Tech critical in 'unleashing' creativity in classrooms

Creativity important for today's workforce, and technology can be a key enabler to nurture that in the classroom for both students and teachers, says Adobe exec.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

SINGAPORE--In a globalised workforce of competitive, evolving and adaptable people, it is necessary to nurture students with creativity skills to prepare them for the job market, and technology can play a pivotal role in this in the classroom, Adobe exec says.

According to Jon Perera, vice president of worldwide education marketing at Adobe, developments in technology have accelerated change dramatically in the workplace, making it different from how it was many years ago. The workplace today is globalized and competitive, and demands for creativity in its employees, he explained.

Perera, who was speaking at the Adobe Education Leadership Forum 2012 on Friday, explained that creativity was necessary to survive in the workforce today and differentiate themselves from their peers. It was important to nurture them as early as possible in school so that students can continue to build on them over a period of time, he noted.

It should also be instilled in teachers, so that they can get students "excited" about learning and lessons. Students and parents today also have different expectations--they want to learn from teachers at their own pace so it is easier for them to catch up, not a structured, rote-learning style. This calls for creativity in teaching approaches, he remarked.

There are signs of technology already an integral part of education, Perera observed, pointing to an online survey conducted by Adobe on 500 educators in Asia-Pacific, which revealed that nearly 40 percent of respondents now use technology tools in their classroom. 55 percent believe that there will be a significant increase in the role that digital technology and content play in classroom work.

"Three key technology trends that will shape education, that vendors can tap on, are the explosion of devices, rise of cloud and social media."
-- Jon Perera,
vice president, worldwide education marketing,

Nurturing creativity with technology
The core aim for technology should now be instilling creativity in the classroom, he surmised, adding that technology had formed the contours of the teaching and learning process.

Perera also pointed out that the steps towards nurturing creativity consisted of five key components--inspiration, creating content, publishing, showing off and measuring results. This is what technology should aim to bring out in students, he added.

He cited that students creating digital resumes and e-portfolios online as an example of technology bringing out creativity in students. Another example is Globaloria, a social network to teach 5th to 12th graders, typically aged between 10 to 18 years old, to write and author video games, he added.

"As the world of education is rapidly changing, it is more important than ever that we enable educators to help students prepare for and excel in the workplace," Perera said. "Equally important, we need to help them ride on those new waves of technology and opportunity that are emerging in an ever-evolving digital world."

Tap on mobility, cloud, social media
Perera also highlighted three key technology trends that vendors can tap in the education sector--the proliferation of mobile devices, rise of cloud computing and social media.

He reiterated that mobile devices, especially tablets were getting more popular, estimating that to date in the U.S., Apple has sold 55 million iPads—of which the new iPad made up 5 percent.

These devices have also become essential in the education sector because students expect to get their learning "anytime, anywhere", and it would only be "a matter of time" that every student in the world owns a device, he remarked.

Another trend is that institutions worldwide have begun shipping their infrastructure to the cloud, Perera noted.

Cloud has enabled unlimited storage of content for learning, the ability to deliver content to students anywhere and also lowered the cost of storage, he explained. As such, cloud was a major area that vendors can enter in education technology.

The last area vendors can leverage is social media, which enabled both students and teachers to "collaborate on learning", he said, citing Edmoto, a social network where teachers can create profiles, set up communities and lessons and reach out to students. He explained that with social media, teachers can create personalized content and push it out to students, who can immediately voice out and post questions, making the learning experience more interesting and interactive.

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