Edtech Solutions
Network Summit

Classroom Creativity Is Not Dependent on the Edtech Tool

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Location: Room 255-7
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Explore and create : Creation lab

Kayla Towner  
Matthew Winters  

Teachers often work to provide creative projects and solutions in their classrooms but limit themselves to a small number of tools. Creativity can happen with any edtech tool in Microsoft or Google, it just takes a bit of know-how. Let's explore different tools to instill creativity in your classroom!

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Professional developers, Teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Google Workspaces for EDU and/or Microsoft Office365
Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
  • Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In a technologically enabled classroom, a teacher often relies on a small group of educational technology tools. Although choosing a small group of high quality, flexible edtech tools is appropriate for most classrooms, if the teacher only understands the creative process with those tools in mind then it may stifle student creativity if they prefer another tool. Teachers being able to decide which tool is best for their content and their students is key. Furthermore, being able to see how different tools might offer different outlets for learning is deeply important to developing creative solutions for today’s learners.

Often schools tend to focus on one of two large tool sets that are often wrongly placed as diametrically opposed: Google Workspaces for EDU and Microsoft Office365. These two large tool sets individually offer teachers and students a wealth of creativity tools for our classrooms. Whether creating a digital breakout room, a student portfolio, or exit tickets for our students, both tool sets offer solutions for building a creative product with our students. However, each tool set offers specific challenges, engagement strategies, and perks within each process which makes the tool set unique for students and teachers.

In order to help teachers focus on being more creative and engaged with their students, our program proposes viewing Google and Microsoft not as two diametrically opposed systems, not even as competitors, but as tools meant for the varied situations of everyday 21st Century teaching.
As trainers at Utah Education Network, Kayla Towner, our Microsoft Office expert, and Matthew Winters, our Google expert, have worked together to build a set of teaching procedures centered around creativity, engagement, and student learning rather than tools and their inner workings. This process focuses on two current teaching procedures (entry/exit tickets and student portfolios for personalized competency-based learning) across grade bands with an emphasis on which tools in Microsoft and Google working together to help build student learning. Teachers will see how teachers can use Google and Microsoft Forms to create an exit ticket; also it is important that students are showing competency in their learning. Therefore, students should be able to track their own progress in Google Sites and Microsoft Sway. Teachers will explore how to build a portfolio of engaged learning activities for their classes that focuses on being tool agnostic.


For a 90 minute Creation Lab, we will follow this outline (it can be adapted to fit a 60 minute Creation Lab as well):

10 minutes:
Zine Q&A activity
While teacher are building their Zines, Kayla and Matt will introduce themselves
Share a brief overview of our program and why being tool agnostic is important
Get audience logged into our Nearpod

5 minutes:
Quick share from audience about their Zine Note Taking

15 minutes
Entry/Exit Tickets
Introduce the common idea of an exit ticket and how to engage in the process for and with students
Kayla will show tools from Microsoft that provide engaging entry/exit ticket experiences for students
Matt will show some ideas for Google

10 minutes
Teachers will build their own entry/exit ticket to share on Google Site or Sway
Teachers will be divided into groups by grade level to help facilitate idea building
Kayla and Matt will model proximity and coaching by roving around the room and engaging with teachers

5 minutes
Teacher will share their URLs for their projects and we will post them on our Google Sites and Sway

20 minutes
Student portfolios
Quick discussion about personalized competency based education and Utah’s Portrait of a Graduate
Student portfolio template options in Microsoft
Student portfolio template options in Google

15 minutes
Teachers will work on their own or in pairs to build a portfolio from a provided template
Teachers will be asked to pair with a teacher from a different grade band than their own (example: an elementary teacher and a high school teacher, a middle school teacher and a college educator)
Kayla and Matt will model proximity and coaching by roving around the room and engaging with teachers

5 minutes
Time to wrap up and share their templates back to Kayla and Matt
Teacher templates will then be shared on our Google Site and Microsoft Sway

5 minutes
Show a few other quick projects that teachers could make with choices from both Microsoft and Google
Share our social media and where to find us
Finish (approx. 90 minutes)(If a 60 minute session, we would go directly to Student Portfolios)

Supporting research

4b9d1341-Ddaa-47bc-8052-f029e794d513.Pdf. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

BURNIE. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

Eckert, Jonathan. “8 Steps to Making Feedback More Effective.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 19 Aug. 2021, Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.

EJ1219672.Pdf. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

P-20 Competency Exemplars Utah Talent MAP. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

Student-Centered Must Be Human-Centered | KnowledgeWorks. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

Utah Talent. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

Utah's Portrait of a Graduate. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

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Kayla Towner, Utah Education Education

I am passionate about implementing learning that focuses on student agency, which means providing students with more choices and ways to show competency. I also enjoys working with Canvas LMS and integrating Microsoft Office tools. I am ISTE Certified and has a Master’s Degree in the Arts of Teaching from Westminster College. Prior to joining UEN, I was an elementary school teacher in Utah and South Korea. Overall, I am enthusiastic about getting students excited through technology and guiding them to critically and creatively think.

Matthew Winters, Utah Coalition For Educational Technology

Matthew Winters is a Sr. Technical Trainer for Utah Education Network in Salt Lake City.

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