Here’s how to foster creative problem solving

4 key ways to help students develop essential workforce skills

Last year, Adobe conducted a study of Generation Z students (ages 11-17) that found students and teachers believe creativity is critical for success in the future workforce. Based on this insight, we conducted another study this year to dig into this notion of creative problem solving: What does it mean, what are the sub-skills, and what are the gaps and barriers that exist? We discovered a disconnect between the needs of tomorrow’s workforce and what students are learning in the classroom today.

So how can teachers foster these skills now, even when curriculum standards are catching up, and help their students develop these key skills?

Engage kids with digital projects
What this means: Every industry is going digital and nearly every job has a digital component. Being able to clearly communicate ideas via multimedia (videos, audio, visual presentations, etc.) is more important than ever for people entering the job force, regardless of their level of education. Instead of assigning students to write a five-page book report, teachers can ask students to shoot and edit a short video depicting a chapter or a sequel, or using digital images to represent what they are learning.

How to do it: A great example of turning a traditional report into a fun, interactive multimedia project is Paige Mitchem’s sixth-grade English class in the Roanoke County (VA) Public Schools, which created tourism commercials for foreign countries. The kids had a great time creating them and were able to learn more than if they had done a traditional report. Even in science or math, students can learn how to tell a story with data. Using graphs, videos, and charts to rethink how to deliver information are important skills to build and lead to greater focus, engagement, and learning.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at