Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum: A Guide for Students and Teachers

1B: How Creativity, Research, and Critical Thinking Work

Adobe Creative Cloud isn’t just for artists and creative professionals anymore. Anyone can use this powerful suite of applications, potentially everywhere, all of the time to solve problems and to get work done.  In the past, too many of us only thought of visual artists (painters, illustrators, filmmakers, sculptors, designers) as creative.  However, once you recognize that all problem solving requires creative thinking, then you begin to recognize that all professions and careers depend on creativity. Likewise, your schoolwork requires creative problem solving, which means that Adobe Creative Cloud can help you in any class, in any discipline, whenever there are problems to solve through creativity.

But there is a very important distinction here that separates “just getting your work done” (like a robot) versus transformative, creative approaches to class assignments.  Part of the immense potential of imagining Adobe Creative Cloud across the curriculum is leveraged on a shift from information consumption to knowledge production -- and from media consumption to media production.  Some situations require you to consume content and knowledge, which is sometimes essential.  But more critical, transformative thinking and learning is often leveraged on creating, producing, and making new connections and new knowledge.

As a college student you are likely to have written research papers, either in high school or as part of your current coursework.  If the word “research” in those papers meant simply regurgitating knowledge that someone else produced, then that work was probably not particularly meaningful.  However, when you more actively research knowledge to apply as solution to a problem or to learn new things that are important to you, well, then, that experience is much more transformative, powerful, critical, and creative.

The purpose of a college education is gaining knowledge, right?  And the purpose of a university is to pursue and produce new ideas.  Research is therefore fundamentally creative, and academic work, even if it’s not very visual, is about making new connections.  In fact, here’s my definition of creativity:

Creativity is the act of making new, thoughtful connections.

In other words, there is much more to creativity than just the artistic representation of cool ideas.  Creativity, research, critical thinking, and knowledge production are tightly connected -- in fact, they might be the same thing.  And since Adobe Creative Cloud can be so powerful for developing, connecting, and circulating ideas, then it can be a very powerful way to enable your learning across the curriculum.


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