Sparking Creativity Using Digital Tools to Enhance Learning

*AzTEA is pleased to announce the winner of the Sparking Creativity Contest for Spring 2017! Submissions were limited so only one prize was awarded. However, we will be hosting the contest again in Fall 2017.

We would like to congratulate Rebecca Zimmerman (classroom teacher,) Rosie Roman (teacher assistant), Alma Preciado (1:3 assistant for students) and the students of Ms. Zimmerman’s class at Sevilla West in the Alhambra School District on their use of Adobe Spark in their writing.

Sevilla West is a 4-8 grade school located in the Alhambra School District and is home to 1,200 students. Their demographics are 80% Hispanic and 90% free/discounted lunch.

The class that was involved in this project was a Sensory Communication Classroom for students with Autism. This class has students whom typically would be at a different school but are bused to this classroom for their Autistic needs. The students range between 4-8th grade with a wide span of academic, language, and sensory needs.

The project was based on ISTE Standard One: Creative Communicator - Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

In the project, each student took their writing piece and made their own individual video using Adobe Spark Video. Parents and some district staff and school staff were invited to come into the classroom to view the videos. For an introduction to Parents day, the class created a video to show the parents what steps were taken. All the students were involved making the class video and then they were each responsible for their own videos.

Their Spark Video submission can be seen at

For their work, Ms. Zimmerman will receive a one year’s subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, curtesy of Adobe.

Below is the information for the Contest. Please keep your eyes and ears open in the fall when we run the contest again.

The Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA), the state affiliate for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Adobe are hosting a contest to collect examples of how you use Digital Tools to enhance learning in your classroom. We are particularly interested in examples that allow students to personalize their learning.

We will be awarding a one-year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite for the use of digital tools in preK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 classrooms across Arizona.

The contest is open to all public, charter, and private school PreK-12 teachers and students who are members of AzTEA. You may make multiple applications from a single class or multiple classes in your school.

The winner at each level will receive a one-year license to Adobe Creative Cloud and a Digital Badge. All submissions will be highlighted on the AzTEA Website and the winners will be asked to present at an AzTEA Conference.

Participating is easy. You will use the free Adobe Spark to tell your story.


What we are looking for?

We are interested in your story of how a digital tool or tools has impacted student learning and why you think your use is innovative. Using Adobe Spark to tell your story, we are interested in how any digital tool or tools have impacted your students.

So we will ask you to think about and discuss the following:

Learning Outcomes

What was the impact of your use of the tool to improve learning? Here we will be looking to see if there were clear learning outcomes . In other words, we will want to know how your use of a digital tool demonstrated some improvement in a student’s life. What has changed for the student and what evidence do you have of that change?

What might be examples of evidence? Student's grades improved, attendance went up, participation in the learning activity increased in a positive way, the ability to assess student learning improved, or student behaviour improved.

What isn’t an example of evidence? A survey showing that students liked the technology.


Tell how the tool allowed you to significantly redesign a current learning activity or how did the tool allow you to do what was previously not possible?


Using the Adobe Spark storytelling platform - mix and match any of the formats, Post, Page, or Video - and have your students tell the story.

Your story can be told through a single Post, Page, or Video. However, you might also think about a mashup of any of the formats. Note: if you choose to do Spark videos, they should be no longer than two (2) minutes

But here’s the catch, we want you, as the teacher, to identify your use of digital tools. But we want your students to be the ones who create your story using Post, Page, or Video or a combination of formats.

Now we realize that a kindergarten class of 20 students won't have the same production skills as a high school class. But that's Ok. Just involve your kiddos to the best of their ability and let us know that in your submission. We'll take that into account

Alignment to ISTE Standards

In your submission, we will ask you to include a description of how you are using the new ISTE Standards for Students 2016 to guide your instruction. If this can be included in your student's story, great. If not, we will ask you to include a description in the application form.

So you will be the one to identify how the tools you use enhance the learning experience for your students, but your students will be the ones to tell the story. Some classroom creation ideas:

  • Whole Class: Create a project where each student in the classroom gets to add something to the project
  • Each Student: Each student in the classroom create an individual project
  • Small Groups: Students work in groups of 3-5 to create a project.

Remember, this contest is the story of how your students are using digital tools to improve their learning and it’s about creativity.


All entries will be judged by education professionals including members of the Arizona State Legislature’s Education Committee. Currently, the following people have committed to judging

  • Mr. Michael Barcia | IT Manager, Arizona School Boards Association
  • Ms. Phyllis E. Brodsky | Assistant Professor of Practice, Office of Instruction and Assessment, The University of Arizona
  • Dr. Melody Buckner | Director of Digital Learning and Online Education, The University of Arizona
  • Ms. Jill M. Broussard | Pinal County Superintendent of Schools
  • Dr. Jacqui Clay | Cochise County School Superintendent
  • Mr. Ben Forta | Senior Director, Education Initiatives, Adobe
  • Ms. Monica Gilfillan | Personalized Learning Consultant, Edgenuity
  • Mr. Michael Griffith | Director, Instructional - Learning Technologies, College of Education, The University of Arizona
  • Dr. Christopher Johnson | Program Director and Assistant Professor, Educational Technology, The University of Arizona South
  • Mr. Dale Johnson | EdPlus, Arizona State University
  • The Honorable Jay Lawrence| Vice-Chair, House Education Committee
  • Mr. Daniel Leis | Principal/Owner, EOS Education
  • Mr. Mark Masterson | Associate Superintendent and Chief Information Officer, Arizona Department of Education
  • Ms. Cathy Poplin, Executive Director, AzTEA
  • Susan Rodriguez, NBCT | Navajo County Education Specialist
  • Ms. Laura Sheehy, Technology Integration Specialist
  • Ms. Debra Telis | Arts and Technology Consultant
  • Mr. Dustin Williams| Pima County Superintendent of Schools
  • Dr. Nan Williams, Director of Technology, Alhambra Elementary School District
  • Paul Winslow, FAIA | winslow + partners
  • The Honorable Kimberly Yee | Vice-Chair Senate Education Committee

Dates And Deadlines

  • Contest begins: Monday March 13, 2017
  • If you can, attend our webinar on Thursday March 23rd from 4:00pm to 5:00 pm Arizona time where Ben Forta, Adobe's Senior Director of Education Initiatives, will provide an overview of Spark. Visit this page to participate. A recording of the webinar will be posted here after the meeting.
  • Your application should be submitted online no later than midnight, Friday, May 5th, 2017. Note, if you are making more than one submission you will need to submit one form for each story. We apologize for the inconvenience but it is the only way we could set up our judging software. Our suggestion is to write your answers in a word processor and then copy and paste. Click here to see the information we will be requesting. NEW! Click here to see the rubric we will use to evaluate your submission.
  • Judging will take place during the weeks of May 8 to the 19th.
  • You will be notified during the week of May 22nd.

I'm in! How do I begin?

First, if you are not currently an AzTEA member, sign up here! Membership is $35.00 and along with allowing you to participate in this contest, you get all the great benefits of being an AzTEA member.

Next, we want to know that you are interested. Please visit this short form where you will be asked for your name, school, city, email, and competition level. We will use the information only to let you know of resources that are available or other announcements about the contest.

We will not give this information to anyone else and providing this information simply means that you are interested and does not commit you to actually making a submission. It is just our way to provide up-to-date information on the contest.

However, if you provide us with this information and submit, you will be entered into a random drawing for a year's license to Creative Cloud.

We also want others to know so if you plan to participate, tweet “I’m in” with the hashtags #AzTEA #AZSparkingCreativity #Adobe #SparkMade. If you do this, and submit to the contest, you will be entered into the drawing for a license to Creative Cloud. Do both and double your chances.


  • Identify one or more ways that you use digital tools to facilitate learning.
  • Have your students use one or more of the Spark formats to create a story.
  • Submit the URL and some additional information to the following website. Note, Make sure you check out this page to see the information we are asking of you.
  • Finally, remember that we must all be good digital citizens so any submissions containing images of people, teachers, students, or others, must have the appropriate photo releases. Use whatever release is appropriate for your school.

What's in it for AzTEA and Adobe?

We will be using your submissions to promote the use of digital tools to a broad spectrum of people from parents and school board members to legislators and other policy makers.

So, as part of this contest you will need to allow AzTEA and/or Adobe to use your submission in our advocacy and/or advertising efforts. We understand that you and your school retain all rights to any original materials not provided by Spark included in your submission.


We will be hosting a webinar on Thursday March 23rd from 4:00pm to 5:00 pm Arizona time with Ben Forta, Adobe's Senior Director of Education Initiatives. Visit this link to attend. We will also be posting a recording of the meeting here.

Visit the Adobe Education Exchange Spark page for lots of tips and good information.

And make sure to check out the Spark Professional Development kit from Adobe.


Questions on the contest or if you need help or ideas, contact Chris Johnson at or Cathy Poplin, AzTEA Executive Director, at or call Cathy at 602 899 5813 and they will help you find the information you need.

This contest is licensed under a Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution. I you would like to talk to use about our experience and perhaps conduct a similar contest, please contact Chris or Cathy using the information above.


Created with images by Elijah - "Social Media Success with HootSuite" • dschap - "classroom computer technology" • Barrett.Discovery - "P1000641" • jerrykimbrell10 - "excited smiling female" • Sophieja23 - "woman question mark person"

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