Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Creativity for All: Art-Infused, Interdisciplinary STEAM Learning

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Listen and learn : Panel

Matt Dombrowski  
Tim Needles  
Dr. Jennifer Williams  

Creativity empowers students. Cultivating students' creative problem-solving enables students to act as illustrators of the human experience, digital citizens and creative constructors of knowledge. This panel explores the idea of creativity for all and provides resources and strategies to narrow the digital equity divide in teaching and learning.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Curriculum/district specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Innovative learning environments
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Performing/visual arts, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.
For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Share lessons learned, best practices, challenges and the impact of learning with technology with other education leaders who want to learn from this work.
For Coaches:
Digital Citizenship
  • Model and promote diversity, cultural understanding and global awareness by using digital age communication and collaboration tools to interact locally and globally with students, peers, parents and the larger community.
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 presentation is to provide educators with an interactive learning experience inclusive of multiple perspectives on the topic of creativity in STEAM in K-12 classrooms and higher education. Panelists bring varied backgrounds, interests, and experiences with infusing creativity into instructional design and seek to provide discussion that is both thought provoking but also practical. Topics covered aim to support participants understandings of:

Access: build awareness of resources and strategies to narrow the digital equity divide and support all learners in their creative process
Learning Design: design learning that empowers learners as creative knowledge constructors and fosters student agency
Collaboration: build classroom community that fosters collaboration and creativity

Session participants will leave with a curated digital toolkit with related research, ready-to-go resources and lesson plans, and listings of expert educators, organizations, and recommended edtech tools.


Introduction (5 minutes)
- Speaker introduction and educational background
- Importance of STEAM Learning

Infusing Creativity in PBL (15 minutes)
- Getting started with PBL in any classroom.
- Building teams, recruiting collaborators, and designing with an multidisciplinary mindset
- The importance of creating authentic buy-in for the students. (ie power of moments).
- Infusing creativity in assessment that fosters empathetic outcomes. Be the microphone not the voice of our students.

Creating Empathy Driven Student Projects (15 minutes)
-Breaking down academic silos (i.e. the importance of melding interdisciplinary mindsets). Methods/activities on developing true bi-direction STEAM learning.
-Cultivating Community through levels of mentorship
-Peer to Peer
-Student to Teacher
-Bring External Mentors into Classroom

Tools for Success (15 minutes)
-Importance of digital literacy, digital citizenship, and multimodal communication with technology
-Tools (Flipgrid, Adobe Spark, Zoom, Hangouts, YouTube, etc)
-Power of mobile devices in the classroom
-Building understanding and outcomes beyond the buttons

Conclusions, Takeaways, and Questions (10 minutes)

Supporting research

Teach Boldly: Using Edtech for Social Good Illustrated Edition by Jennifer Williams

STEAM Power: Infusing Art Into Your STEM Curriculum by Tim Needles (Author)

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact Book by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Book by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win Book by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Learning First, Technology Second in Practice New Strategies, Research and Tools for Student Success By Liz Kolb

Adobe study shows Gen Z students and teachers see creativity as key to success

More [+]


Matt Dombrowski, University of Central Florida

Associate Professor Matt Dombrowski is Creative Director at Limbitless Solutions Inc, a nonprofit organization within University of Central Florida (UCF). He leads an interdisciplinary team in the development of 3D printed, visually expressive bionic arms and training video games for children with limb difference properly utilize their prosthetics. His work has been featured by Adobe, Autodesk, Unity, Huffington Post, Gamasutra, Fast Company, Smithsonian American Art Museum, GDC, SXSWEDU, and Gates Foundation. He received two of the highest teaching related awards at UCF, the UCF Undergraduate Teacher of the year, and the Chuck D. Dziuban Award for Excellence in Online Teaching.

Tim Needles, Smithtown High School East
Dr. Jennifer Williams, Take Action Global

Dr. Jennifer Williams has dedicated herself for 25 years to the field of education through her roles as an education activist, professor, school administrator, literacy specialist, and classroom teacher. As an educator and author of the ISTE book, Teach Boldly: Using Edtech for Social Good, she champions teachers to use educational technology purposefully for the planet and its people​. She is a professor at Saint Leo University and the co-founder of TeachSDGs and the non-profit organization Take Action Global. Connect with Jennifer on Twitter at @JenWilliamsEdu and at

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