Quarantine life leaves little room for the moments of serendipity that lead to discovery. Online Today at Apple sessions offer a low barrier to entry and a high potential for creative growth. The virtual experiences might just be Apple’s best gift for educators this holiday session.

I’ve been trying Apple’s online creative sessions this fall while stuck at home. Through Sisterhood Stories, London Craft Week, and now Make Your Holiday sessions, I’ve been exposed to new perspectives and creative ideas I wouldn’t have found on my own. At its core, this is what Today at Apple has always been about. But if you’ve taken an in-person session at a local Apple Store in the past, it’s important to note the differences.

Online Today at Apple sessions are hosted through Webex, Cisco’s video conferencing tool. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad to join, download the Cisco Web Meetings app ahead of time to avoid missing the start of your session.

Mac users are guided through an installation process or can join through a web browser.

Photo Skills: Festive Family Portraits with Apple Michigan Avenue

When you join a session, your camera and microphone are automatically muted. You won’t see the names or faces of other participants. Each session is hosted by a team of Apple Creative Pros from Apple Stores all over the world and American Sign Language interpreters are present for some events.

At every session, an Apple team member is dedicated to moderating the private chat and relaying questions and responses from participants. During the Art Skills: Gratitude Grams session I attended on Tuesday, one specific comment stuck with me: a teacher noted that they were sharing the session with their students.

My 30-minute Gratitude Gram created in the Notes app during a session with Apple Carnegie Library.

Many students have switched to virtual learning during the pandemic and schools still operating in-person are often seriously constrained to protect the safety of students and staff. An online Today at Apple session is a great educational break from the monotony of a socially distant classroom or the isolation of at-home learning.

Teachers can feel comfortable that Apple is providing a safe and appropriate environment for people of all ages and that the privacy of students is kept paramount. The Make Your Holiday sessions require little more than an iOS device and 30 minutes of your time to attend. Both sessions offer tips using the built-in Camera and Notes apps, meaning there’s no additional software to pay for.

Events with special guests are moderated by Apple’s team and include Q&A opportunities.

The current series of Make Your Holiday sessions runs through December 31 with multiple daily events still available. Expect more virtual sessions in the future. To get your feet wet, try one of these highlight sessions with notable guests coming up after Thanksgiving:

If you or your class attend a great Today at Apple session, share your experience with us. Follow along on Twitter for daily Apple Store news.

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