I applied to be an Apple Distinguished Educator for the Class of 2017, and wanted to share my application with you. It was a lot of work, and it seems silly to only share this with the ADE judges.
Most of the ADE application was a two minute video–there’s a lot of stuff I wanted to share in that video that didn’t make the cut, particularly the songs I’ve recorded. So, here’s a bunch of EduAwesome stuff related to my application. But first, here’s my application video:
Here are some of my favorite videos I’ve created. My YouTube channel, with 4500 subscribers and 8.2 million views, is a place where I share my expertise in using technology.
Here are 15 of my favorite ed tech songs I’ve written and recorded. In an earlier draft of my application video, I featured several of these songs. I wanted to give the judges a feel for what I create, and music is a significant part of my identity. In the end, the video flowed much better with one original song under the entire video.
Some of these songs are originals, some are parodies, and some are songs I’ve written with an audience during a conference session using GarageBand. All songs are original recordings. All songs are recorded using GarageBand. Feel free to download and/or use for your own projects.
I’ve created a lot of content to promote powerful ideas for improving teaching and learning. Here are links to some of my favorite content:
Let’s connect. Here’s where to find me online. I share my ideas about improving teaching and learning the most (by far!) on Snapchat. If you’re on it, it’s time to jump on. I’m still on Twitter, and share amazing things there, but nearly all of the transformative conversations I’m having are on Snapchat:
Finally, here is the transcript from my ADE video:
Hi, I’m Bill Selak. I write songs. I make movies. I take photos, but most importantly, I reimagine learning experiences.
At Hillbrook School, our learning environment is our 14-acre campus, not just an indoor classroom. We build and launch rockets, and use iPads to capture slo-mo footage, and present the data in a Keynote slideshow.
We capture environmental changes over an entire school year through a sit spot study, deeply looking at small parts of our campus.
When we are in classrooms, we push the boundaries of traditional subjects. Students use Swift Playgrounds to learn to code, and develop computational thinking.
We have a week-long coding event each December where every student on campus spends two hours coding using apps like Swift Playgrounds.
Our photography elective at Hillbrook has evolved into an iPhoneography elective, where students shoot, edit, and publish their images… all on an iPod Touch.
We collaboratively create worlds in Minecraft, sharing globally through presentations at ISTE and our podcast.
In fact, our use of iPads is so transformative that educators from around the world are asking us for advice.
We host guests like the Ministry of Education in Singapore, and work with ed tech organizations to create things like the BOLD Classrooms conference, where we will take a deep dive into online lesson design.
We share our expertise beyond our campus through a school podcast on iTunes. Our school also presented at the NorCal Apple Distinguished School Showcase. On my personal podcast and blog, I talk about improving teaching and learning, and through my iTunes course I share best practices for teaching video in the classroom.
I share these practices at the higher ed level, teaching educators how moviemaking, music production, and universal accessibility can empower student voices.
I present at local and national conferences. In my favorite session, our group collaborated using Garageband to write, record, and publish a song… all in one hour!
The future is getting even brighter at my current school, where we are working on building a makerspace, podcast production studio, and moviemaking studio.
With Apple technologies, we can reimagine educational experiences, and I work to bring those experiences to life every day.
I was just in the office of my elementary school. I happened to have my iPad with me (checking Twitter) and the office staff asked to see new pictures of my newborn (she’s super cute). Everyone crowded around the iPad, oohing and aahing, when the clerk mentioned her two year old granddaughter has an iPad. The office staff was amazed that a two year old could use an iPad. I mentioned this YouTube video of a two year old confused by a magazine, but enthralled with an iPad. Shocked, the staff (including my principal) asked for more. I shared a few apps like There’s a Monster at the End of This Book. I could begin to see the gears turning in my principal’s head. And it occurred to me…
Most educators don’t keep up with technology.
As an ed tech teacher, I integrate technology into my classroom regularly. I spend time learning about the latest ed tech tools, and work to build that into my class. I talk to like-minded teachers on Twitter about the latest and greatest. My classroom is constantly evolving.But, this is not how most teachers teach. We, as believers of classroom technology need to do more than just make our classroom amazing. We need to share how we learned about these tools (“Here’s a great resource–I learned about it on Twitter.”), and not just keep it to ourselves. We need to create opportunities to educate administrators about great technologies. We need to not just model technology integration, but be advocates of it.
Non-tech teachers/admins will only used technology when they have to. And most of the required technology stinks. I even complain about using DataDirector, BlackBoard, eCollege, etc. If that’s all they know, it’s no wonder they don’t care about integrating technology into the classroom. There’s this world of great technology they’ve never seen. That’s where we, the ed tech evangelists, come in. Be pro-active, and create opportunities to share exciting tech with those teachers. If they see how amazing this is, they will want to change. Then they will change. And then their students will change, too. And that’s the goal.
Administrators don’t know what they don’t know. I demonstrated a simple app today and jaws dropped. If we simply expose others in education to amazing tools, the culture of schools will begin to change. It’s necessary to share with others that are already passionate about tech, but at some point we need to reach beyond that, or it becomes a feedback loop. Rather than conversations being us-to-us, make it us-to-them. Share with non-tech teachers. Explain it to non-tech teachers. Model it to non-tech teachers. Get out there and evangelize.