My mid-July this year included jumping on a plane and heading to Bethesda in the Washington, DC area to make new friends with teachers and others in the education world who see the use of apple products as a powerful way to get kids creating in, and out of, classrooms. This bi-yearly Institute involved about 400 energetic people, most of whom made impassioned pleas in their application videos. We gathered as ‘The Americas’ and representation came from Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, the US and Canada.
It was a deep-dive into the world of Apple EDU. Talk about slick. The Apple staff were accessible and really pumped everyone up about features in the apps we all love but perhaps do not spotlight in our classrooms enough. Working with alumni and mentors provided inspiration. The workshops and networking opportunities meant we got to share stories, learn from each other and celebrate ‘crazy’ ideas. The ADE Showcases (yikes – I got to do one!), Battlemania and highlighted speakers put the spotlight (literally) on teachers and administrators who truly live the #EveryoneCanCreate mantra.
It was a special event. You felt like part of something – a wave pushing forward with tonnes of force – tonnes of potential. Every four hours my ‘project’ idea changed. Sparks were flying.
4 A’s for ADE Institute! Sure, it could be my score for the immersive event – but more importantly it is a call to action. The four A’s connect to the pillars to which Apple Distinguished Educators holds themselves accountable. Trusted Advisors. Passionate Advocates. Authentic Authors. Global Ambassadors. The heart of the program are teachers who are looking to be innovative and amplify student voice with technology and learning experiences that focus on creation over consumption.
Sound like anyone you know? Send them my way as I’d love to tell them more about the Institute.
There comes a time in life when you need to commit to an idea. As I mentioned earlier, I had all sorts of project ideas swimming around during Academy. In all likelihood I’ll explore a few different directions this upcoming year.
But here is where I’d like to start.
A conversation with a new Canadian friend from the west coast, Gail Stevenson, sparked my interest in the idea of collections. She had visited the nearby Smithsonian Museum of Natural History earlier that week and took photographs of prompts around how viewing a collection of objects let’s us make inferences. What does the collection speak to? Does it give insight into identity, an event, differences, connections?
I thought about how we are all collectors. I have access to many iPads in my classroom and want to explore the digitization process as students curate collections for different purposes. Word collecting (something I’m toying with as a spelling program approach), collecting art samples, identity jar exploration, book-bento-style object representation for themes, even the idea of what the current collection of texts in their reading boxes tell us about their life as a reader. What if Keynote and Clips were used to document these collections and reflections around the curation of the collections? How might this make us more inquisitive as we visit museums and explore collections put together by others? Might a skillset develop that makes us better observers?
So there it is. I’ve said it out loud, and as such I’m committing. In terms of authoring, I think this could be a set of lessons or potentially a small iBook sharing the idea of using collections in the classroom.
So I now have a creative focus for the upcoming year. The Institute provided more thought fuel than I can probably digest, but my backpack is loaded with ideas that will engage my students and put their creativity to the fore-front. It’s going to be a fun year!