Adobe has released a study at EDUCAUSE 2016 that provides insights into U.S. student and teacher perspectives on learning, creativity and the future workforce.

A central theme that surfaced from the research underscores the increasing importance of creativity and technology in shaping future careers and solving many of the problems the world faces today.

In fact, a staggering 85 percent of students and 91 percent of teachers see creativity as essential to students’ future careers, and 93 percent of students and 73 percent of teachers view technology as key to their career preparedness. Gen Z students shared that classes focusing on computers and technology are among their favorites to take and will best prepare them for their futures.

The Adobe study, “Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future,” found that 75 percent of the more than 1,000 U.S. students between the ages of 11 and 17, and more than 400 Gen Z teachers surveyed1 expressed a mutual wish to see an increased focus on creativity in the classroom. When asked if they thought their future careers would involve creating, 83 percent of students agreed, and 94 percent of teachers feel their Gen Z students will have careers that do not exist today.

“Gen Z students have all grown up in a tech-enabled and information-driven world,” said Tacy Trowbridge, Education Programs, Adobe, while speaking at EDUCAUSE – the leading conference for educators who use information technology to transform higher education. “Gen Z and their teachers agree that they learn best through doing and creating, and that the curriculum needs to evolve to let students explore their creative ideas and to prepare them for a rapidly changing world.”

While excited about the prospects, Gen Z students – who define themselves as smart, creative and hard-working – express nervousness about their future careers. Almost 30 percent of Gen Z students feel unprepared for the future, and nearly half feel what they learn outside of the classroom is more important to their future careers than what they learn inside.

Although Gen Z students see themselves as more creative than past generations, teachers and students agree that the best method for learning and teaching is through a doing/creating approach. This perspective directly correlates with the 60 percent of educators who look for more opportunities for hands-on learning in their classrooms, and the 52 percent who wish to evolve the teaching curriculum.

“Adobe has always been committed to enabling creativity in the classroom, and programs like Creative Cloud for Education bring the best in class creativity tools to schools. I am particularly thrilled to see how the introduction of Adobe Spark has helped even the youngest students tell stories with impact,” said Mala Sharma, VP & GM Creative Cloud Product, Marketing and Community.

“This study underscores that the vast majority of educators understands the integral role that creativity and creative thinking play in solving many of the world’s challenges,” said Dr. Gerard J. Puccio, leading creativity researcher and Department Chair and Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo. “Teachers, administrators and education leaders face a huge challenge in preparing their students for today’s world, and can show they are serious about this duty by taking action to update the curriculum to better reflect 21st century skills and support professional development.”

Key Gen Z student and teacher findings include:
• 76 percent of students and 75 percent of teachers wish there was more of a focus on creativity in the classroom
• 85 percent of students and 91 percent of teachers see creativity as essential to students’ future careers
• 93 percent of students and 73 percent of teachers view technology as key to their career preparedness
• 83 percent of students believe their future careers will involve creating
• 94 percent of teachers feel their students will have careers that do not exist today
• 27 percent of students feel unprepared for the real world, and 34 percent of teachers agree
• 78 percent of students and 77 percent of teachers believe Gen Z learns best by creating and hands-on experiences

The full findings from Adobe’s survey, Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future, are available for download at www.adobeeducate.com/genz.

To view the findings in infographic form, please visit http://www.adobeeducate.com/genz/genzinclassroom.

1The study was produced by research firm Edelman Intelligence and conducted as an online survey among n=1,000 Gen Z students (ages 11-17) nationwide United States and n=500 teachers of Gen Z students (ages 11-17) nationwide United States. Interviewing took place from September 26 – October 6, 2016.

About the Author:

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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