TX. Photoshop

In today’s technological world, you’d be hard-pressed to find a teenager who’s never used Photoshop. You’d be even harder-pressed to find a teenager who’s never heard of Photoshop.

This single program has become so ubiquitous that it’s frequently used as its own verb to describe any sort of photo editing, regardless of whether it was done with Photoshop or not — sort of like how you may “Google” things using Yahoo. (Who even uses Yahoo though, anyway? Nobody under the age of 35, that’s for sure.)

You may be wondering, where in the world is this article going? Am I going to praise the merits of Photoshop and encourage you all to go out and create your own fake realities today?

Actually, no. I’m here to tell you that if you are currently a teacher or a student in grades 7-12 in the state of Utah, you can get Photoshop completely free. And that’s not all! Enroll in a Utah school today and we’ll throw in over 20 other Adobe apps, also free of charge.

Start classes today! Possible side effects include increased creativity, greater access to professional tools, higher levels of excitement about learning, and even a desire to do homework.

Movie-quality tools

Some of you may be thinking, is this really true? How have I not heard of this? What’s the catch?

Those were the same questions I had when I heard about Create UT, the new partnership program between the Utah Education Network and Adobe. The partnership started just this year.

Under the agreement, students in Utah can create an Adobe account using their school district email and then download all of the Adobe Creative Suite applications. These include, among more than 20 others, Photoshop, Portfolio (a digital portfolio website creator), Illustrator (creates digital media), InCopy (writing and editing software), Dreamweaver (app and website creator) and Premiere Pro (video editing).

The software being offered to Utah students and staff isn’t just any software, though. The same Adobe programs used to create movie sensation ”Deadpool” are the same Adobe programs a Utah seventh grader can download onto her laptop for free.

To give you a little perspective, if we had to pay for Adobe’s entire Creative Suite, it would cost $636 a year. For a family of four kids to use it for six years, it would cost over $15,000. And we get it for free!

The whole point behind Create UT is to promote technological and creative learning in schools. Instead of writing an essay in English, for example, why not create a fictional portfolio for one of the characters in the book using Adobe’s apps? Instead of listing facts from a Civil War battle for your history class, why not reenact the conflict and film it using Adobe’s Premiere Pro?

The whole idea behind the partnership is to get kids engaged in new ways, to allow them to use their creativity far more than has previously been possible in traditional public schools. That’s what the state school board wants and that’s what Adobe wants, and so now we have Create UT.

Undiscovered ‘secret’

The biggest problem with the program, though, is that hardly anyone knows about it — hence this article. When I found out about Create UT a few weeks ago, it had already been in place for months.

In my school and many others, only the digital media classes are told about the free apps at their disposal, and even then, many students in those sorts of classes are left in the dark. We’ve all been handed thousands of dollars’ worth of professional-level software, and so far it’s been laughably underused.

So, I personally petition all students in Utah to download this software while you can. Even if your classes don’t use it yet, they probably will in the future. And, in any case, knowing how to use Adobe’s apps can only help you in searching for a job.

And teachers, as a student who would love to recreate a Civil War battle, here’s my plea to start using Adobe in your curriculum. Using Create UT the way it was meant to be used will make schooling more effective, more creative and, most importantly, more fun.

McKenzie Leininger is a senior at Bonneville High School. She loves engineering, dogs and skiing. Email her at fiorgaoth@gmail.com.

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