Creative Capital: Adobe Unlocks a Lifetime of Potential for ITE Students

Students at Creative Jam.

by Simon Dale

posted on 05-13-2020

The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) aims to empower its students to pursue pathways to meaningful careers. The public vocational institution currently provides close to 100 courses for secondary school graduates, and continuing education and training for working adults.

Rather than having a purely academic focus, the institute teaches and assesses professional skills and assists school leavers with work placements that correspond to the skills they acquire.

Employers increasingly seek workers who are tech-savvy, able to communicate digitally and visually, and who are creative. The World Economic Forum predicted that by 2020, the three most sought after job skills will be complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

At the School of Electronics and Infocomm Technology at ITE College West, developing these skills in students is a top priority and Adobe Creative Cloud plays an important role in helping educators do this.

Creativity in and out of the classroom

For students in courses such as IT Applications Development and Web Applications, the priority is to develop their technical abilities at using various software. These technical skills prepare them for careers in the information, communications, and technology industries.

Adobe Creative Cloud is one of the key software packages that students learn to use. In fact, students tend to be drawn to courses that teach Adobe applications as they recognize the Adobe brand as one that increases their employability.

The educators at ITE also find that it is an effective way to teach students creative problem solving. That’s because when students create digital media like images, layouts, and ePortfolios for class assignments, they gain a deeper understanding of the content they’re working with. As opposed to a “memorize and re-hash” approach, students learn to think more critically and develop problem-solving strategies to meet their project requirements and communication objectives.

Having the freedom to work independently and express themselves in diverse ways through the software also develops their creativity.

Dreaming bigger

To motivate them even further, students are selected each year to enter the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) Championship, a global competition that tests students’ design skills using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

In 2017, Kieran Gan Zhuoyu, 18 years old at the time, won the ACA Design Challenge in Singapore, organized by Certiport. He went on to represent Singapore in the ACA Championship in California, USA, a memorable experience for him, and one that encouraged him to pursue a creative career.

In their final semesters, students’ skills are further put to the test when they embark on their internships.

Isabelle Woon, 21 years old at the time, and Fatin Quraisyah, 18 years old at the time, were assigned three-month work placements with networking equipment company, DLink. They both felt confident contributing to the company as they had used Photoshop and Illustrator extensively in the classroom. They both also had the creative mindset to problem-solve in the workplace.

“Working together with my colleagues to come up with creative concepts and then seeing those concepts come to life as marketing collateral was very rewarding. I felt excited to pursue a career doing design work so I can continue bringing my creative ideas to life,” said Isabelle.

Indeed, course coordinators find that students who are more comfortable using Adobe applications thrive in their work placements as they’re able to transition from the classroom to the workplace with better competency.

Finding future success

Whether engaging with government services or their favorite brands, customers today increasingly expect seamless and personalized experiences in all their interactions. This is in turn increasing the demand for experience designers who are capable of creating delightful omnichannel mobile and web experiences across screens and devices.

To prepare students for this, Aaron Kok, the course manager at the School of Electronics and Infocomm Technology at ITE College West is currently looking at implementing new electives based around Adobe XD. The Adobe Creative Cloud application will equip students with user interface/user experience (UI/UX) and wireframing skills, honing their design-thinking capabilities, and enabling them to design and develop the types of seamless mobile and web experiences they have become accustomed to interacting with themselves.

The Adobe team is now working closely with Aaron and his staff to plan and implement Adobe XD workshops to support and equip ITE faculty for the eventual launch of the electives to students.

Instructors and course coordinators at ITE also regularly visit the Adobe Education Exchange, an online platform for educators around the world to connect and access teaching resources, courses on teaching Adobe Creative Cloud, and share lessons and best practices with the teaching community.

“The world is changing rapidly. We have an imperative to help students develop their creativity and design-thinking skills. These valuable takeaways will carry them through their entire lives, both in and out of work, and enable them to change the world for the better. We are excited to be partnering closely with Adobe to drive this together,” says Aaron.

Topics: Education, Creativity

Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud