Empowering our Youth through Creativity with Adobe Spark for Education

by Mala Sharma

posted on 04-09-2018

I have long believed that creativity helps build the confidence and self-worth of our youth. Four years ago, I visited an underprivileged school in India and introduced a seven-year-old boy to a beta version of Adobe Spark. He did not know English, but created an amazing story with pictures and music, then looked up at me — beaming. When I saw the expression on his face, I knew Adobe had touched his life in a meaningful way forever. At that moment, I knew I wanted to get Spark — our intuitive story-telling app available through Creative Cloud — into the hands of students everywhere to enable them to express themselves in new and exciting ways.

When we announced our intention to make Spark with premium features free for K-12 students around the world, we cited striking results from a global study about the importance of teaching creative problem-solving skills. The results validated and reinforced our plan to bring Spark to schools. International policy-makers and educators responded overwhelmingly that creative problem solving will be essential in tomorrow’s workplace, yet they pointed out that we are not doing a good enough job teaching those skills in our schools. One of the biggest problems is the lack of access to appropriate tools and technologies. Another is the time required to teach students how to use creative tools. Today, Adobe Spark for Education, which includes premium features and specific functionality schools need, is now free for all schools and universities.

Spark helps students find their voice

Student beginning the Spark project on tolerance poem.

When visiting schools in both the U.S. and India, I’ve seen first hand the importance of a fun, easy-to-use creativity tool. When teachers build creative problem solving into the curriculum, students need to be able to easily figure out how to use the assigned application so they can focus on their work, not on learning how to use an app. Over and over, I’ve seen Spark enable this. Spark enables students of all ages to easily and quickly find their voice using words and images to create a story.

Mala Sharma with students in Beaverton, Oregon.

In Beaverton, Oregon I saw third graders making a Spark video as a tribute for the class pet, a bearded dragon,who had died. Sixth grade students in Virginia created travel commercials for foreign countries using Spark Video. I saw eight grade language arts students use Spark to bring a poem on tolerance to life, transforming what is often a dreaded part of the curriculum into a visual and digital experience they were excited to engage with. Instead of just figuring out what the words meant — as I remember doing in school — the students were visualizing and internalizing the meaning of a poem, then interpreting it for others. I wonder what Emily Dickinson would think.

Built for schools and how students like to work

I am excited to share some important capabilities we have added to Spark for K-12 schools:

  1. Students can access their projects from anywhere using their school login ID.
  2. Schools can deploy the licenses in a way that is consistent with data privacy laws including COPPA — the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (Read more about our Student Privacy policy.)

For more details about Adobe Spark, or to get it for your school, visit Adobe Spark in the Classroom.

Making Creative Cloud available to anyone who has a story to tell

Creative Cloud enables creativity for everyone and today we have taken another big step toward realizing that vision. I can’t wait to see what children around the world create.

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Products: Spark