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Archive for July, 2016

Closing the skills gap: Why creativity is essential to students’ workplace success

 

Young Handsome Graphic designer using graphics tablet to do his work at desk

The compensation data provider PayScale recently published its 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report, and the findings were eye-opening for schools and educators.

The report details the responses of almost 64,000 hiring managers across a wide range of industries who were asked about the “skills gap”—the disconnect between the skills students have when they graduate from college and the skills companies need. Here are a few of the stats that stood out for us:

  • 60% of managers said new graduates do not have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for the job
  • 46% said new graduates lack the necessary communication skills
  • 36% reported new graduates have inadequate interpersonal and teamwork skills

Similar findings are appearing everywhere. Here’s just a sample:

  • The World Economic Forum reports that students with social and emotional learning (SEL) skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration are better equipped to succeed in the evolving digital economy.
  • Bloomberg analyzed the skills gap among MBAs and found that the skills managers want most but have the most trouble finding include strategic thinking, leadership skills, communication skills, creative problem-solving, and working collaboratively.
  • Fast Company describes 2016 as the year of the hybrid job, in which employers want multifaceted employees who have both hard skills like database technology and soft skills like communication and collaboration.

Dan Schwabel of Millennial Branding, which partnered with PayScale on their survey, summed things up this way: “Graduates need strong communication and problem-solving skills if they want to interview well and succeed in the workplace.”

Closing the gap with creativity

So how can educational institutions help students close the skills gap? It’s clear to us that they need to go beyond teaching traditional skills and make fostering creativity and developing digital skills a priority in the classroom.

Many of the skills current grads lack are associated with creativity, from critical thinking to communication to collaboration. But when schools teach students how to create digital content, they help them develop these in-demand skills.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Through digital storytelling with video and illustration, students learn how to communicate ideas clearly and effectively.
  • Through data visualization with animation and digital imaging, students become better at understanding, simplifying, and explaining information.
  • When students work on complex creative projects like designing apps and websites in partnership with other students, they develop critical collaboration and interpersonal communication skills.
  • And as they work on creative projects of all types, students develop the creative mindset employers crave.

In an education documentary, Tony Wagner of Harvard’s Innovation Lab was quoted as saying: “Employers say over and over ‘I will teach them (graduates) the content. What I can’t teach is how to think, how to communicate, how to collaborate, how to initiate.’”

But our schools and educators can certainly teach these things. And Adobe can help.

For an in-depth look at what forward-thinking educators are doing to close the skills gap, visit the Adobe Education Exchange.

 

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Students at Mapúa Institute of Technology Learn Innovation, Creativity, and Collaboration with Creative Cloud

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Mapúa Institute of Technology wants to empower students to compete for jobs globally. That’s why it’s building its global center of excellence for art and design with Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise. Mapúa is already one of the top universities in the Philippines and is making significant investments in its School of Multimedia and Visual Arts (SMVA), which offers bachelor’s degree programs in Multimedia Arts and Sciences and Fine Arts in Digital Cinema.

The latest enhancements in Adobe Creative Cloud, such as CreativeSync, help SMVA students create and collaborate, and their work is beginning to earn international acclaim. Students have earned awards in competitions including the Power Mac Center’s Pixelworx “Dare to Defy” multimedia competition, the Amazing Thailand Film Challenge, and the 27th Gawad CCP Independent Film and Video Festival.

“Integrating Adobe Creative Cloud into Mapúa’s curriculum has strengthened our students’ skills and given them the confidence to represent the school in global competitions and beyond. We are extremely proud to be on the world map for design excellence and are grateful for the Adobe partnership, which has empowered our students with world-class tools to further nurture their creative and design skills,” says Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, Chairman, Mapúa Institute of Technology.

Read the full story here, and access more success stories on Adobe SEA Customer Showcase.

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UNSW Built Environment MOOC on Enchantment and City-Making

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Re-Enchanting the City: Designing the Human Habitat is the first free online course offered by UNSW Built Environment. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) aims at introducing aspiring professionals in the built environment to the environmental, social, cultural and political aspects of urban development. It uses a case study of Central Park Sydney, which includes a high-rise residential tower designed by Parisian architect Jean Nouvel, awarded the World’s Best Tall Building in 2014 and a five star green rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The course explores the evolution of the development and has a range of video interviews with stakeholders, including the famous French botanist, Patrick Blanc, who designed One Central Park’s 1,120 sqm vertical gardens. Other notable interviews include the former Dean of UNSW Built Environment, Emeritus Professor Alec Tzannes, Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of City of Sydney Council, Ross Palmer, Partner at Foster + Partners, Dr Stanley Quek, former Chairman of Frasers Property Australia, Chris Johnson, former NSW Government Architect and former Executive Director, NSW Department of Planning.

The course was made possible through Adobe Creative Cloud software. Forty-five videos were created, spread out over a six week course schedule. Interview and educator videos were edited with Adobe Premiere Pro, with motion graphics produced in AfterEffects together with Photoshop and Illustrator. Video filming and production work was primarily done by The Creative Foundry who also created a teaser for the MOOC used for marketing.

The large amount of video material was structured into three key perspectives – stakeholders and professionals involved with Central Park Sydney, academic discussions from staff of UNSW Built Environment, and a narrative delivered by Elizabeth Farrelly, Associate Professor of Practice and Sydney Morning Herald columnist. Each perspective received its own colour scheme and motion graphics video driver, with purple for the narrative, green for professions and yellow for academic.

UNSW Built Environment academic educators include Associate Professor Oya Demirbilek, Associate Dean (Education), Professor Susan Thompson, Director of City Well-being, City Futures Research Centre, Dr Paola Favaro, Associate Professor Linda Corkery, Dr Miles Park, and Bruce Watson, Discipline Director of Interior Architecture.

In addition to video content, learners are provided with a number of infographic PDFs, produced with Photoshop and Illustrator. These infographics cover the timeline of the development, provide location referencing to the site, annotate the buildings, park and public art, visualize density and scale, and explain the development’s energy production system.

Since the course was designed to be introductory, suitable for school students, the learning activity is primarily through discussions and promotes a social engagement amongst participants. The discussions relate to the professions of architecture, urban design, city planning, construction management and property, sustainable development, landscape architecture, industrial design, and interior architecture.

Re-Enchanting the City: Designing the Human Habitat ran for the first time in May to June 2016 through the FutureLearn Platform. It was well received by participants who praised the quality of the material, shared their satisfaction of the social learning structure, and commended the diversity of contributions.

The course will run again from 4 September 2016 and is open to all, whether high school students interested in fields of the built environment, current students, professionals interested in a career change, or anyone looking to expand their knowledge about city-making.

To enroll, visit here.

Guest Post By: Dean Utian, The University of New South Wales (UNSW)

 

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