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Fifth-Grade Teacher Gets Two A's — From Apple and Adobe

Nicole Dalesio, a fifth-grade teacher at Fairlands Elementary, recently received awards from two major technology companies for innovatively integrating their products into her classroom.

When it comes to teaching students about digital arts and multimedia, Nicole Dalesio, a fifth-grade teacher at says the younger the better.

“You can’t go with the old-fashioned model of education where students just regurgitate an answer,” Dalesio said. “They have to be creative and innovative thinkers.”

It was her innovative method of merging technology and education through online videos and a screencast tutorial series that earned her two national awards.

Most recently, she was named a 2011 Apple Distinguished Educator. Thousands applied and she was one of 75 educators nationwide to receive the tech-ed award.

Since 1994, the Apple Distinguished Educator program has been recognizing educators who use Apple products to transform teaching and learning in and out of their classrooms. The network of award-winners collaborate online and in person to find technological solutions to global education challenges.

“It’s an awesome opportunity to network with other Apple Distinguished Educators around the country and around the world,” Dalesio said.

A few weeks prior to winning the award, Dalesio was named a 2011 Adobe Education Leader. This quarterly award recognizes educators for significant contributions to their community and to the company by using the products Adobe provides.  

From Photoshop to Final Cut Pro, she uses Adobe programs to create her screencast tutorial series, "Photoshop for Kids." Teachers from all seven continents have viewed and used her tutorials in their classrooms.

“It’s a huge honor, and it gives me the opportunity to increase the impact of my teaching while learning more at the same time,” Dalesio said. “Instead of being limited to the walls of my classroom and my students, I’m teaching teachers who will be able to teach their kids, who may go home and teach their parents.”

Along with the 74 other distinguished educators, Dalesio is invited to share her technological expertise at Adobe workshops, seminars and conferences. She already has a strong following— more than 750 teachers are expected to attend the webinar she’ll be hosting Thursday on her “Photoshop for Kids” screencast tutorials.

Dalesio says she enjoys being part of this domino effect of teaching and learning but helping build her students’ self-esteem is what motivates her most in continuing to create the tutorials. It takes her eight to 10 hours to complete a five-minute video.

“I think it’s giving them a lot of valuable skills that many grownups don’t have,” she said. “Sometimes kids aren’t taken seriously, and these skills empower them to better communicate their ideas in order to be heard.”

 Dalesio acknowledges that even though she's a teacher, she still is learning—especially from her  students.

“Sometimes I let the kids take the lead to explore certain programs and often times they end up teaching me something new,” she says. “They’re not difficult to teach because they’re not afraid to try new things when it comes to technology.”

Dalesio is the only teacher at Fairlands who uses her own technical tutorials in the classroom. She continues to promote combining creativity and technology at Fairlands to set students up for a “21st century future.”

“The world is changing so quickly that you now have to learn how to adapt even more quickly,” she says.

To view Dalesio's "Photoshop for Kids" screencast tutorials, click here.

For more information on the Adobe webinar she'll be hosting Thursday, click here.

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