Lack of Technology Can Impede Creative Skills, Adobe Research Finds

Educators agree that students will need strong creative problem-solving skills in their future careers.

At K-12 schools and universities, educators and administrators are preoccupied with preparing students for jobs that won’t be replaced by automation.

Tech experts, such as Slack senior software engineer Ryan Greenberg, have indicated that schools can do this by teaching students soft skills like problem-solving, communication and critical thinking. Creative problem-solving also is a major proficiency of a successful 21st-century employee, Adobe finds in a report titled, “Creative Problem Solving in Schools: Essential Skills Today’s Students Need for Jobs in Tomorrow’s Age of Automation.”

After surveying K–12 and university instructors across the globe, Adobe reports that 74 percent of educators say professions that require creative thinking are less likely to be impacted by automation.

Yet, 69 percent of these educators also say today’s primary and secondary curricula doesn’t emphasize creative problem-solving enough.

While some educators at the K–12 and university levels have leveraged digital storytelling and other technological resources to promote creative thinking, many survey respondents have hit obstacles when doing so. Some of the top issues they run into include:

  • Limited time to create
  • A lack of educator training
  • Limited student access to software and other tech, at school and at home
  • Outdated testing requirements

Teachers and professors indicated in the Adobe survey that simple steps can be taken to alleviate these issues and nurture creative problem-solving. They suggested that more professional development (85 percent) could be offered, budgets could be increased for technology (75 percent) and tech access could be prioritized for underprivileged students (71 percent).

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Adobe Makes Tech More Accessible

In response to this research, Adobe announced that beginning in April, it will offer Spark Premium — a storytelling tool that helps create visual aids — to schools and universities for free.

In addition to this, Adobe made sure Creative Cloud services are in line with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule so that children under age 13 can now access the tools. Also, new single sign-on features make it easier for students to access creative tools anywhere.

Adobe hopes this research — and these actions — might drive changes from policymakers and tech industry leaders.

“Educators, policymakers and industry — technology in particular — need to come together to improve opportunities for students,” says Tacy Trowbridge, global lead for Adobe’s education programs, in the press release. “Creative technologies can help educators teach and nurture critically important soft skills, and policies and curricula need to evolve to complete the equation.”

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Feb 26 2018