There’s something to be said for attending the free workshops at Apple Stores

Don’t discount what you can learn about Apple programs from the store’s free workshops.

Although I have attended the Apple Store workshops in the Boise Town Square Mall in my hometown of Boise, Idaho, the presentation at the Apple Store in San Francisco seemed like more of an event.  If you are traveling this summer to a city with an Apple Store, consider stopping by when there’s a workshop to attend.

On my recent vacation to the City by the Bay, I sat in theatre style seating and listened to an iMovie tutorial by a guy who reminded me of Ben Stiller.  Not only was he funny and enthusiastic, but he went through the iMovie program step-by-step (one session was an introduction to the features of iMovie ’11 and the next was about basic video editing tips in iMovie ’11).

Although the Apple rep, a recent film school graduate, was honest about the extra bells and whistles of Final Cut Pro, he said iMovie is a great program to use until one reaches its limitations.   This confirmation is reassuring, since I train my journalism students with iMovie because it is included with the iMacs in my newspaper lab.

Had I thought about it sooner, I would have checked the schedule for other programs.  I caught an iPad for Education workshop, but missed ones I would have found time for, such as GarageBand and Keynote, because it didn’t occur to me to make the Apple Store one of my tourist stops from the beginning.

Although I’ve used Keynote fairly extensively now, I wouldn’t have minded sitting through a workshop to see if there was some nugget of gold that I’ve missed.  I created a final review with Keynote, and students were more successful on an exam I’ve given for years.  I think I feel more comfortable using images and audio in Keynote, and the review was much more captivating than ones I’ve used in the past (hence the better scores from my students).

If you’re a real heavyweight, then these workshops wouldn’t be useful for you.  But, if you’re a beginner and still incorporating all the things you need to give your students a digital journalism experience in your classroom, then some of these workshops offer just what you need to gain confidence and get started.




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