The New South Wales Department of Education InteractED roadshow hit Coffs Harbour in northern NSW this week and it was a pleasure for Adobe to be involved again, this time with Ben Forta and myself.
The wonderful Joachim (Jo) Cohen (Schools Technology Innovation Lead) and Mark Greentree (Director, Technology for Learning) from NSW DoE kicked off the event. Jo did a great job with his usual enthusiastic hosting style.
Google Australia’s Engineering Community and Outreach Manager Sally-Ann Williams, did a wonderful keynote presentation titled Preparing students for careers of the future.
Among a range of interesting facts and figures, she told us that 80% of all new STEM jobs in the US are in computer science but only 8% of STEM graduates are from computer science courses.
She also said that according to code.org, computing jobs are the number 1 source of new wages in the US and that there are currently 500,000 computer science related jobs available in a wider range of industries.
Sally-Anne shared some research from LinkIn.com stating that soft skills that 57% of leaders are looking for include leadership, communication, collaboration & time management.
In between the keynote sessions were a range of hands-on workshops and presentations from the NSW DoE Info Tech Department (ITD) and four key ICT partners Apple, Google, Microsoft and of course Adobe.
Ben Forta and I ran a session on Acrobat & Spark Page for the School Leadership Stream, an overview of the Creative Cloud in education for Technical Coordination Stream and a session on Adobe Spark for the Using Technology Stream.
We also had the privilege of doing the final keynote session for the day titled: Focusing on creative problem solving skills to enhance employability in the age of automation.
Most of the resources we shared throughout the InteractED event can be found on the Adobe Education Exchange via – http://bit.ly/adobe-Coﬀs18
Tim Kitchen, Kim Maksimovic, Anthony England & Ben Forta. Anthony is holding Ben’s new book about how to use Adobe Spark in the classroom.
Adobe’s Senior Director of Education Initiatives, Ben Forta began his 2019 Aussie visit with a visit to Pymble Ladies College in Sydney on Tuesday November 20.
Ben lives in Michigan, USA but spends most of his time visiting teachers and students all over the globe with a focus on improving the Adobe experience for education. Ben has been part of the Adobe Spark product team in recent years and he loves sharing the value of the Spark tools.
Pymble Ladies College is a large independent girls school with over 2000 students from K to 12. They have an extensive ICT program and were very keen to show Ben the way they integrate a wide range of Adobe’s creativity & productivity applications throughout the curriculum.
Using Adobe Illustrator to design objects cut via a laser cutter
Pymble are obviously big fans of the Adobe Spark tools
One of the highlights of his visit to Pymble was being interviewed about his work and experiences for one of their podcasts.
These students were selected as part of the 2019 NSW Adobe Have a Voice project which aims to provide NSW students (in Years 4 to 9) with an opportunity to collaborate, and have a voice (through video or animation) about something that is important to them and enhance their 21st century communication and creative problem solving skills.
During this masterclass event the student shared the videos that they had made during the year with each other and we chatted about what was great about them and what could have been done to possibly make them even better.
We also looked at a range of video capture and editing techniques that will help enhance future video projects.
Then we introduced the students to Adobe’s amazing new video editing app Premiere Rush
Here are some of the videos that were shared …
Ryde Public School
Get into sport
Glenwood High School
This video is rated PG – not recommended for primary age students.
A special congratulations to the 15 NSW Department of Education schools who were involved in the Adobe Have a Voice project this year. We are looking forward to having you involved again in the future.
BiG Day In Junior events involve STEM based workshops for Year 5 & 6 students that are hosted in primary schools around Australia.
Students participate in up to five 50 x minute hands on workshops to encourage them to study STEM subjects in high school and in the future. These workshops are usually run by industry professionals. This event was supported by:
On Thursday November 8, I had the great pleasure to meet one of my education heroes, the great Professor Mitchel Resnick, Director of the Lifelong Kindergarten research group, part of the MIT Media Lab in Boston.
Professor Resnick began by saying that he believes there is nothing more important in today’s world then helping young people grow up as creative thinkers. He said that in such a rapidly changing world, today’s young people will face a never ending stream of unpredictable situations in their life and to thrive in this type of world, the ability to think and act creatively is more important than ever before. However, unfortunately most school systems around the world were not designed to support and foster a culture of creative thinking.
The topic of his presentation was Cultivating Creativity through Project, Passion, Peers, and Play. This topic is based on four guiding principles that he and his team believes can support the development of creative thinking in young people:
Professor Resnick said the best way to develop students as creative thinkers is to provide them with opportunities to work on projects based on their passions, in collaboration with peers in a playful spirit.
Working on projects is one of the best ways to learn to code (and to learn anything really) but unfortunately that is not the way most students are being taught. Most of the time coding is being taught through a sequential problem by problem or technical syntax based approach rather than learning though projects. Professor Resnick and his team believe that students should start with an idea, create something, experiment, share with others and keep modifying and adapting the solution based on their experiences and feedback.
Students (and adults as well) are willing to work longer and harder when they work on things they are passionate about and interested in. When they are passionate about a project, they make deeper connections with the ideas they are working on and are willing to invest more time on them. Projects become more meaningful and memorable when they are based on concepts that students care about.
Creative learning is a social process, the most creative things we do come in collaboration with other people.
Play, in this context is more of an attitude than an activity. Having a playful approach means students are willing to take risks, try new things and test boundaries. This is when the most creative work happens. It is important to have a comfortable learning environment where students feel safe to experiment, take risks and try new things. When things go wrong and failure happens, this should be seen as a positive opportunity to learn rather something negative.
Professor Resnick and his team at MIT have developed the programming language Scratch which is designed for students to program interactive stories, games, and animations and share them through an active online community.
Throughout the presentation, Professor Resnick provided us with a number of samples of how Scratch is being used by students all over the world to enhance creativity. He gave us an insight into some of the new developments with Scratch, soon to be released and shared the power of the Scratch creative learning community which now features over 40 million projects.
Profesor Resnick has committed his life’s work to provide students all over the world with the opportunities to think and act creatively. Trying to bring about this type of change in education and open up these types of opportunities for students to work with projects, passion, peers and play is going to take a concerted effort and he calls all educators everywhere to help create a global movement where students are encouraged to design, create, experiment and explore with new technologies so they can be full and active contributors to tomorrow’s society.
I was delighted to be able to invite two members of the Adobe Education Leadership Community from Victoria (Joel Aarons and Michelle Dennis) to the Melbourne presentation with me and was delighted that there were able to meet the great man.
Here is the full presentation recorded at the Sydney event …
Ben Forta (Adobe’s Senior Director of Education Initiatives) is a coder, author and educator with over 750,000 books in print in 16 different languages. He is part of the Adobe Spark product team, a set of digital literacy tools that are transforming the way students and teachers communicate globally.
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is an association for information and communications technology (ICT) professionals and this summit featured Australian and international thought leaders from industry, academia and the political sphere.
One of the highlights was the opening interview with model, actress and coder Lyndsey Scott.
Lyndsey is based in Los Angeles where she is a freelance coder and (like many in LA) trying to follow her passion for acting. She is a mentor with girlswhocode.com and a strong advocate for encouraging girls to consider a future in the computer industry.
She believes that young people should be content creators, not just consumers and she said that coding literacy should be a mainstream part of the school curriculum, especially in primary schools.
Lyndsey shared how she is excited about a future with developments in virtual reality, augmented reality and automated vehicles. She is also excited that technology developments have made the world smaller and closer and more people are now able to have a voice about important issues.