table students creating

3 Ways Adobe Spark Promotes Creativity in the Classroom

Student storytelling aided by technology

by Monica Burns

Earlier this year I had the chance to review the new research conducted by Adobe Education on creativity in the classroom. Their study is titled, Creative Problem Solving in Schools: Essential Skills Today’s Students Need for Jobs in Tomorrow’s Age of Automation, and covers a topic on the minds of educators I meet during my travels.

Creativity in the Classroom

When surveying educators from across the world, they identified key creative problem skills for students including, (1) independent learning, (2) learning through success and failure, and (3) working with diverse teams, just to name a few. You can read the complete research findings here. So how can we promote creativity in the classroom and turn students into creators across the content areas?

If you’ve taken my Writing Reboot course you know how strongly I believe in the power of digital tools in the hands of writers – regardless of the content area. As you design learning experiences that promote creativity in the classroom, finding the “right” app or website can be a challenge. I feature tools like Adobe Spark in my book Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom because they are open-ended creation tools and give students the flexibility to document their learning in a variety of ways.

Adobe Spark is a powerful tool for students and I teamed up with Ben Forta Adobe Senior Director of Education Initiatives and the fantastic folks at EdTechTeam. Our goal was to give you ideas, inspiration and tips to make creativity in the classroom an essential part of the school day. So we put together 40 Ways to Inject Creativity into Your Classroom with Adobe Spark. If you are looking to promote creativity in your classroom, the Adobe Spark tools are free, easy-to-use and compatible with a wide range of devices.

3 Ways Adobe Spark Promotes Creativity

Choices for how to tell stories

Adobe Spark offers three options for student storytellers. They can be used independent of one another or you can combine all three in one project. Spark Page is a website creation tool where students can use text, images, videos, and links to create a website. Spark Video is a moviemaking tool students can use to bring icons, images, videos, text and music together with their voice to create a movie. Spark Post is a graphic design tool where students can layer text over one or more images and color blocks to create a graphic in any size.

One reason I love all of the choices Spark provides students, is that there is no “right way” to demonstrate their understanding. Students might create a Post to spotlight a quote from a book they are reading. They could use Spark Video to document the steps for solving a math problem. Or Spark Page might be the tool they choose to reflect on the outcome of a science experiment.

Free download: graphic organizers to use with Spark Video projects.

Ability to curate images

Students are consuming content at a rapid pace. This is regardless of the device they frequent or the websites they call their favorites. Curation is important in today’s classroom and students can demonstrate creativity as they search and choose images within the Spark tools. Page, Video and Post all give students the option to add images to their creation. Students can pick and choose from their own library of photographs. Or they can use the search feature within each tool to find the “perfect” image for their creation.

Students can use search terms to find images to add to their Page, Video and Post. This will require students to use a variety of keywords. As they sort through the Creative Commons-licensed images available within Spark’s search tool, they can pick the perfect picture. By becoming curators in addition to creators of content, students can strengthen skills that help them evaluate the content they consume on their favorite websites and social media platforms.

Sharing with an audience

When students create content that is ready to share with an audience, it provides a sense of purpose for the application of their learning. The Spark tools can help make this work relevant for students by giving them a student-friendly way to produce content with a professional tool.

All of the Spark tools give students options for sharing their work. They might publish their Page to a link they share with a QR code. Then they can place this link on an interactive display at a community center. Students could download their Videos as MP4 files. Then they can play them on a personal device to share with a family member. Using Post, students can create graphics in the size of their favorite social media platforms. This way it is ready to tweet out on a class Twitter account or shared on their own Instagram.

Note: There are lots of ways to share Spark creations and these are just a few examples.

Choosing an Audience

When providing opportunities for student creators to produce content for an audience you can include them in the planning of these celebrations. You might pose questions like: Who could use our book trailers to make a decision about what they will read next? Who could gain a better understanding of our community by reading our interviews with local veterans? Students of all ages can be part of this conversation as you determine audiences for student work.

I’m so excited about the findings of Adobe’s research on creativity in the classroom. As you explore the research findings and think about applications in your own classroom, remember that students of all ages have stories to tell. How can you empower them as creators this school year?

Visit Adobe Spark’s website to get started with their fantastic, free creation tools!

Don’t forget to grab your free download: graphic organizers to use with Spark Video projects.

FETC January 27 - 30, 2019

Monica Burns will be a featured presenter at FETC 2019, January 27-30 in Orlando, Florida. The conference will bring together thousands of educators and technology leaders for an intensive, highly collaborative exploration of new technologies, best practices and pressing issues. Registration is now open.

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