Today, I was able to be part of the Adobe Education Summit for 2022. Due to a challenging schedule, I was only able to catch the opening and closing keynotes but they, alone, were worth the price of admission. I want to thank Adobe for creating and supporting this free virtual conference for educators around the world. I appreciate the planning and intentionality of creating an extraordinary space that is safe, accessible, and empowering of educators from around the world.
The opening session jumped immediately into points that resonated with me. Scott Belsky from Adobe shared “creativity will be the new productivity.” Scott’s point resonated so much with what I have been thinking about for the past several months and trying to articulate. For students, their creativity will be a valuable commodity for changing their life’s trajectory. In many cases, it will be an economic commodity that they will use to support themselves and others. Too often though, we are not affording enough of our students the opportunity to explore, expand, and practice their creativity. Many of our students’ classrooms are void of these opportunities due to curricular and accountability demands. However, I would argue that our classrooms, especially coming out of the covid shut down, must actively and intentionally integrate in creativity and creation opportunities for our students. If we fail to allow our students to explore, expand, and practice their creativity, then we fail to adequately prepare them for their futures. Additionally, it is precisely these practices and opportunities in creativity that will engage and connect our students to deeper levels of learning.
Ben Forta continued sharing additional insights that really connected with me personally in my crusade for creativity and creative thinking in the classroom. He shared that many individuals are concerned about screen time use by our students. However, he challenged this concern and indicated that often we fail to consider whether our students are being passive consumers or active content creators. We must delve deeper into looking at how our students are using technology and their role. Students who are simply consumers - meaning that they only watch videos, listen to music, or simply perform repetitive, mundane tasks such as clicking- often fail to be very engaged. This results in a passive and very non-engaging role for our students. I used to refer to this as watching “mindless TV.’ Ben encouraged us rather to rethink screen time and push our students to engage in content creation where they are actively engaged in creating and publishing content digitally. This may include students creating and directing their own videos about a topic such as disease transmission or gauging what issues really matter to potential voters in upcoming reactions. In content creation, our students have to learn to manage a process, create various tasks to be completed, and be accountable for completing assigned roles. Additionally, students who are creating content have to learn how to gather accurate information, work with others to communicate that information, and present it in an engaging way. All of these duties require creativity among other necessary skills. Ben shared that “there is real joy in content creation” and that research indicates that students who are encouraged to think and act “more creatively are curious about the world.” Ben reminded us that creativity “gives our students the will, skill, and thrill to learn.”
All these amazing insights occurred within just the first few minutes of the opening session, Our main speaker for the opening was Byron McClure. I share more about his incredible message in an upcoming blog post as he was on fire as well.
If you were unable to join today’s Adobe Education Summit, you can sign up for the final day here. Additionally, replays will be available starting in August and running through next April. As educators prepare to return to the classroom this fall though, we must ensure that all students have the access and ability to experience engaging lessons that promote and encourage their creativity with practice and support. Let us always remember that our higher duty as educators is to ensure that our students have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experiences to lead a productive, empowering, and incredible life.
The ideas shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent my employers, associations, or organizations. These thoughts are entirely my own.