I'm still jazzed from attending the Society for Photo Education National Conference in Dallas last week. Photography Program Coordinator,Cathy Crowell and I have been sharing what we learned with our students in all our classes. The following are some key bullet points I believe were some important things and issues that were addressed and highlighted at the conference. We could not have attending this excellent and informative conference without the financial support from Title III.
• We as educators MUST prepare our students for jobs that in many cases don't even exist today, but will in 5 years. That is how fast technology is changing and evolving.
1. Keeping abreast of technology is crucial - no longer an option if you want to be successful and marketable.
2. Communications technologies are merging (melding together) and creating new media. Photographers must embrace (and become proficient in) video, blogging, still imaging, writing, graphic design and podcasting.
3. Creative Problem Solving (Critical Thinking) skills are essential to survival and success in Global economy.
4. Our culture is becoming more and more visually literate so visual literacy skills are a must.
5. The bar is getting higher for many technical and photography jobs so in-depth computer / software skills are very important, in addition to having a strong grasp of all the fundamentals.
6. A dynamic "user friendly" web presence (and digital resume) in many ways replaces the traditional paper resume - make sure it tells your story and communicates who you are and what you are about clearly and effectively.
7. Must be very proactive in your education and career search.
8. Being a life long learner is a must in the digital era.
One thing that was reinforced over and over throughout the conference was just how dramatically the photographic industry and photo education has changed over the past 5 - 10 years. The industry is not what it was a decade ago due to the broad impact of digital technology and the internet. This reality has both positive and negative repercussions for educator', students and anyone working in any realm of the discipline.
Being aware of what is going on in the field is the first step to navigate and function successfully in it. Educator's must develop new technological skill-sets (and methodologies) just like our students and working photographers. No one is getting a bye in this highly complex digital / global environment.
College graduates are stepping into a highly competitive marketplace and their success will be determined by how creative they are and how well they understand the digital dynamics of the "wired world" we now live in.
Every facet of our society is experiencing dramatic change and in many cases upheaval. Knowledge is going to be more important than ever before. It's going to be a different kind of knowledge though. I believe it will be an intuitive ability to access, integrate and comprehend new information and then apply it to solving specific problems both within and outside our career disciplines.
Business and industries in this country and around the world are changing at a very rapid rate and its our job as educator's (especially at the Community College Level) to keep abreast of these changes, mostly due to the evolution of technology at all levels of society. Attending professional conferences like these are one way for us as teachers and administrator's to keep informed of the latest innovations in the fields we teach. The issues raised at this conference not only related to the Photographic industry - they related to any business, industry and educational institution impacted by digital technology.