Today’s OFT Announcement Marks A Step In The Right Direction

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October 22, 2013

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Mark A’Bear, Education Manager at Adobe UK responds to the news that the Office of Fair Trading plans to investigate students’ consumer rights and university competition.

“I welcome today’s news that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) plans to investigate the value for money that students are getting in light of the radical changes that are taking place within the Higher Education sector.

The hike in tuition fees was inevitably going to mean that the student experience would change. It has never been more important for graduates to have real world skills – real world skills that employers are increasingly expecting their new recruits to have. But students need the support of their Universities to provide access to the tools and facilities that will help them develop these skills in the first place.

Naturally, students are questioning the value for money they get from their University and feel entitled to a better quality degree for the extra money they are paying. Our own Digital Campus research earlier this year – which surveyed the 2012/13 intake of undergraduates, the first to pay the higher fees – revealed that universities still have a way to go in achieving this.

55% of the students we spoke to admit their university is not living up to their expectations, specifically pinpointing the lack of suitable facilities such as libraries, and technology provision as the main areas needing improvement. As many as half only have access to basic tools such as internet, email and basic programmes, falling short of the 82% who expect their university to go above and beyond a basic technology provision before they started their course.

University Vice Chancellors must step up to the challenge, and quickly, to meet the demands of the next generation of student. Needless to say, those able to adapt their strategies will be far more appealing to students looking for reassurances that they’ll have more than just debt to show for their University careers.”

Mark A’Bear, Education Manager at Adobe UK

Adobe UK’s response to new national curriculum

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September 18, 2013

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Mark A’Bear, UK Education Manager, Adobe UK responds to the publication of the new national curriculum for computing which aims to teach children between the age of five and 16 to code

“Adobe welcomes the government’s publication of the new national curriculum for computing, which aims to teach children between the age of five and 16 how to code.  This is a positive move that will not only help to increase student engagement, but also provide young people with the digital creativity skills needed in today’s workplace.

Our own research tells us 67%* of educators across the UK believe that creativity in education is vital to fuel the economies of the future, yet despite this 65% of teachers believe they can be doing more to teach this affectively, with 61% saying they feel the current education system is stifling them. Furthermore, 69% of teachers pinpoint having access to more tools and techniques as being the number one way they can teach creativity more effectively, further highlighting the need for schools to invest in the latest technologies to help support their staff.

We work with schools, such as Chalfonts Community College in which technology and digital skills such as coding plays a central role in helping to drive creativity in its students. For example, they rewrote the traditional art specification to include digital media – from animation, digital imaging, film game making – to help students learn creative skills which influence their approach across the curriculum. Through learning complex digital skills such as coding, they not only saw an increase of attainment increase, but an increase of student engagement too, in particular with previously disengaged boys.

The government review of the computing curriculum is certainly a step in the right direction towards creating a more creative learning environment, but the next step will be ensuring students are given the right industry standard tools to work with.  It’s therefore up to institutions to increase student access to technology, which will in turn give them a freer rein to express their creative talents.”

*Taken from Adobe’s ‘State of Creativity in Education’ report

Adobe’s response to new vocational courses

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July 05, 2013

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Mark A’Bear, UK Education Manager, Adobe UK responds to the news that the Government plans to introduce a raft of new vocational courses from 2016:

“Yesterday’s announcement by the education secretary is a positive step forward that will support young people in developing real-world skills they will later need in the workplace. The question I would raise, is whether these mooted vocational courses extend to design and creative subjects, such as gaming and web development.

Education changes lives, and providing students with vocational skills that are valued by those in industry enables both businesses and young people to fulfil their potential. Historically, education has been far too focussed on raw academic qualifications. Education shouldn’t be about being able to tick a certain box – it should instead be about the underlying skills that having a certain qualification demonstrates.

Should today’s proposals omit design and the wider creative arts, it would be an opportunity missed and could threaten the future success of the UK’s creative industries, which currently constitute one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. The UK is renowned for its creativity thanks to its successes in fashion, art, design, film, food and music, and as such, it is imperative that we ensure creativity and design are an integral part of these planned vocational qualifications.”

At Adobe, we’ve been doing our bit to support vocational learning, most recently by offering young people the opportunity to gain practical technology and creativity skills, as well as learn about the world of gaming and design, through our Adobe Generation online courses. In addition, we have been extending student access to Adobe technology and helping institutions meet students’ increasing demand for access to the latest technology, through the Eduserv Adobe ELA Framework Agreement. This three year license agreement will enable Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) institutions to deploy the latest version of Adobe’s Creative Suite across the entire campus, as well as on staff computers, for the first time.

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