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Dream It … Do It … Create It!

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Tuesday, December 1, 12:30–1:20 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Kristen Brooks  
Heather Marrs  
Traci Piltz  

Students in your classroom should not only be dreamers, but also doers! Learn how to use technology tools to help spark students’ curiosity, dream up and plan ideas, and create projects. Get hands-on experience with some of our favorite tools for student creation and expression!

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: It will be helpful if participants have the following apps loaded or accounts created:
Adobe Spark
Book Creator
Minecraft Education Edition
Topic: Student agency, choice & voice
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Language arts, Math
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.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
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

Engaged students who have ownership of their learning are active participants in their classrooms, and as such, need the opportunity to explore choices, amplify their voices and create content. A teacher who promotes this in her classroom provides students agency for setting goals, telling their stories, and sharing their learning. The purpose of this session is to share our experiences in creating student by providing teachers with the opportunity to explore a variety of ideas and tools that promote choice, voice and ownership in the classroom. We will explore Seesaw, Flipgrid, Book Creator, Adobe Spark video and other digital storytelling tools, with a focus on how these tools can be leveraged to provide students with ownership & allow them to create content.

Participants will:
Explore digital tools to promote student ownership in their classrooms;
Select the appropriate tool to use in different learning situations,
Identify strategies for allowing student choice & content creation in their classrooms regardless of their device environment (i.e. iPads, Chromebooks, 1:1, shared devices, etc);
Learn how to engage students by giving them voice, choice & ownership in their classrooms;
Determine how to encourage students to become agents for their own learning by dreaming up ideas & creating content.


What is student ownership really? Discussion of student ownership and content creation and why it is important. Participants will be involved in this discussion through a digital tool and peer to peer conversations.

Introduction of digital tools that can be used to allow students to dream, plan and create in the classroom. Participants will be introduced to these tools, then have time to explore, play and create using the tools.

Time for creation and exploration using these digital tools with a workshop style format. Each participant will have the opportunity to engage with the tools presented during this session.

Participants will be engaged in a discussion on student ownership & creation through peer to peer conversations, while sharing out whole group using a digital tool such as Seesaw, Flipgrid or Wakelet.
After an introduction of each tool by the presenters, participants will have time to explore, play and create using the tools. They may choose to explore all tools, or focus on one or two that seem most appealing to them for classroom use.

To conclude the session, participants will be engaged in a fun, interactive format where they are able to share some of the items they created with other participants through Seesaw. This will model the value and impact of sharing classroom voice and creations.

Supporting research

There is a plethora of research, articles, blog posts, and ideas available for teachers planning to implement student ownership in their classrooms by giving students choice and the ability to create. The research speaks to the importance of guiding students to be learners who advocate for themselves, share their thinking and learning, reflect on their progress and set goals. The research we have read advocates promoting student agency by providing students opportunities for choice and content creation. Listed below are some of the most effective pieces we discovered:

This article, published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, talks about why it’s important for students to have choice and ownership, and mentions ways teachers can promote this in their classrooms.

This article from Kids Matter speaks to the positive impact on social emotional learning that is attained when students have ownership and are involved in classroom decision making.

The Marzano Research Group emphasizes the importance of creating a learning environment that promotes student agency by encouraging student choice and voice.

Edutopia lists a variety of posts, sharing ways student voice can be amplified across a variety of subjects, grade levels and tasks, including assessment, inquiry, storytelling, comprehension and reading.

More [+]


Kristen Brooks, Cherokee County School District

Kristen Brooks is an Instructional Technology Specialist in the Cherokee County School District, an EdTech Consultant and a Keynote Speaker. She is a veteran teacher of 26 years with the last 16 years specifically in educational technology. She loves empowering teachers to create standards-based lesson plans incorporating innovative technology to engage students into their learning process. To learn more about Kristen Brooks please follow her on Twitter @KristenBrooks77 or find her on LinkedIn.

Heather Marrs, Eagle Rock Elementary
Traci Piltz, Billings Public Schools TILT

Traci Piltz is an Apple Distinguished Educator, PBS Kids Early Learning Champion, Google Certified Educator, and an Ambassador for Seesaw, Book Creator and PicCollage. She taught kindergarten for over a decade, and was one of the first 1:1 iPad classrooms in her district. She has been a technology integration specialist in her district for the past 5 years, helping kindergarten - 3rd grade teachers in her district innovate and integrate with technology. Traci has presented at ISTE 2019, 2017 ADE Academy, NAEYC, NCCE, the Montana State Educators Conference, and various other workshops and conferences in her state and district.

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