Adobe Education

News & Views from the Education team

Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe Education blog post: NMC Digital Literacy Impact Study

New NMC study examines the impact of digital literacy education on career success.

By Karen McCavitt, Group Manager, Worldwide Marketing for Education Enterprise, Adobe

New Media Consortium (NMC) just published 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, a new independent study that looks at how digital literacy training in higher education affects the occupational success of postgraduates. Commissioned by Adobe, the study explores the aspects of digital literacy that postgraduates learn, use, and apply after they enter the workforce — and the findings are enlightening.

With technological changes rapidly reshaping the future of work, it’s critical that postgraduates have digital skills not just for consuming content but for creating content as well. To remain employed and advance in their careers, they need the agility and willingness to continue learning. They also need soft skills like creativity and the ability to collaborate, think critically, and solve problems creatively. Digital literacy training teaches all of these skills, and the NMC study examines the many impacts of this type of learning on the workforce.

Key findings from the study include the following:

  • Students who are exposed to digital literacies in higher education begin to develop digital skill competence. For example, surveyed postgraduates credited the applied technical courses they took in college with their increased technical abilities and digital literacy.
  • Gaps in digital skill sets arise when schools don’t take an applied approach to learning with technology. The study shows a clear need for schools to have students create digital projects that offer evidence of their work, showcase experiences, deliver narratives, and more in order for them to develop digital literacy.
  • Digital literacy education helps learners transfer these skills and knowledge to the workforce. The findings link digital literacy learning, confidence, experience, and work activity to occupational success.
  • Exposure to digital literacy in higher education encourages continuous learning of digital skills and knowledge. Surveyed postgraduates reported that digital skills require an ongoing need for training. By starting with a solid foundation in school, students are well-positioned to develop the momentum and curiosity they need to meet the demands of the workforce.

The impact study reveals that digital literacy goes beyond knowing how to operate a particular set of digital tools. It shows how learners who can use digital tools to design and develop original work are the ones who are well-positioned to adapt to different work environments, make contributions, and be successful.

The study also provides higher education institutions with recommendations for how to advance digital literacies and skill development to drive postgraduates’ occupational success. These include assessing the digital literacy gap with help from industry partners, redesigning learning and development systems to align with the future of work, and cultivating the habits and opportunities for lifelong learning.

Adobe supports higher education institutions as they create innovative digital literacy curricula to help prepare students for the future. We offer teaching and learning tools, modules, rubrics, student examples, and higher education case studies through our Adobe for Academics site within the Adobe Education Exchange. And many colleges and universities have partnered with Adobe to provide Adobe Creative Cloud to their students and faculty, including Clemson University, Penn State, the University of Arizona, the University of Miami, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We also work with industry partners to develop students’ and postgraduates’ skill sets through our internship programs, certification programs, design and analytics competitions, and more.

We encourage everyone to read the NMC Digital Literacy Impact Study as well as the complementary brief, Digital Literacy in Higher Education, Part II, that was published in August. Both are available online, free of charge, under a Creative Commons license for easy duplication and distribution.

Writer Biline:

Karen McCavitt

Karen McCavitt
Senior Group Manager, Worldwide Marketing – Education Enterprise, Adobe Systems

Karen McCavitt joined Adobe in the fall of 2012 to manage worldwide marketing and programs for Higher Education Institutions. McCavitt brings years of experience in all facets of marketing, helping leading technology companies successfully promote their products and solutions to Education Institutions and Commercial companies. During her career, Karen McCavitt spent 11 years working for Apple, five of which included driving the growth of Apple’s market share among college students.

Karen holds a B.S.B.A. in Marketing and is a graduate of the Marketing Management Executive Program from Columbia University.

8:00 AM Permalink

Vincent Fu: Bringing Creativity to the Workplace

Creativity is essential to any career, whether someone is developing a presentation to explain a new internal process, or writing a newsletter for customers. For University of Utah graduate Vincent Fu, combining his scientific background with strong creative skills has opened doors and helped him find success in the workplace.

As a student at the University of Utah, Fu studied the sciences, graduating in 2017 with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Biology, and minor degrees in chemistry and computer science. But Fu also spent his college years polishing creative skills through Adobe Creative Cloud, which was available to all University of Utah students through an Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA) with Adobe.

Thanks to the ETLA, Fu could experiment with Adobe Creative Cloud apps on his own time. He brought his creative skills to the classroom, creating videos, presentations, and papers that helped him express himself and his ideas more clearly. But he also used Adobe Creative Cloud to develop flyers, posters, videos, and other creative collateral to promote activities and events for various organizations across campus.

After graduation, Fu found his fit at ProLung, a new and growing medical device company. His biology degree helps him understand the technology, but his visual skills allow him to communicate these new technologies with ease. Understanding of multiple Adobe Creative Cloud apps also allows him to meet any challenge the company has, from design a new logo to editing videos for conference presentations. Fu quickly became the company’s Digital Marketing Manager, where he creates all marketing communication assets for ProLung.

“Having access to Adobe Creative Cloud throughout college opened doors for me in ways that I never could have imagined,” says Fu. Discover more.



8:00 AM Permalink

Preparing Students for the Digital Future

The ability to clearly communicate information and ideas is essential to any career, whether someone is explaining scientific findings at a conference, creating internal workflow guidelines, or trying to close a sale. And in the modern world, the ability to communicate through digital mediums is more important than ever.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) recognizes the importance of preparing students for successful careers by improving their digital literacy. This doesn’t just refer to knowing how to crop photos or write code. For UNC-Chapel Hill, digital literacy is about being able to solve problems, think critically, and learn how to best engage with audiences in a digital era.

UNC-Chapel Hill partnered with Adobe to provide Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise licenses to students and faculty. “Adobe is a standard across industries, and Adobe Creative Cloud complements our curriculum so we can promote digital literacy across disciplines at UNC,” says Chris Kielt, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Every student receives access to Adobe Creative Cloud, encouraging them to develop their own websites, design flyers for campus events, or create engaging class presentations. Since students can work with Creative Cloud apps anywhere, they can experiment, solve problems, and build skills that will serve them in their future careers.

One health humanities student, Izzy Pinheiro, became interested in how digital communications can help share stories about health and healing. She created a multimedia website using Adobe Spark to tell the story of Syrian refugees in Jordan and how this humanitarian crisis has affected healthcare for refugees, as well as Jordanian clinicians and citizens. Adobe Spark made it easy for Pinheiro to bring together photos, video clips, text, and animation to tell her story quickly and effectively.

Working with Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise also improves the IT experience for UNC-Chapel Hill. Named User Deployment ties licenses to usernames, so that when students graduate, their software access is automatically restricted. The Adobe Admin Console also allows IT teams to distribute responsibilities across departments and reduce administrative overhead.

“The digital literacy initiative at UNC has been a true partnership with Adobe,” says Kielt. “We’re producing graduates who will have the digital literacy skills that are expected by the marketplace. That will result in a highly satisfying outcome for our future and for the future of our students.” Discover more here.


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Adobe Max Conference Contest for Adobe Students

Want the chance to be Adobe’s student influencer at Adobe MAX 2017? Two lucky winners will receive a trip to Las Vegas, a VIP student ticket to Adobe MAX, a custom-curated agenda where they will learn, create, and connect with other creative professionals, and first-access to new Adobe tools. 

To enter, creatively interpret any line from the ‘Future is Yours’ video (posted above) and post a photo of your work to Instagram or Twitter with #adobemaxcontest and a trip to Vegas could be yours!  

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The Adobe MAX Conference Contest begins 9/13/17 at 12:00 PM PT and ends 9/30/17 at 11:59:59 PM PT. Open only to legal residents of the 50 US and DC who are at least 18 years old or older and who are enrolled and in good standing at a higher education institution (college or graduate school) and taking at least twelve (12) credits or units at the time of entry. See for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, prize information, restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited. Msg&data rates may apply. Sponsored by Adobe Systems Incorporated, 345 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110.


12:00 PM Permalink

Introducing a free, practical guide to creating digital media in any academic discipline.


The Adobe Education team is excited to announce the release of a powerful new digital literacy resource for teaching and learning: Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum: A Guide for Students and Teachers. Written by Professor Todd Taylor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this online guide is designed for students and faculty in all academic disciplines who want to tackle their work in innovative ways using digital media.

As Professor Taylor states in the guide’s preface, the contexts in which people produce and circulate work continue to evolve in response to new digital and information technologies. He aims to help strengthen students’ and teachers’ creative capacities by teaching them to use Adobe Creative Cloud to solve problems and connect with audiences of all kinds.

The guide “flattens the technological learning curve,” showing how to choose the right Adobe tool for any academic assignment and how to quickly get up to speed and start creating. Chapters cover what Creative Cloud is and how it works, as well as how to create a wide range of projects with Creative Cloud apps and services. Teaching modules include the following:

  • Adobe InDesign CC for scientific communication
  • Adobe Audition CC for creating a humanities podcast
  • Adobe Illustrator CC for designing infographics
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC for making a social sciences documentary
  • Adobe Photoshop CC for creating social media memes
  • And many more

Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum also includes assessment rubrics and student work samples to help faculty develop their curricula and lesson plans for any class from business to English to the sciences — and to show students what they can achieve.

“The purpose of higher education is to develop students into well-rounded scholars and prepare them for employment and fulfilling careers. Students must feel empowered to learn, think critically, create, collaborate, and communicate in ways that they can transfer to life after education, and faculty has to be able to teach these skills,” said Karen McCavitt, group manager of worldwide marketing for education enterprise at Adobe. “Dr. Taylor’s eTextbook gives faculty and students the tools they need to maximize the Creative Cloud offering and digitally enhance their experiences on either side of the lecture hall.”

Explore the guide today and see how your institution can enhance digital literacy with Creative Cloud.

10:42 AM Permalink

Adobe Education blog post: NMC Strategic Brief, Part 2

New NMC brief underscores the need for higher education institutions to incorporate digital literacy across all disciplines.

By Karen McCavitt, Group Manager, Worldwide Marketing for Education Enterprise at Adobe

New Media Consortium (NMC) just released Digital Literacy in Higher Education, Part II: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, and it’s a must-read for higher education leaders looking to create effective digital literacy initiatives on their campuses.

Commissioned by Adobe, the independent research examines how educators and administrators view digital literacy. It also shows how they can help their students learn, create, and communicate in modern ways with digital content — and develop the critical-thinking and creative problem-solving skills employers value. The brief offers the following:

  • An expanded definition of digital literacy that emphasizes the role of learners as creators and examines inequalities of access based on economics, gender, race, and political divides
  • Examples of successful programs that empower students to hone their digital literacy skills and prepare for the workforce
  • Digital literacy frameworks and examples from Europe, Africa, North America, Australia, and the Middle East
  • Ten views of digital literacy from international experts
  • A look at the future of digital literacy and the influence of technologies and phenomena like virtual reality, blockchain, automation, and fake news

The report emphasizes the need for higher-education leaders to approach students as creative thinkers and storytellers and help students build out their digital literacy skills in all subjects — including the sciences, the humanities, and business courses.

Adobe fully supports these efforts. We’re committed to empowering educators with the creative tools they need to enhance their students’ academic experiences and to teach the critical thinking, digital literacy, and problem-solving skills their students need to succeed in the digital economy.

To that end, we offer teaching and learning tools, modules, rubrics, and student examples through our Adobe for Academics site within the Adobe Education Exchange. The site shows how institutions like Clemson University, the University of Southern California, the George Washington University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have incorporated digital literacy into a wide range of courses and assignments with Adobe Creative Cloud.

We encourage everyone in higher education to read the NMC brief, which is available online, free of charge, under a Creative Commons license for easy duplication and distribution.

10:23 AM Permalink

Preparing students for a rapidly changing world

We have a problem. The pace of technological change and rate of information flow is increasing and attention spans are shrinking. Almost half of recent college graduates are underemployed or employed in jobs that don’t require a degree. Employers struggle to find new graduates who have what it takes to thrive. A poll of hiring managers asking “Are students ready for today’s dynamic workplace” revealed that seven in ten employers say no.

What do our students need?

Students and employers want creative problem solving, current communication skills, and technical competence. Since today’s students will work in jobs that haven’t been invented yet, we need to foster skills that prepare them to adapt, to learn and to thrive. When companies were asked “What skills are most essential for new hires” the most common responses were: technical skills, creativity, and the ability to communicate through digital and visual media.

What defines Gen Z?

Today’s 11 to 17 year olds have grown up with the Internet in their pockets and the ability to quickly take an idea and make it real with an app, a prototype, and a video. Adobe conducted a study with 11-17 year olds and their teachers around the world to better understand Gen Z.

  • Technology is Gen Z’s native environment, giving access to a world of diverse views and ideas, and allowing them to express their creativity. They feel they are more creative than past generations and are passionate about doing and making things better. They attribute this to their ability to connect quickly to a world of ideas and to create with new technologies.
  • When asked about their future, Gen Z students are both nervous and excited. By the time these students enter the job market, there will be new technologies, new industries and major shifts in our economy. This means opportunity for those who can navigate change, adapt quickly and keep learning.
  • Nearly half of students feel what they learn outside of the classroom is more important to their future careers. Students learn from their parents and families, from YouTube, and from experiences like internships or real world projects. They expect to learn from their networks and seek out specific expertise online.
  • Educators agree that technology defines Gen Z. Some see technology as a potential hindrance to independent thinking, particularly without guidance – but they overwhelmingly feel that it has revolutionized the way they teach Gen Z students.
  • Students and teachers overwhelmingly agree that Gen Z learns best through doing and making, and least through traditional methods such as memorization. There is a significant gap in how Gen Z students learn best and how they are taught in schools today. When asked how often they learn by doing/creating, students said 16% of the time and teachers said 24% of the time.

Many schools and universities are shifting their practices, their infrastructure and their use of technology to better prepare the next generation. USC’s Annenberg School offers one great example. Courtney Miller, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at USC’s Annenberg School, shares “Our challenge is to build digital media know-how across our curriculum, while complementing and enhancing other core skills we want to foster, including creativity, critical thinking, and storytelling”

  • USC designed a beautiful building with creativity and state of the art technology in mind to showcase student work. Their Digital Lounge facilitates digital making and peer-to-peer learning.
  • To build a bridge to real world experiences, the school cultivate relationships with industry experts and encourage real-world experiences like backpack journalism, study abroad and internships.
  • Students learn to demonstrate their skills and knowledge through a curated online presence and portfolio and with Adobe Certified Associate certifications.
  • Learn more about how USC’s Courtney Miller is teaching digital literacy skills to every student.

Adobe can help.

It’s a challenge to keep up with the demands placed on education. Let’s start by preparing creative students with modern communication skills and the ability to learn and adapt – no matter their field.

Whether you want to include more opportunities for learning by doing or creating, to help your students flex their creative muscles, or to leverage technologies, Adobe can help you get started to teach creativity and digital literacy with:

  • Free professional development
  • Free curriculum and lesson plans
  • A vibrant community of practice

Also, Adobe’s free web-based tool, Adobe Spark is a quick and easy way to create beautiful content that tells powerful stories. Educators love Spark– it’s simple and intuitive to use and lets creators focus on their message.

Join uson Adobe’s Education Exchange, a free to join and use community of 400,000 creative educators, and explore 10,000+ learning resources.

12:39 PM Permalink

Skill-Based Certifications Are The Key to Employment For The Next Generation

There has arguably never been a more interesting time for media. Mobile technology has given a voice to the ‘citizen journalist’, while the rise in digital platforms, social media and micro-blogging sites has given anyone with an opinion and internet access the opportunity to share news, trends and opinions.

Yet despite the vast and expanding media landscape, it is a difficult industry to break into. Research conducted by Adobe[1] into its Adobe Certified Associates (ACA) program reveals that 74 percent of current and aspiring digital media professionals perceive the field of digital media to be more competitive than it was five years ago, and that 56 percent of current and aspiring digital media professionals are concerned about how to differentiate themselves when applying for a job.

So, how can students of media, design, and communications related fields make themselves more marketable?

In short, being proficient at digital storytelling is vital. With the evolving nature of media consumption, communication professionals, media specialists and journalists must learn how to align their skills with their employers’ business models so they can help their organizations achieve their goals. The traditional mediums – print, television and radio – are competing with smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, the internet and podcasts for reader attention and advertising spend, so understanding how to tell a compelling story on these channels is as crucial for media professionals as knowing AP style. 54 percent of survey participants agree that a lack of digital media experience is a barrier to enter digital media professions, and 56 percent feel that a demonstrated ability to work across multiple devices and programs helps their resume stand out.

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism agrees with the 61 percent of respondents that believe being able to demonstrate knowledge of digital design tools will help set them apart from their peers. Two-thirds (62 percent) of current and aspiring digital media employees agreed that certifications help candidates prove their digital media skills to prospective employers, and they view knowledge of design tools as the top way to help their resumes stand out.

ACA holders do not just see a boost in their resumes and tangible skill sets, but also their confidence and self-esteem. In fact, 78 percent of survey respondents said that confidence is the most important quality for securing your first job in the digital media industry, and ACA holders are nearly twice as likely as non-ACA holders to feel ahead of the curve. They are also more likely to be proactive in setting themselves apart by keeping up to date with digital tools compared to non-ACA holders via a variety of activities which include watching online tutorials compared (59 percent vs. 51 percent), being actively engaged in online networks and activities (47 percent vs. 36 percent), and working with a mentor or teacher (45 percent vs. 24 percent).

ACA holders also see the digital certification program as a means of making up for lost time or to fill a void they feel is missing in their education, which is a common issue for mature students who went to high school before the digital media explosion. Of the people surveyed, 67 percent wish their high school had offered courses or programs by reputable organizations to help them learn digital media tools, and 71 percent of aspiring digital media professionals who are not ACA holders feel that they’d be further along in their careers (i.e. employed in a job they want!) if they had learnt digital media skills in a formal education setting. “I could have started a portfolio and developed skills early on. I would have had more confidence entering college,” said a current professional surveyed for this study.

So, to learn more about how to prepare for and earn an Adobe Certified Associate certification, log on to If you’re already an ACA holder, check out the Adobe Certified Associate World Championship, explore the Regional competitions, and consider submitting your work.

[1] Survey administered by Edelman Intelligence, 2016. Adobe asked current and aspiring digital media professionals, including 504 Adobe Certified Associates and 562 non-ACA holders, ages 18 to 29 in the United States, Mexico and South Korea about the essentials for launching a successful digital media career.

9:30 AM Permalink

Expand Your Students’ Creativity Through Adobe Apps, Coming to Chromebook

As announced today, Adobe is proud to announce that newly updated Android apps will be optimized for Google Chromebooks, and will be available in the next couple of weeks. According to our Gen Z Study released earlier this year, students and teachers agree that technology provides more digital tools and outlets for creativity. We’re thrilled to be empowering both students and educators through this latest development.

Interested in resources to assist you in including these apps in your curriculum? Look no further than Adobe Education Exchange. Below, we’ve listed some key resources to help you get a head start:

Photoshop Mix: 

Lightroom Mobile: 

Illustrator Draw: 

Comp CC:  

Resources that combine mobile apps: 



9:17 AM Permalink

3% Conference with Laura Marie Mariel

Going to an all girls school for 13 years of my life, instilled in me that women can challenge, shape and change the world. It wasn’t until college when I was faced with what I thought was ignorance. However, I was the ignorant one. I didn’t realize how many men and women did not think women were good enough, or capable enough.

Then I went into the workforce, and naively thought that surely the people who work here are more mature than those I went to university with. Wrong again. Of course, the sexism wasn’t “celebrated” openly, but in advertising, there’s definitely a boy’s club.

“Shoulders of Giants” by Carolina Trevino

At that point I was torn; do I act like one of the boys or do I just act like me? Apparently, my supervisor noticed this internal struggle as acting like one of the guys wasn’t working out so well for me. She pulled me to the side one day and told me to sugar coat my emails a little, that I was being too direct, and though that may work for the male account managers, it wouldn’t be received well from a woman. She continued to tell me that in her last 360 review, she was called abrasive and because of that was denied a promotion, and she didn’t want to see the same for me.

Nilofer Merchant, the author of “Onlyness” and speaker at the 3% Conference, shared with us that “69% of people cover a part of who they are to fit in.” That is exactly what my previous supervisor had asked me to do despite her good intentions. With the staggering reality that only 3% of creative directors are women, I find it hard to believe that trying to fit in has worked for us.

“Silence The Sorry” by Lucy Dabney and Jenna Jones

The 2016 3% Conference was the first time since primary school that I had felt surrounded by a community of women that believe in women. We cannot be the victims of our own lives and I was happy to be in the company of such strong women who had overcome obstacles that I am only beginning to encounter in the early stages of my career.

I have had the fortune of being surrounded by powerful women: Karen Kaplan, CEO of Hill Holliday; Pippa Seichrist, co-founder of Miami Ad School; and Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Movement.

Now, that I am about to reenter the workforce as a creative women, I am hoping not only to be one of the women in that small percentage, I want to change the statistic entirely. I want to be among the first female, Puerto Rican chief creative officers.

See the authors Laura Marie Mariel and submission here.

Learn more about the 3% Conference Student Challenge.

For more info on featured artwork, see here and here.

11:56 AM Permalink