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1C: How Media Work
Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum
So you have an assignment to complete, and your instructor is open and encourages you to chose any genre or format you like to get your work done. Should you make a magazine, a film, a poster, a podcast, a website, or a mobile application? How can you pick the best genre, format, and media approach when it’s up to you to choose?
You might decide to look for inspiration in examples of other work that seem like they might be ideal for the assignment. Or you might approach this choice more strategically and ask:
Which genre or media format seems like a tight fit for this situation?
To figure out if a particular media is a good fit, you might browse the menu of choices at the beginning of this introductory chapter (Section 1A). Each one of those choices is linked to a specific chapter that follows. Each chapter explains how an individual genre/format/media “works” in greater detail, which can help you make the right choices.
In general, each media format has its own advantages and disadvantages that emerge from its fundamental nature -- it’s “DNA,” so to speak. For example, the “DNA” of film/video is the relationship of an audio track linked with a visual track and structured along a timeline. This linear, chronological dimension of film/video means that it is a good way to tell a story, but it might not be such a good way to convey dense, complicated information.
By comparison, the “DNA” of a book or magazine is made of printed text and still images, which can contain lots of information that is much easier than a film to browse-through forward and backward. But a conventional book or magazine is silent in its DNA, whereas a film/video allows voices and music to create a greater sense of human presence and personality, in most cases.
The “DNA” of a website allows for the collection and composition of lots of “chunks” or “nodes” of information and media. Thus, it’s a good way to connect an array of ideas, images, and media, but it’s not as effective as a video/film for telling a coherent story in a consistent voice.
Each of the following chapters defines and explores each major media/genre/format in a way that can help you not only select the right approach in the first place, but also make wise choices for working within whatever media you chose. Adobe Creative Cloud is designed to help you make such choices wisely and easily. In fact, the interface (see Chapter 2) for each Adobe application is based upon the nature and the “DNA” of each media format, which means that as you are creating and producing your work in Creative Cloud, you are also developing media awareness and digital literacy.
When you create media, you come to better understand how media work.
1B: How Creativity, Research, and Critical Thinking Work
Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum
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.