, “what if we could bring together kids in a really engaging manner to write stories in a collaborative but competitive way?”

The BoomWriter platform brings together published children’s authors and celebrities to write the initial chapter of a children’s book.  Students write the next 500 to 800-word chapter of the book, which is then subject to an anonymized voting process.  The “winner” of the voting process becomes the author of Chapter 2 and this process continues until the story is finished.  The process is free for teachers and students to participate in, and at the completion of the book, hard copies are available for purchase. This gives students ‘bragging rights’ as a published editor or author, lets teachers integrate the book creation into their curriculum, and provides parents with a memorable proof point of their child’s creativity and academic achievement.

This process broadens BoomWriter’s place as a literacy platform for reading as well as writing –  students engage with one-another and their teacher, continually referring and responding to the winning chapter in order to vote on and contribute to future chapters.   Despite initial concern about whether declaring a winner would decrease student engagement, the competition aspect of the BoomWriter platform has had the opposite effect – students tend to increase site time and frequency of sign-in as the book moves along.  In fact, almost 100,000 chapters have been written on the platform.  Remarkably, no student has won more than twice.

Since the launch of the production version almost 18 months ago, students have finished over 1000 books at 4000 schools in 82 countries, with books being published in multiple languages.

On BoomWriter’s success, Twyman cites the importance of the efficacy of the product, saying that initial efficacy testing has focus groups rating the finished books at “one to two grades higher than their expected grade level.”

BoomWriter gives students their own avatars to customize, called "boomers."

BoomWriter gives students their own avatars to customize, called “boomers.”

The Technology Heroes initiative seeks to bring the BoomWriter platform to inner city districts in need of resources.  After the writing process is complete, students emerge from the BoomWriter Technology Heroes Program as published writers and editors of professionally printed works, and will receive their books for free.  Teachers in participating districts are trained on the BoomWriter platform by experiencing the process from the kids’ perspective.  Twyman says that the teachers really get into the competitive collaboration, even spending 20 minutes decorating avatars called “boomers” to represent themselves.

In addition to the platform, BoomWriter donates a mobile technology lab into the district to help accelerate technology use.  BoomWriter hopes their work with Technology Heroes districts will help to test and refine BoomWriter’s own processes and gauge the efficacy and stickiness of the technology.

BoomWriter has also recently announced a partnership with Boston-based WGBH for a virtual online summer camp for students.  With a story lead by Jeff Kinney, author of the Wimpy Kid book series, students will participate in daily writing and voting sessions to complete a collaborative book with camp-mates within a week. The Storytellers Camp is a great option for that ‘too old for day camp, too young for work’ demographic, and helps stop learn-loss… that vacation academic back-slide that students are vulnerable to.  Other BoomWriter based projects are in the works for increased mobile access, expansion of the product to younger age groups, and even different media for collaborative creativity.

Lisa Perez, Network Library Coordinator for the Chicago Public Schools Department of Educational Tools & Technology, notes: “The BoomWriter program motivates students. We expect a great deal of excitement as they see their words in print.” Brian Donahue, vice president of sales strategy of CareerBuilder, program underwriters for the Chicago Public School District, adds: “BoomWriter helps young people develop their writing skills for a rapidly changing, technology driven world. This program is a great way to invest in our community and future workforce.”

Melissa Dodd, Chief Information Officer of the Boston Public Schools, comments: “This is an exciting partnership that not only enables educational innovation in the 21st century, but aligns with the district’s goal to prepare our students for college and career success.”

The BoomWriter content creation, delivery and collaboration platform is intuitive and easy to adopt in-class. Twyman summarizes: “Online collaboration and education are increasingly intuitive for students. The BoomWriter platform is designed specifically to leverage this ‘Digital DNA.’  Also, we’re especially pleased by CareerBuilder’s outstanding commitment to educational innovation and excellence in its hometown, Chicago.”  

BoomWriter adheres to Common Core State Standards and can support district compliance benchmarks as the initiative rolls out. Three school districts and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston now participate in the BoomWriter Technology Heroes Program. Additional information is available at: http://www.boomwriter.com/Home/TechnologyHeroes

Adobe to Stop Selling Packaged Software, Moves to Cloud

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

Adobe_Creative_Cloud_logotype_with_icon_RGB_vertical

Today, at Adobe MAX, The Creativity Conference, Adobe announced a significant update to Adobe® Creative Cloud™, the company’s flagship offering for creatives. Available in June, Creative Cloud is a set of “CC” desktop applications that will replace the traditional Adobe Creative Suite 6 packaged software offering. This update to Creative Cloud includes the next generation of Adobe desktop applications — including Adobe Photoshop CCInDesign® CCIllustrator® CC,Dreamweaver® CC and Premiere® Pro CC.  Creative files can be stored, synced and shared, via Creative Cloud, on Mac OS, Windows, iOS and Android.

Creative Cloud allows users to stay connected with workgroups and the creative community via their desktop, website, or mobile device syncing ideas, files, fonts, settings, notifications, and team members. Group folders allow teams to work collaboratively, and track updates and comments to shared files.  Edits are stored with version history and individual members receive 20GB of storage.

Having had a chance to speak with Adobe prior to the MAX event, Jeff Dunn of Edudemic releases an article about some of the Creative Cloud applications’ cool new features.  Here are some features from popular applications Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

  • PHOTOSHOP CC: Camera Shake Reduction- Save blurry camera shots with trajectory analysis to restore sharpness.
  • PHOTOSHOP CC: Smart Sharpen – analyzes images to maximize clarity and minimize noise and halos, fine-tunes for high-quality, natural-looking results
  • PHOTOSHOP CC: Intelligent upsampling – Enlarge a low-res image for print, or turn a larger image into poster or billboard size, all while preserving detail and sharpness and without introducing noise.
  • INDESIGN CC: Faster performance – Under-the-hood improvements throughout InDesign, native 64-bit support speed up work in InDesign.
  • INDESIGN CC: Modern UI – InDesign’s updated user interface is consistent with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and now includes brightness control.
  • ILLUSTRATOR CC: NEW Sync Fonts – Sync Fonts – part of Creative Cloud – will allow you to search the growing library of Adobe Typekit fonts, sync it to your system, and have it immediately available for use.
  • ILLUSTRATOR CC: Touch Type tool – Characters can now be moved, scaled, and rotated like individual objects.
  • ILLUSTRATOR CC: Images in brushes – Paint with a brush made from a photo. Art, Pattern, and Scatter brushes can contain raster images, so you can create complex organic designs quickly – with simple brush strokes. As with all Illustrator brushes, your strokes can be reshaped and modified at will.
  • ILLUSTRATOR CC: Multiple-file place – Import multiple files into your Illustrator layout at the same time, define the location and scale of your files – images, graphics, and text – and use new thumbnail views to see where each file will go and how big it will be.

This major update to Creative Cloud is available in June. Creative Cloud membership for individuals is US$49.99 per month based on annual membership; existing customers who own CS3 to CS5.5 get their first year of Creative Cloud at the discounted rate of US $29.99 per month. Students and teachers can get Creative Cloud for $29.99 per month. Promotional pricing is available for some customers, including CS6 users.

A team version of Creative Cloud includes everything individual members receive plus 100GB of storage and centralized deployment and administration capabilities. Creative Cloud for teams is priced at US $69.99 per month per seat. Existing customers, who own a volume license of CS3 or later, get their first year of Creative Cloud for teams at the discounted rate of US $39.99 per month per seat if they sign up before the end of August 2013.

Adobe also announced Creative Cloud for enterprise today and special licensing programs for educational institutions and government. For more details, visit: https://creative.adobe.com/plans.

Read the full release from Adobe.

Read the article from Edudemic.