If ever there was an event to take a sledgehammer to my end of year funk , the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) global institute in San Diego was it.
After the phenomenal Asia/Pacific institute in Bali last year, my expectations were high. Apple didn’t disappoint.
The institute was not a conference where participants spent much time in ‘sit and get’ mode. Instead we found ourselves recording water samples on an app, looking at plankton through a live view in our iPad, adopting trees, sketch noting, hunting for iBeacons and sharing stories about what is going on in our classrooms to make learning more awesome for our students.
The San Diego event also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the ADE programme. Over the course of the event How frequently teachers elevate their ADE selection as a life changing event. While a cynic might suggest that the fantastic hospitality provided by Apple encourages devotion by ADEs to both the programme and the brand, I think the connection runs deeper.
I suspect that many ADEs are the oddball on their teaching staff. They challenge the status quo, ask difficult questions and are highly passionate about using technology to transmogrify learning in their classes.
In short, we’re geeks.
The ADE programme is our tribe. We arrive as strangers and leave with a group of life-long friends. While a shared love of Apple technology is what brings us together, it is the connections ADEs make with each other that motivates us to travel great distances year after year. The institute was a chance to make new friends, reconnect with old ones and more importantly reconnect with my old teaching self.
The challenge from this institute is to bridge the gap from conference to the classroom. At times I remember sitting at the in the institute feeling overwhelmed at the creativity and innovation from the ADE tribe. But then I remembered we all started out the same way, with some technology and an idea to do something differently. For me that starts with a welcome to a new school year idea fermenting in my head.
The purpose of this post has not just been to recount my experience but encourage to other teachers to apply.
Applications are open for the new intake of teachers for the programme will happen later this year. I encourage women teachers in particular to put their name forward.
Too often awesome teachers think there are people far cooler and more knowledgeable out there. But chances are if you are reading this post, you’re already a bit of geek so why not share that with others?
You don’t need to be part of a 1:1 Mac programme, just have a passion for using Apple products and willingness to connect with the world beyond the walls of your classroom.