Creativity at Templestowe College

Templestowe College (TC as they like to call it) in Melbourne is one of the most innovative schools I have had the pleasure of visiting. Last Wednesday 22nd February, I enjoyed working with some of their key art teachers and some very talented students at this amazing school.

I was very impressed when I first saw the 2014 TEDx talk by Peter Hutton, Principal at Templestowe College ( Peter is breaking down the traditional concept of what is school with a major focus on students talking responsibility for their own learning. I urge you to watch his talk and get a sense of what is happening at this amazing school.

Peter has employed some very talented teachers who are supporting his vision for progressive education. One such educator in Mini Goss who has spent most of her working life as an illustrator and author. These days, she is teaching her craft to some very luck students and showing them how products such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are fundamental to the print industry.


Meeting Mini Goss

I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with some very talented art students and was pleased to be able to show them some Adobe applications that should be able to lift their work to the next level and help them communicate their talent to their peers, their teachers and a wider global audience.

I’m looking forward to visiting Templestowe College again next month where I will be running a workshop for the general teaching staff.


Re connecting with Carey & Strathcona

This week, I had the delightful experience of working with students and teachers at two Melbourne schools that are very meaningful to me. Last Monday 20th February, I visited Carey Baptist Grammar School and on Tuesday I ran some sessions at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School.


My connection with Carey goes way back to its origins in 1923 when my Grandfather Charles Ridley Kitchen was a foundation scholar. My father, Paul Kitchen also studied at Carey as did my uncle Tim Costello. I went there as a student from 1979 (the year girls started at Carey) to 1986 and I later worked as a primary teacher at the Carey Junior School from 1996 to June 2000. Both of my sisters went to Carey for some part of the education and I currently have a niece there in Year 10.

Strathcona has been a significant part of my professional life as an educator since I began teaching there in July 2000 as an IT Teacher and the school’s ‘Web Master’. I worked at Strathcona for 13 years under the leadership of Mrs Helen Hughes who helped me develop my skills as a leader and an educator. I was the Year 10 Coordinator for five years and finished my time as their Director of Learning Technologies before starting my current role with Adobe.

At Carey, I spent much of the day at their maker space called the Sandpit which is a great feature of their new Centre for Learning and Innovation.


I had the pleasure of working with a number of Carey staff and students, showing them a wide range of Adobe applications to help them enhance their creative communication skills.


I’d like to thank Kylie Taig, Carey’s Head of innovation and Learning Design (K-12), for organising the day and I’m looking forward to supporting her and the school in the future.


On Tuesday 21st February, I spent most of the day with a range of students and teachers at Strathcona where we worked on some Photoshop and Adobe Spark techniques.

The Year 10 Web Design class appreciated learning how to use Adobe Photoshop to compress large image files and optimise them for online use.

Another class of Year 10 students learned how to use Adobe Spark Post, Spake Video & Spark Page to produce creative digital posters, videos and web pages to help construct their learning.


I’d like to thank Ross Phillips, Strathcona’s Dean of Studies, for organising these sessions.

Digital creativity in the Hunter Valley


Twenty-Five Catholic school teachers, from all over the Hunter Valley region in rural NSW gathered together on a very warm Friday 17th February at All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus in Maitland for an all-day professional learning experience based on getting more familiar with a range of Adobe’s creative productivity tools.

We started the day with an overview of what Adobe is as a company and how its software is being used in education and industry around the world to enhance creativity & digital experiences. Then we explored some of the free mobile apps with the teachers teaming up to produce a short video using Adobe Premiere Clip.

Other products we work-shopped including the three Adobe Spark tools (Spark Post, Spark Video & Spark Page) and Adobe Photoshop with a focus on 3D banners, content aware fill, clone stamp & the liquefy filter.

Most of the afternoon sessions were dedicated to more serious video production & video editing skills with Adobe Premiere Pro.

We used a green screen to film one of the teachers then shared that footage with other footage & audio to make a short video story about hover-boarding.


All the resources that were shared throughout this day can be found on the Adobe Education Exchange via –

Special thank you to Christine Chapple (Education Officer, Catholic Schools Office) and All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus in Maitland for organising this event.


Adobe Day with Dapto High


A specially selected group of talented student from Year 8 to 12 at Dapto High School in New South Wales had a very early start on Wednesday 15th February. They met at Dapto station at 6.45 AM to get to the Adobe Sydney office by 9.15 AM for an Adobe Day with me.

Following a tour of the office, we set up a green screen to do some filming and went though a wide range of key camera capture techniques.

Here are some of the key techniques we looked at …

Most of the day was spent getting familiar with Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the footage that was filmed along with a range of footage and audio options.

The students were a delight to work with. They picked up the various techniques quickly and were able to apply them.

Adobe Education Leader Darcy Moore, Deputy Principal at Dapto High, was instrumental in organising this event. I’m, looking forward to visiting the school later this year and continuing to hear from Darcy about how these students progress with their video literacy skills.

Freshwater comes to Adobe


On Tuesday 14th February, 2016 a wonderful group of Year 12 Multimedia students from Northern Beaches Secondary College Freshwater Senior Campus visited the Adobe office in Sydney for an Adobe Day.

An Adobe Day usually involves a group of students being mentored by an Adobe expert on a project based activity either at the amazing Sydney office or on location at the student’s school. On this Adobe Day, these Year 12 students were doing an Industry Study on Adobe as a company and also wanted to know more about how to use Adobe Muse & Photoshop to present their work.


To help the students collect more information for their Industry Study on Adobe, Wayne Weisse, Adobe’s Sales Director – Public Sector Asia Pacific spoke to the students and answered their questions. They were keen to know about the structure of the business, technologies used for production and services, sustainability practices and the way Adobe is involved with various corporate responsibility projects around the globe.


The students then went on a tour of the Sydney office.

After the tour, we worked on some Photoshop & Adobe Muse techniques.

The students also spent some time showing me the current stage they are up to with their major Multimedia assessment.

Their teacher, Andrew Lai is an Adobe Campus Leader. He is very passionate about giving his students the best opportunities to be creative and to develop their 21st century communication skills.


Gen Z students see themselves differently to their teachers

In October, 2016 Edelman Intelligence and Adobe undertook an international study titled Gen Z in the Classroom, Creating the Future to help explore how creativity plays a role in preparing Generation Z students for their future in the workforce, and how students learn and think about the future in the context of creativity.

This is the first in a series of my journal posts based on this study. Click here to get a summary of all the findings.

research1Who are Gen Z?

Gen Z, also known as the Post Millennials or the iGeneration, refer to young people born between the mid 1990s and the early 2000s. In 2017, they would include students in their mid-teens and early 20s. So broadly speaking, they are today’s high school students and university under-graduates.

The study involved over 2,500 Gen Z students and over 1,000 teachers of Gen Z students from the Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.


Study objectives

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Understand how students view creativity and its impact/application across all different types of classes and potential careers;
  • Explore what creative tools students and educators see as most helpful in developing their online brands;
  • Uncover the synergies and gaps within the student/educator experience today when it comes to creativity, as well as what each group sees as the future of learning and working; and
  • Identify which regions “shine” in how they are preparing for the future workforce when it comes to creativity, and which fall behind.


Difference in perceptions

One question where there was an interesting differentiation between the teachers and students was Which of the following words describes Gen Z – Smart, Creative, Hard Working, Team Player, Curious, Social, A little lazy, Outgoing, Bored by the past, Follower, Multi-tasker, Nervous about the future, Shy, Ambitious, Lonely, Original, Confident & None of these?

The students and teachers were able to provide multiple answers and the Gen Z’s top responses in all four countries were:

  • Creative (Australia – 46%, US – 47%, UK – 37%, Germany – 44%)
  • Smart (Australia – 43%, US – 63%, UK – 39%, Germany – 40%)
  • Team player (Australia – 44%, US – 42%, UK – 42%, Germany – 40%)

The teachers of Gen Z student’s top responses in all four countries were:

  • A little lazy (Australia – 74%, US – 76%, UK – 65%, Germany – 70%)
  • Social (Australia – 60%, US – 65%, UK – 51%, Germany – 30%)
  • Bored by the past (Australia – 49%, US – 49%, UK – 33%, Germany – 49%)

Only German teachers (26%) used the term Creative in the top 5 descriptors of Gen Z students.

So it appears that Gen Z students see themselves differently from their teachers. Some of the possible reasons for this do come out in other parts of this study which I will write about in future articles.

What is creativity?

When recently chatting to educators about these perceptions the thought arose that students may define creativity differently to their teachers.

Some argue that creativity cannot be formally defined. I tend to think that Sir Ken Robinson provides a good definition when he says in his book Out of Our Minds (and on many other occasions) that creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. The ideas may not be so original that no one has ever heard of them before, they need to be original within the context of the creator in their classroom, home, community etc.

The idea does need to be valued. This is a possible sticking point of distinction between Gen z students and their teachers.Students may well see something as simple as adding a filter on an Instagram image as being creative, where as their teacher may see no value or originality in this process, therefore not recognise that activity as being creative.

I would like to encourage students and teachers to keep the conversation about the importance of creativity going in all curriculum areas.

Sir Ken says that everyone has the ability to be creative bu virtue of being human. He also suggests that creativity is possible in all areas of human life, in science, the arts, mathematics, technology, cooking, teaching, politics, business etc. And finally, Sir Ken points out that creativity can be cultivated and refined. It can be taught and can involve an increasing mastery of skills, knowledge and ideas.

Click here for more on this.

There were a number of findings in the study where both Gen Z students and teachers of Gen Z agreed.

I will expand on them in future posts.


Stay informed about future Adobe in Education professional learning opportunities for teachers in Australasia via:
Join the Australasian Adobe Professional Learning Group on EdEx to say in touch with Adobe in Education

Check past Adobe in Education active use activities via and CreateEdu TV