Adobe has launched Acrobat.com a new suite of web-based services that includes, Buzzword, an online word processor that will--especially in the education 2.0 community--go head-to-head with Google Docs.
According to the Acrobat blog the new Acrobat Suite is comprised of three distinctive applications:
- Adobe Buzzword for creating and reviewing documents together.
- Adobe ConnectNow for holding full-fledged online web conferences/video conferencing with up to three people.
- The Acrobat.com organizer for sharing 5GB of files with others online, including the ability to convert 5 documents to PDF and embed your documents in blogs, wikis or other web pages.
Buzzword is compatible with MS Word and also allows you to export your document as a RTF, PDF or MS Word file. It also includes many features to allow for easy web-based collaboration such as real time editing, version control and a slick interface that allows you to easily insert and scale pictures in a Buzzword document.
One of the issues we faced on Yahoo! For Teachers was creating a rich text editor that was easy-to-use, compatible with MS Word and easily allowed users to insert and manipulate images in a document. I spent some time this afternoon playing around with Buzzword and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with what Adobe has put together.
One feature that I didn't see (and if anyone finds it, let me know) was a Creative Commons plug-in (similar to the one in MS Office) that automatically inserts a CC license into a Buzzword document. I feel that the inclusion of this type of plug-in would provide teachers with an opportunity to discuss copyright and digital literacy issues with their students. I also believe that a CC plug-in for Buzzword would provide a boost to the open educational resources (OER) movement.
As education continues to move towards the web, these types of collaborative tools will be increasingly important. It's clear that Adobe has spent a lot of thought into this product and the result is an impressive suite of free tools that will surely be popular within the education community. This type of virtual collaborative environment also appeals to the digital sensibilities of Gen Y students.
The Acrobat suite of tools are very impressive and just may well provide the first real peek into the 21st Century classroom.Side out: Adobe.