Instructional Design Playground: Teach Boldly in the K-12 Classroom

The instructional design playground aimed to transform classrooms into a hub of innovation and creativity and challenged participants to Teach Boldly in their K-12 Classrooms! This exciting event, organized by a team of passionate educators, provided an interactive space where teachers could explore bold new teaching strategies. Whether interested in a guided tour with one of our playground hosts or preferred to wander at your own pace, there was something here for everyone.


  • Alberto Herraez Velazquez
  • Mario Herraez Velazquez
  • Jennifer Williams
  • Lindsay Zilly

The event is part of the larger ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, which focuses on leveraging technology to create more effective and engaging learning environments. This playground specifically encourages a global and intersectional perspective on instructional design, ensuring that we consider and address the diverse needs of all communities.

Playground Setup

The playground was organized into a variety of stations, each offering a unique experience designed to inspire and equip educators with practical tools and strategies for the classroom. Here’s a quick overview of the key areas:

Table Stations

  • Station A: Empowering ELs with Assistive Technology
    Presenter: Tori Cameron
    Theme: Integration of free assistive technology into lessons focused on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to promote equity for English Learners.
  • Station B: SEL: Promoting Friendship Using EdTech Platforms
    Presenter: Ashley Cooley
    Theme: Using various educational technology platforms to foster friendships and social-emotional learning (SEL).
  • Station C: Designing for Perpetuity in the Global Classroom
    Presenter: Julia Fliss
    Theme: Engaging in global connections and collaborative learning through interactive chat stations.
  • Station D: Coaching for Progressive Pedagogy
    Presenter: Billy Spicer
    Theme: Exploring progressive pedagogy and student-centered learning through edtech coaching.
  • Station E: Bring Yourself Into Scratch
    Presenters: Jacy and Maren
    Theme: Using Scratch to foster identity, creativity, and community through coding.
  • Station F: iDREAM Lab
    Presenter: LAUSD
    Theme: Addressing Sustainable Development Goal 14 through technology-driven activities focusing on marine conservation.

Presentation/Demo Stages

Stage 1:

  • Hyflex Learning Ecosystem in Practice
    Presenter: Kirstin Coughtrie and Kate Longworth with Gaia Learning
  • Theme: Demonstrating a hyflex learning ecosystem for neurodivergent learners and participation in climate action projects.
  • Pixels for the People: Designing Playful Learning for All
    Presenters: Jess Boyce and Sean Arnold
    Theme: Creating inclusive, game-based learning experiences that are engaging for diverse student populations.

Stage 2:

  • Boundless Classroom Strategies
    Presenter: Nathan Lang-Raad
    Theme: Innovative approaches to lesson design and engagement in blended and online learning environments.
  • Inspiring Belief Through Representation
    Presenter: Jeff Glade
    Theme: Ensuring students see themselves represented in success stories to foster belief in their potential.

Activity Highlights

The playground offers a myriad of engaging activities and demonstrations that showcase the latest in educational technology and instructional design. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Designing for Perpetuity in the Global Classroom
    Presenter: Julia Fliss + Middle School Students
    Hear straight from students what they want to learn about, what is working and where they  are going to take their passions!

  • Makerspaces as Catalysts for Change
    Presenter: Martha Bongiorno
    Learn how to use Makerspaces to empower students to lead social change initiatives.
  • Growth Over Grades
    Presenter: Scott Bricker
    Explore strategies for creating a learning environment focused on continuous progress rather than grades.

Personal Reflections

Attending the Instructional Design Playground was an eye-opening experience. Here are some of the key takeaways and ideas I plan to implement in my teaching:

Key Insights

  • Technology Integration: Emphasizing the role of technology in creating engaging and interactive learning environments.
  • Inclusive Learning: The importance of designing learning experiences that cater to the diverse needs of all students.
  • Student-Centered Approach: Shifting focus from traditional methods to more student-centered learning that promotes active participation and engagement.

The Instructional Design Playground was a resounding success, providing a platform for educators to explore and experiment with innovative teaching methods. The impact of this event will resonate in classrooms around the world as educators implement new strategies and tools to create more engaging and effective learning experiences.

Action Plan

  • Start Small: Implement one or two new tools in your classroom.
  • Collaborate: Work with colleagues to share ideas and strategies.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest trends in instructional design and educational technology.

Call to Action

Are you ready to teach boldly and transform your classroom? Explore the resources and tools from the Instructional Design Playground and take your first steps towards innovative and engaging teaching.

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