I have absolutely no idea where to begin. I am in fact, for perhaps the 3rd, 4th or even 5th time in my life, lost for words however, i am sure they will come… eventually.
During early January i was fortunate to find out that i had been selected in to the Apple Distinguished Educator class for 2013. Now, i had discovered this via email from my Principal who had emailed and congratulated me when in fact i had not yet received the email from Apple, and it was not until that email came through (not that i do not trust the big cheese, ;)), i needed conformation before i began letting people know!
2 years earlier my then assistant principal had applied and was successful and i must say that there was a little bit of jealousy seeping in as i have only ever heard good things about being involved in this Institute. And, when i think about it, I very rarely hear of people being accepted in to institutes and programs to then bad mouth them later on. Unless perhaps it’s a cult of some kind!
So… I have spent the past week in Bali, Indonesia, with all 2013 ‘newbies’ from Australia and New Zealand and a host of Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Japan. From memory there were roughly 240 all up!
In total there were approximately 330 people in attendance and this made up all newbie’s, plus Alumni ADE and Apple Staff also. 330 people who all had a shared vision and desire to teach and teach well, whilst integrating technology in to their settings to support learning and teaching practices!
I have been involved in a lot of professional learning in my 10 years. Some great. Some not so. And there there was this. A focus being placed on professional growth and creating transformational content for our learners and colleagues. This took professional learning to a whole new level.
To have all people in attendance that were focused on changing the practice of teaching and learning through technology, was amazing! This is where this Institute as a PL differed from others. I’ve been to PL. I’ve been disengaged. When this happens there is something that you can sense and detect within a group. But not lats week. All attendees felt as though the page we were on was the same. And this in itself = amazing.
Now if i were to go in to the in’s and out’s of the week i may as well write a novel! The week was in no uncertain terms. Full. On.
I think i am starting to sound like a giddy 8 year old boy who was very excited and is still excited about… something! But i am. And so i should be.
It was a nervous experience to be sent away to another country to spend a week with some of the greatest educational minds going around. Minds that like my own, have a passion for education and technology integration.
The way in which the week was structured allowed for a great deal of time to be spent with those in attendance. Time that encouraged and fostered relationships to be forged that then snowballed in to a professional learning network of highly skilled, dedicated educators.
After having a week and a bit now to sit back, relax, and think about the week that was, it’s time to share the personal highs. Those things that will stick with me for years to come.
Now… This post has ended up being VERY LARGE AND LENGTHY. I have decided to butcher it completely and run a series of reflections of those high’s that i had!
So… i thought it a fitting start to actually inform people of what an ADE actually is.
Well, as the ADE Community Space mentions “The Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) program is a relationship program focused on educational excellence and leadership. ADEs are members of a select group of K-12 and Higher Education professionals possessing an identified expertise in educational technology leadership. This group of over 1,500 educators spans the globe with membership in the USA, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.”
The 1,500 educators is now currently at a little over 2,100 which is an indication that this institute is growing and recognising more and more educators around the globe that are doing great things! And of course, those things involving teaching, learning, and Apple Technologies.
The embedded video below also indicates well what is expected from those who are excepted as ADE’s. The notion that this is a community of educators who are:
Passionate Advocates: ADEs are passionate advocates of the potential of Apple technologies and they provide expert assistance and best practices to educators and policy makers. ADEs are frequent presenters at local, state, national and international educational conferences.*
Trusted Advisors: ADEs provide valuable input to Apple on the realities of integrating instructional technology into learning environments.*
Authentic Authors: ADEs publish authentic work to share with peers such as teaching and leadership best practices, exemplary lesson ideas, and a range of content items that showcase Apple products and technologies for the advancement of education.*
Global Ambassadors: ADEs are innovators in building community and capacity for teaching and learning in a global context. Through online projects and collaboration tools, they empower each other to expand the walls of the classroom and bring global experiences to classrooms everywhere.*
At this stage, before i start delving in to my reflection further via new posts, all i can say is that if you are an educator that is passionate about education, and the massive influence that technology integration can have on learning, then applying for the ADE program is a great community to be part of.