Browsing Tag Apple

Apple Distinguished Educator Application

Apple Distinguished Educator Application

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:

Authentic Author

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:

Global Ambassador

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:

Passionate Advocate

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.

Six Ways Shared Photo Streams Will Change Your Classroom

Shared photo streams will change your classroom. In case you missed the memo when iOS 6 was announced:

With Shared Photo Streams, you can share just the photos you want with just the people you choose. Select photos directly from the Photos app in iOS, iPhoto or Aperture on a Mac, or even a Windows PC. Enter email addresses of the people you’d like to share with (or add new photos to a Shared Photo Stream you’ve already created).

CNET has a great tutorial for how to use shared photo streams, but I don’t care as much about how to create it. I care about how to integrate it into the classroom. That’s where the magic is, and the implications for the classroom are huge!

Class Photo Stream

Take photos of your class, your students, and your work. Create a photo stream for your classroom. Share the URL with parents. Share student work, homework examples, experiments, and classroom activities. Take a photo, and instantly your class parents can see it. This could almost replace a classroom website.

Sync to the School Computer

Easily get photos to your work computer. In the past, I would take a photo on my iPhone, email it to myself, open the email on my laptop, and download the photo. Now, all I need to do on my phone is add that picture to a photo stream. I created a photo stream just for getting photos to my work computer called Laptop Share. Those photos show up at  a URL like, and I can download the photos.

Student Projects

Students can share their own photos, and classmates can like or comment on photos. If you’re using Evernote for student portfolios, you’re already taking photos of student work. Feature the best work (it’s already been photographed for Evernote) in a student’s or class’ photo stream.

Special Events

If your class has a performance, game, or other epic event, take photos on your iOS device. Add them to a new photo stream, and share that photo stream with families.

Visual Literacy

Create a photo stream dedicated to visual literacy. Share a captivating photo, and ask students to write about it. They leave comments in the stream, so it will show up as more of a threaded discussion than a journal. If you’ve never tried this, writing about an interesting photo is a powerful, simple writing prompt.

Here’s a photo that tells a story. Students could write about the firefighter, about the helmet, why the helmet has soot. They could write a story about how the captain that wore this helmet saved the day… you get the idea.


The next time you attend a conference, share the photos you take. Instagram and Twitter are temporary sharing solutions, and email photos is just annoying. A shared photo stream allows your friends and colleagues access to photos you want to share.

If you’re already using shared photo streams in your classroom, please share how else you’re integrating it. If not, I hope this gives you some ideas that you can apply today.