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‘Creativity is mandatory for a successful future’

Experts and educationists from various Asia Pacific countries discuss the challenges of using technology to stimulate creativity among students.

education Updated: Mar 26, 2013 15:29 IST
Jeevan Prakash Sharma

More than one hundred educators and experts from prominent Asia Pacific countries gathered at 8th Adobe Education Leadership Forum 2013 in Phuket, Thailand on March 20-22, 2013 and deliberated upon the need of modern learners vis-à-vis the unprecedented possibilities technology is presenting them with. The educationists shared interesting anecdotes based on their experience and expressed a deep concern for exploring contemporary pedagogies in a technology-rich world.


Speaking on the subject ‘creativity no more an elective, it’s the future,’ Peter McAlpine, senior director, education (APAC), Adobe, said, “Creativity is no longer an elective for educators, students and the education organisations. It is a mandatory requirement for a successful future. The classroom is evolving from the traditional notions of learning, to a more creative platform of understanding. Educators and students are redefining how knowledge is acquired and shared.”

Other senior officials from Adobe showed how the company partners with institutions around the world to support creativity at the heart of learning.

“Our digital platforms are enabling creative collaboration, making new learning tools possible and discovering new ways of measuring success. But in the process, we have to overcome a lot of challenges. The biggest of them is to change the mindset of educators who are reluctant to come out of their comfort zone to learn modern methods,” said Trevor Bailey, director, worldwide education, Adobe Systems Incorporated, United States.

Bruce Dixon, co-founder of Australia-based Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, raised a foundation, “Why aren’t we setting the bar higher, so that our students are able to show how ubiquitous access to technology allows them to be more creative, and build more powerful ideas from much broader, deeper and more complex experiences than has previously been possible?”

Educationists feel that the modern teacher needs to connect with the communication tools that their students are using outside of school. Otherwise the disconnect between students and teachers will be detrimental to both the parties.

“Today’s secondary and higher education students want to connect with content in a continuous manner with multiple screens and devices anytime and anywhere. Timetable structures such as seven 45-minute periods from 8.30am to 3.30pm and up to seven different areas of unrelated content per day as well as rules like no access to smartphones in class heighten the disconnect between students and teachers,” said Tim Kitchen, director of learning technologies, Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School, Australia.

He said further, “Today’s students want to share their ideas with their peers, their teachers and a worldwide audience. Structures like locking down control of internet downloads and uploads and using paper and pen as the main form of learning construction also encourage the disconnect.”

Amidst concerns for implementation of modern methods, many experts feel the need to maintain a balance between traditional and modern methods of teaching as both have their limitations.

“When I teach my students through e-learning, I don’t get relevant feedback that I normally get from classroom teaching. Similarly learning from your peers is another limitation that modern teaching has,” said Tridib Roy Chowdhury, senior director of products, Adobe System Incorporated, India.

Another Indian participant Nuriya Ansari, vice president, Learing Links Foundation, while speaking on creativity and technology — crossing the chasm, highlighted how on one hand, there are various initiatives in India driving the adoption of absolute cutting-edge technologies which nurture creativity, and on the other hand, there are issues of getting basic education to remote areas.

86% say technology can foster creativity

One of the interesting features of the Adobe Education Leadership Forum 2013 was the unveiling of the findings of a study titled ‘State of creativity in Education in Asia Pacific’. Adobe surveyed 1014 educators (teachers, administrators, heads of institutions) representing 13 Asia Pacific countries with an aim to gauge the state of creativity across the region’s educational landscape.

* An overwhelming 86% of respondents felt that technology and digital tools play an important role in fostering creativity among students
* 43% of the surveyed educators feel the current education system is either outdated or restrictive
* The lack of resource, tools and training are identified as the biggest barrier
* 62% felt they should be creative regardless of the subjects they teach
* When asked about the efficacy of the current education system in developing a new generator of innovators, educators rated it a mere 5.0 on a scale of 1 to 10
* In India 69% said they are hampered by an education system that is not geared towards creativity; 45% cited a lack of resource to support their efforts
* The surveyed educators, on average, spent 45% of their time last year fostering creativity skills in the classrooms while they wanted to spend 58% of their time for it

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