Apr 14, 2005

High tech now crucial to higher learning

Source: CBC News
CBC News Viewpoint by Greg Hughes
April 13, 2005

I’m about to earn a graduate degree in journalism from the University of King’s College in Halifax, N.S. While small, it’s got a big reputation for excellence.

As I walk around the campus, I see students of all ages using the tools of the trade in the Internet Age: iPods, cellphones, laptops and USB Memory Sticks.

Workshops feature everything from video editing software such as Final Cut Pro to audio programs such as Cool Edit for radio pieces. Computer labs are equipped with state-of-the-art hardware in both Mac and PC format. It’s a very digital, 21st-century campus.

In the span of just 20 years, the mythology of universities and colleges as bastions of pure intellectual and skill development has been shattered. The Ivory Tower hasn’t just got an upgrade – it’s the Silicon Tower now.

This is a truly remarkable transformation. It’s almost inconceivable for any student in university or college today to imagine an era without the internet, CD burners or MP3 files.

These technologies have significantly altered the learning experience to the point where if a prospective student checks out a school that doesn’t have modern computer labs with high-speed internet connections or, now, wireless capability, they could just drop it from the list.

Read the entire article

This op/ed pretty much sums up the struggles that academia has had adapting to the increased rate of progress now found in technology, particularly computer graphics. While most of this article has nothing to do with “Photoshop” (although a reference is included below) the fact is that the traditional evolutionary adjustments to curriculum now must be adjusted and updated based upon product development cycles.

Excerpt from the article: Ben Witte, 30, a graduate student in journalism, thinks all the digital technology he uses makes his job harder.

“I just feel like its changing so fast and there’s no way I can keep up with it. I can operate Microsoft Word, use my tape recorder and surf the internet, but as soon as it gets into the area of design programs, Quark, Photoshop, whatever, I just get way in over my head.”

Photoshop has historically had a major upgrade dev cycle of 18 months, which means that computer graphics and digital photography curriculums must be updated far more often than was traditionally required. In addition to revised curriculums, instructor training is a major issue. Unless the instructors are able to be involved in the development, such as beta testing, the instructors have no alternative but to wait until the application is commercially available and try to get it as soon as they can, often after their students have already received it.

The process of submitting upgrade proposals often takes time for approval which delays deployment campus wide–often for months or across semesters or quarters.

All of which produces a disconnect between the instructors teaching and the students learning. When the students know more than the instructors and have more current technology than the teaching institution, the educational environment dissolves.

Adobe does offer some resources dedicated to helping educational institutions and educational professionals. Unfortunately, the resources are somewhat limited.

Now that Photoshop CS2 has been announced (due to ship in a May’ish timeframe) many instructors and institutions may receive a slight reprieve-they’ll have the summer to revise curriculums, upgrade computer labs and allow instructors to get new version training. This won’t help summer educational programs however.

Right now would be a real good time to start looking forward to the next major upgrade and start planning for a better and more seamless transition.

Note, we will allow comments to this story and encourage educators and students to visit the Adobe Education web site. There is a contact form to offer feedback. PhotoshopNews would like to encourage all educational professionals to give Adobe Education feedback on how to improve new version upgrade procedures for educational institutions.

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