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Creativity Playground, Inspiring Creativity and Collaboration

Explore and create

Explore and create : Playground

Thursday, December 3, 11:00 am–12:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Lyndsey Balfe  
Alicia Bankhofer  
Meghan Blackburn  
Tami Brewster  
Patricia Brown  
Tara Cahill  
Martin Coutts  
Dr. Theresa Cullen  
Bronwyn Desjardins  
Laurie Doran  
Karen Irwin  
Carla Jefferson  
Jason Kathman  
Kammas Kersch  
Kurt Klynen  
Jennifer Lacroix  
Chuck Langston  
Erika Moser  
Mat Pullen  
Lyndsey Stuttard  
Joe Tong  
Jason Trinh  
Miriam Walsh  
Jacob Woolcock  

Supported by Apple Distinguished Educators! Discover how educators all over the world are using technology to enhance creativity and collaboration. Join Apple Distinguished Educators for a thematic experience celebrating the magic of the movies, with hands-on activities that transform teaching and learning.

Audience: Teachers, Professional developers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: iOS
Laptop: Mac
Tablet: iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Camera
Apple Books
Voice Memos
Reality Composer
Sketches School
Swift Playgrounds
Topic: Personalized learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this thematic playground is to provide the audience with a hands on experience and basic overview of how Apple Distinguished Educators are transforming education. Educators are becoming content creators, providing personalized learning experiences for their learners. We will explore the various ways in which drawing, photography, video, music and coding can be used to enhance the classroom experience linking it to the theme of Independence Day. Authentic examples will be provided from across a wide variety of classrooms as well as hands on experiences creating content on the devices.


Activities around:
Green screen
Augmented Reality
Process: Station Rotation
Time: 15 min per station

Supporting research

Why Creativity Matters

Research has shown — that creative expression leads to deeper student engagement. And when students are more engaged, they take more ownership of their learning. Students become better problem solvers, communicators, and collaborators. They explore more and experiment more. They tell richer stories and find their own unique voices. They stretch their imaginations and make connections they might not otherwise make — and carry all these skills through everything they’ll do in school. And beyond.


Drawing encourages the mind to observe the world more closely, consider how things are put together and how they work. It lets students articulate concepts that exist only in their imaginations, in ways words just can’t.


By exploring and capturing photos, students can better understand the realities of the world around them.


Video gives students a powerful means of interpreting ideas, expressing their thoughts, informing, influencing, and inspiring their audience.


Music helps us enrich and tell more powerful stories.


Coding is essential to help students thrive in a future driven by technology. When you teach coding, you also teach skills like critical thinking and problem solving.

More [+]


Lyndsey Balfe, Teacher

Lyndsey is the Digital Leader and teaches practical subjects such as Wood Technology in Swords Community College, a 1:1 iPad school. She is a qualified carpenter and brings years of experience to her practical classroom. Lyndsey is an innovative and creative educator who is passionate about using technology to enhance learning in her classroom. She is particularly passionate about amplifying learner voice to ensure that all learners experience personalized learning through the use of technology.

Alicia Bankhofer, RGORG Antonkriegergasse Vienna

Alicia is an English and Digital Literacy teacher at Middle School level in Vienna, Austria. As the coordinator for eLearning at her school she has specialized in Mobile Learning, Flipped Learning as well as Game-Based- Learning, where she focuses on developing communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking with learners in personalized learning scenarios. She also conducts workshops in teaching training sessions on topics such as Blended Learning or Developing Digital Competence.

Meghan Blackburn, Lexington School District One
Tami Brewster, TamiB Inc
Patricia Brown, Ladue School District
ISTE Certified Educator
Tara Cahill, Grand Prairie ISD

Tara is an Executive Director of Technology, Integration, and Information Services in Texas and has been using instructional technology to create meaningful learning experiences for more than 26 years. She enjoys helping other educators see the benefits of experiential learning and how they can make the learning stick for their students. Organizing, developing, and delivering professional learning using Apple technology are her favorite activities. Tara now works with district and campus leaders by empowering them to lead by example and create success in their own departments and schools.

Martin Coutts, Round Peg
Dr. Theresa Cullen, Arkansas Tech University
Bronwyn Desjardins, Independent

Bronwyn is an award-winning educator and published author with over 20 years teaching experience.She has spearheaded the iPad rollout at the Girls' Prep since 2013 where she runs a comprehensive approach to integrating iPads. Her depth of systems administration knowledge coupled with her passion for EdTech, make her skill set unique in its comprehensiveness when advising schools, staff and students.

Laurie Doran, School District of Philadelphia
Karen Irwin, Ballyclare Primary School

Karen is an Early Years teacher and Head of ICT in a large primary school in Northern Ireland. She is passionate about using Apple technology to enhance teaching and learning, especially with younger children. She believes that age is no barrier to creativity and proves this daily in the classroom through the use of everything from Digital Playbooks and Coding to Augmented Reality and Photography, all using iPad.

Carla Jefferson, Darlington County School District

Carla Jefferson is an instructional technology coordinator for the Darlington County School District in South Carolina. A 22-year veteran educator, Jefferson has been a classroom teacher, curriculum facilitator and school- and district-level administrator. Her passion for technology and teaching has led her on a journey to assist her district in making a digital transformation. Jefferson works with administrators, teachers and classified staff on effectively integrating technology into their learning spaces. Jefferson and colleague Rhett Hughes co-host the #dcsdtransforms podcast where they spotlight innovative work in their district and share new and creative ways to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Certified Apple Learning Specialist, Google Certified Educator/Trainer/Innovator, Google CS First facilitator, Remind Connected Educator and a member of the Remind Advisory Board. Jefferson has been recognized as a 2010-2011 Darlington County School District Honor Roll Teacher and as the 2016 Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator for South Carolina. She currently serves as a member of the South Carolina ASCD board, is the chair for the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) Instructional Technology Roundtable and is a member of the ISTE Digital Equity PLN. Jefferson is passionate about digital equity and helping people understand that it’s the blend of equity through access and opportunity that will change the game in our learning spaces.

Jason Kathman, Jamestown City Schools
Kammas Kersch, Chester County Intermediate Unit
Kurt Klynen, Apple
Jennifer Lacroix, English Montreal School Board
Chuck Langston, Gordon County Schools

Chuck is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for a small school district in Northwest GA. He has helped to guide the district when it comes to instructional technology from the beginning of their iPad 1:1 in 2017. He is also an Apple Learning Academy Specialist that loves sharing innovative and creative ideas with his teachers.

Erika Moser, Chesterbrook Academy Elementary School

Erika is an elementary music educator and tech integration specialist at an Apple Distinguished School outside of Philadelphia, PA. She has a passion for designing cross-disciplinary learning experiences that allow all students to express themselves creatively and authentically, while meaningfully engaging with technology.

Mat Pullen, Jamf

Mat is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of South Wales. He leads on developing students skills in digital technology to enhance learning and teaching and is transforming how future teachers approach their approach to what education looks like.

Lyndsey Stuttard, ACS International School
Joe Tong, University of British Columbia

Joe is an adjunct teaching professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He’s a sewist, a maker, an amateur cook (see him on Food Network Canada’s Wall of Chefs), and loves everything design. He focuses on creating quality digital content for accessibility, equity, and inclusion in his courses and prepares teacher candidates to leave the teaching field better than they found it.

Jason Trinh, Toronto District School Board
Miriam Walsh, Independent

Miriam is a Further Education teacher from Ireland. She teaches digital media and coding to students who are returning to education. Through links with industry she identifies skills which will prepare students for entry into the 21st century workplace. In addition to this she supports educators in her local community as they commence their journeys towards tech integration in their classrooms.

Jacob Woolcock, Penpol School

Jacob is a Computing teacher and an Apple Distinguished Educator based in Cornwall, UK. He is passionate about providing exciting learning opportunities to his pupils whilst also pushing the boundaries with his colleagues to ensure they can succeed at every opportunity with iPad. Jacob also shares high-quality video guides for educational technology via his YouTube channel which feature quick and inspirational tips for making the most of classroom technology.

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