I joined Adobe four months ago as an Education Advocate. My job is to focus on supporting creative teaching and learning in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Since I started, I visited 26 teachers in 25 schools and saw nearly 800 students engage with Adobe’s creative software across California and the Province of Alberta. In this blog, I want to share the top three lessons I learned from these educators and students.
1. Students are creating incredibly high-quality digital art and media
During my seven weeks on the road, I was constantly impressed by the work students were producing, their creativity and knowledge of Adobe products. For example:
- Students at Palo Alto High School (California) design professional-quality spreads using InDesign, mirroring the style of famous artists like Ellen Lupton, Peter Max, and Saul Bass.
- A 3rd grade teacher at Cranston Elementary School (Alberta) teaches his students Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Touch to produce a music video.
- Edmonton Catholic School District (Alberta) holds an annual Film Festival. This year’s Best Film was so impressive, most people don’t realize that the student who made it was only 15 years old!
2. Students are passionate about creativity
We talk a lot about creativity at Adobe, but students don’t need any convincing—they already know how essential self-expression and creativity are. I met a student at New Tech High School (California) who spends all of his free time (and much of his time in school) making movies and creating digital art. At 14, he has a Flickr account with more work than many artists! Another student at Valhalla High School (El Cajon, California) works 40 hours a week during the summer creating a gamified classroom system for his teacher so that every media arts student can have a personalized, creative experience in class.
3. Students quickly learn tools that allow them to be creative
Students are passionate about creativity and they love using industry-standard tools that help them express themselves fully. In just one semester, a student can go from being a Photoshop novice to designing the school newspaper in InDesign or even getting a summer internship with a local design firm. One student from Old Scona High School (Edmonton, Alberta) told me how she learned to code when she was just 9 years old when her father got a book on coding. Nearly ten years later, she’s using Dreamweaver to build a custom website for her dad’s company and she secretly let me know that her web design skills far surpass those of her dad’s!
And this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more stories about inspiring students and educators who are redefining creativity and ensuring that classrooms are powerful sites for creating and learning. If you have a great story to share, don’t be shy, let us know!
Each spring, high school students from around the United States are honored by Congress through a visual art competition. Since its beginning in 1982, more than 650,000 students have participated. Each year, winners from more than 400 Congressional Districts are invited to an awards ceremony in the U.S. Capitol and their works are displayed in the busy hallways beneath the capitol building. Adobe was honored to attend the event and help celebrate students’ creativity and their achievements.
It is particularly important to celebrate creative student work in light of recent study results about the barriers to creativity in education, which revealed that:
– Almost 90% of parents and educators believe that fostering creativity in education will fuel the economies of tomorrow
– More than 70% of parents and educators believe that creativity is not valued by the current education system
As we look to the future, creativity is essential to drive innovation and ultimately to make the world a better place. Innovation is not the sole domain of entrepreneurs, of engineers, or of programmers. Artists create meaning, communicate ideas and help us all see new problems and solutions. To succeed, we must not only invest in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – but also in the arts to grow our economy for the future. We need to expand our focus from STEM to STEAM. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (pictured above), one of this year’s co-sponsors of the event, is also a co-founder of the Congressional STEAM Caucus and has been active in advocating the value of creativity.
These students are already sharing and expressing creative ideas. Their creativity inspires hope and these students will lead the kind of innovation that improves our lives and solves the real problems we will face in the decades to come.
To further inspire self-expression and innovation, Adobe invites students to join the broader creative community by giving each winner a free year-long subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I want to extend my warmest congratulations to all of the students who participated and shared their ideas with us. We can’t wait to see what you create next!
Today, Adobe released a research study that reveals the state of creativity in education. It highlights the importance of preparing students to be innovators and how testing and government mandates are stifling creativity in the classroom.
This international study, “Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System,” shows there is a growing concern that the education system itself is a barrier to developing the creativity that drives innovation. Parents and educators agree that today’s education system places too much emphasis on testing and not enough investment in the training, tools and time needed to teach creativity.
Among the 4,000 adults, 2,000 were educators and 2,000 were parents of students in K-12 and higher education. A strong majority of the participants across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia, call for a transformation in the ways schools work. Furthermore, educators agree that they can do more to foster creativity with more tools and training to integrate it into the classroom.
When asked about the most important step to promote and foster creativity in education, U.S. respondents cited the need to:
- Provide tools and training to teach creativity
- Make creativity integral to the curriculum
- Reduce mandates that hinder creativity
Please take a look at the survey data and share your thoughts with us here or join the conversation on twitter using #createnowedu and follow us at @adobeedu. Additional information available through:
- Infographic: Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System
- Research Results: Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System
- Video Infographic: What are the Barriers to Creativity in Education?
Recently, the Carnegie Corporation announced a $15M grant program to seed the creation of innovative models for new high schools in the U.S. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate how their school plans to leverage Carnegie’s 10 integrated design principles for a high performing secondary school. In their report, Opportunity by Design: New High School Models for Student Success, Carnegie notes that “Instead of retooling individual elements such as teacher preparation, learning time, or technology in isolation, all the elements that we know work and some emerging tools must be integrated into comprehensive school designs that will truly meet the needs of every student.” In essence, we need a complete redesign of how schools work and what schooling means.
There is a lot to be done, but for starters, we’ve seen how integrating technology into a school’s fundamental design can create new avenues for learning and teaching. New tools for visualizing data enable teachers to explain complex material, while helping students better understand complicated math or science concepts. Technology unlocks access to ideas and resources that have value and application beyond the walls of a computer lab; the power of technology impacts classrooms long after the laptop has been powered down for the night.
Most importantly, technology fosters creative thinking by expanding the tools we have to be creative. By incorporating digital storytelling or mobile game design into the classroom, we allow students to explore and think outside the box. And, as we’ve said here before, companies want employees who can do more than specific tasks – they want people who can think creatively, who innovate and who have the right skills for tomorrow’s workplace. To better prepare our students for success, we should integrate lessons and assignments that promote creative and innovative thinking. Technology is just one tool that will help educators achieve these goals.
The opportunity to innovate is here. What do you think it will take to create the high school of tomorrow?
Technology is changing the way we teach and the classroom is no longer defined by paper, pencils and chalkboards. Thanks to technology, traditional ways of learning are evolving toward a more creative platform. In fact, educators and students alike are redefining the way they share and gain knowledge.
Last month, we had the pleasure of hosting 125 delegates from 12 countries across Asia Pacific at the Adobe Education Leadership Forum 2013. Many education leaders and institutions such as Strathcona Baptist Girls’ Grammar School in Australia, Institute of Technical Education in Singapore, Learning Links Foundation in India and Korea Education Research Information Service, came together to share their experiences and discuss changes they see in education today.
Trevor Bailey, director of worldwide education at Adobe, addressed the importance of fostering creativity, highlighting that it should no longer be an elective in the classroom – it is the future. He also shared how technology enables teachers and students to tap into new streams of learning.
Bruce Dixon, co-founder of Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation and the founding director at ideasLAB Australia took the stage as well, stressing that educators shouldn’t underestimate the power of technology as it can help students through their learning journey. In fact, contemporary pedagogical insight comes from a better understanding of the realities of the modern learner’s world and how they gain knowledge. More specifically, today’s modern learner can be looked at in three different ways:
- The Social Learner, who moves from ‘me’ to ‘we’
- The Self-Directed Learner, who moves from dependency to autonomy
- The Inquiry-Based Learner, who moves from the known into the unknown
Today, technology caters to the different learning styles, providing educators with a great opportunity to not only embrace the new tools but to continue the evolution of the way we teach and learn. By incorporating technology and creativity into the classroom we are teaching our modern learners in a language that is native to them. This is what they are used to and the best way to prepare them for future success!
Check out more photos from Adobe Education Leadership Forum 2013 here:
Our economic growth and health as a nation rely on our collective ability to innovate. The most successful innovations – across healthcare, education, and the environment – result from the combination of creative thinking, world-class technology, and cutting-edge design. But today’s education system needs to do a better job of setting our students up for success in today’s global workplace. One area we think is critical is around fostering creative thinking. Creativity can no longer be treated as an elective in education; it must be core to the way we teach and learn. STEAM – adding Art and creativity to the national imperative around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) – is an important step forward here.
In collaboration with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and a broad range of education and industry partners, Adobe is working to drive awareness and impact in this area. Part of this work will take place at the SXSW Education event next week in Austin, Texas, in the panel session called, “STEM to STEAM: Full Circle from Education to Economy.” I am thrilled to join other panelists such as Ainissa Ramirez (Yale University), Rosemarie Truglio (Sesame Workshop), Matt Goldman (Blue School & Blue Man Group) and John Maeda (Rhode Island School of Design) to discuss how art and design methods can be introduced into STEM-centric learning. We’d like to invite you to join us in one of the following ways:
- Join us at SXSWedu. If you are attending this year’s SXSWedu conference, please join us on March 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center Room 16AB. We’re also hosting a STEAM social that night. For more information and to RSVP, go here.
- Join the conversation. Share your thoughts and comments using the hashtag #SXSWSTEAM. If you are attending the SXSWedu panel please share your takeaways using the above hashtag.
- Tweet to Give. For every mention of #AdobeSXSW on Twitter and Instagram, we will donate $1 up to $10,000 to STEM to STEAM. Learn more about our conversation for a cause here.
Jon Perera: @jon_perera
After exploring the meaning of creativity and the role it plays in education, we come to the final and perhaps most important question: What’s next? The future depends on cultivating the creativity of students. How do we shape and develop their thinking so they can go into the world and capitalize on the opportunities available to them? Watch this video to find out more.
I hope you enjoyed exploring the different aspects of creativity in education with us. I leave you with this quote from Sir Ken Robinson: “The best applications in the world won’t produce startling results. They need creative minds, adventurous spirits and developed imaginations to do that.”
What is your hope for the future of creativity? Please continue to join our conversation on Twitter using the #createnow hashtag and don’t forget to tag us at @adobeedu!
According to a recent Adobe creativity study, 88% of U.S. professionals believe that creativity should be built into standard curricula. I think it’s because more and more people are realizing the importance of creativity in their work place and beyond. Companies are looking for more than graduates who can do specific tasks—they want employees who can also think differently and innovate. To be successful, students need an education that emphasizes creative thinking, communication, and teamwork. And as Sir Ken Robinson concludes in this next video “Creativity is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity.”
Why is creativity important in education? Join the conversation on Twitter using the #createnow hashtag and be sure to tag us at @adobeedu!
It’s no secret that Adobe thinks creativity needs to be championed so educators can feel increasingly empowered to teach it as a critical competency across all disciplines. We firmly believe creativity is an imperative for students’ success in a global marketplace.
We’ve partnered with Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized author and creativity expert, to develop an exclusive five-part video series outlining his thoughts on the importance and power of creativity in education. Check out the first video where he explores the meaning and natural path of our creative process. We encourage you to watch the entire series as it unfolds over the next few days–share what resonates with you! We hope you find Sir Ken Robinson as inspiring as we do.
Join the conversation with us on Twitter using the #createnow hashtag and be sure to tag us at @adobeedu!
Around the world, educators are fostering creative thinking with their students. We see this every day across both K-12 and higher education in compelling, engaging ways. I remember a 4th grade reading class that I attended where the teacher read aloud to students while sitting around a “virtual campfire” she’d created with iMovie – the students loved it. At the same time, we hear a lot about a growing emphasis on, “teaching to the test” that can sometimes result in a decreased focus on creativity – we think this is a huge problem for our students and for the global economy. College-educated professionals agree. I wanted to share newly-released results of what more than 1000 college graduates say about the importance of creativity in education.
According to Creativity and Education: Why it Matters, a study* produced by research firm Edelman Berland, 88% of the U.S. professionals surveyed believe that creativity should be built into standard curricula. While 78% say it is important in their career, 32% don’t feel comfortable thinking creatively in their work, and a large majority (78%) wishes they had more creative ability.
Furthermore, 85% percent of respondents agree creative thinking is critical for problem solving in their career, and 68% of respondents believe creativity is a skill that can be learned. Nearly three-quarters (71%) say creative thinking should be “taught as a course – like math or science.”
What this study is telling us is that we need to empower educators and raise the importance of teaching creativity as a critical competency across all disciplines. This will drive the global economy and the career success of the next generation. Now is the time to embrace creativity as a critical skill as opposed to a “nice to have.”
Please take a look at the survey data and share your thoughts with us. Additional information available through:
- Infographic: Creativity and Education: Why it Matters
- Media Alert: Study: Creativity Should be Taught as a Course
- Research Results: Creativity in Education: Why it Matters
*About the “Creativity and Education: Why it Matters” Study: The data points referenced above come from a study commissioned by Adobe, produced by research firm Edelman Berland and conducted as an online survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans, ages 25+ who are college-educated and full-time salaried employees. Interviewing took place from October 17 – 19, 2012. The margin of error is +/-3.1%.