Star Wars Faculty Video

Star Wars Faculty Video

The force is strong with the Hillbrook faculty. Inspired by the Jimmy Fallon & the Roots, faculty and staff at Hillbrook School sang along with their favorite Star Wars tunes. First, enjoy the video, then stick around for the backstory.

Why Make a Star Wars Sing Along?

Our Talent Show is long. The faculty act is the last act. This video lets us have zero setup (the previous year’s Taylor Swift cover with toy instruments took a while to set up), and this video can be shared later if the Talent Show runs long and we need to cut an act. Oh yeah, and we can share it with thousands of people later.


The first step was deciding what our faculty/staff act would be. We decided to copy the Jimmy Fallon & the Roots version, but cut out the Cantina sequence (for time, not because of the “who shot first” controversy (Han did)).

Sing Along & Record Audio

Emily Hendricks, our Tech Support Specialist, booked time with each faculty member that volunteered. She recorded them in Logic Pro X, asking each person to sing along with the Jimmy Fallon recording. For each track, Emily auto tuned and auto timed the vocal so that the pitch and timing lined up. Finally, she muted the original Fallon track, so you only heard the Hillbrook recordings. Pretty simple, and pretty rad. Audio? Check.

“Sing Along” to Record Video

The second step was to get some video. I held up two phones: one phone played the original Fallon video, and the second recorded the “singer.” All faculty/staff needed to do was sing along to the original YouTube video. Note: aside from enjoying my share of quotes, I added those because people didn’t really sing when I was recording them. It should be duly noted (spoiler alert) that some of the people in the video didn’t sing at all. But alas, that’s the magic of video editing.

Sync and Edit

Now that we had an audio track and a bunch of video tracks, it was time to line ’em all up. I used Final Cut Pro X to line up all the video tracks to the audio track that Emily recorded, and used the original Fallon video as a template (sort of) for the layout of the 9 video tracks. Final Cut is great for complicated things like this; here’s a quick tutorial of how to get multiple video tracks on the canvas at once.


So that’s how we made this video. It felt fitting to finally write up a blog post for Star Wars Day one year after this epic video. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You.

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.