As I was in the midst of a 5 mile Stand-Up Paddleboard Race for Charity Event today on New Jersey’s Navesink River, I had the following epiphany: I am now a stronger person in everything I do because of the transformational experience of becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator. Might, I add that the ADE 2013 institute from which I returned was the most exciting week of my teaching career. I have always felt that it is good to have lists so here are my top ten reasons why the institute rocked!!
One- The power of the room- as Angela Maiers stated on her blog this past February “The Smartest Person in the Room IS the Room.” Well, I was sure happy to share a room with the most intelligent, passionate, and creative group of individuals that I have ever met. From sunrise to the wee hours of the morn educators were constantly engaged in various awesome happenings, events, and conversations and you could feel the synergy everywhere.
Two- Power of the PLN- When I wandered around the ballroom on the second day with a sign that said “Augmented Reality” I felt a bit like a lost puppy looking for a chew toy or maybe just someone to play with. Well I was sure surprised when I met my teammates Trish Calella and Jim Kinney who were equally as obsessed with Augmented Reality as I am. I did not think that was possible but we spent the week exchanging meaningful ideas. My teaching practice and my use of Augmented Reality with my students was elevated because of my collaborative experience with these two fine educators.
Three- Meet the Developers- What a great event that was!! I felt so blessed to meet and personally thank the folks from Socrative for I have been using their site for almost two years now. Also, while meeting developers of apps I already use like Socrative, Explain Everything, and Evernote felt like saying hello to old friends, it was also great to be exposed to new apps and developers — many of whose products I will be blogging about in the near future (like later on this week) so stay tuned.
Four- The ADE 1 to 3 Showcase – We began on Tuesday night with the extremely talented Sue Gorman treating us to a mesmerizing video clip about iPads and community involvement and we ended on Wednesday night with New York City boy Patrick Fogarty showing us how his classroom rocks and rolls with iTunes University. Each short story by each ADE was so unique I laughed, I cried, and I laughed again.
Five- iTunes U announcement- Since we were all feeling warm and fuzzy about collaboration it was great news when Apple announced that multiple authors can work on a course together in iTunes University. Not only can we collaborate as ADE’s but also this will help us within our own institutions. Since I had WI-FI on the plane ride home I was already emailing two of my math teacher colleagues about creating a joint iTunes course in the 2013-2014 school year.
Six- APP Speed Dating- This concept was presented in an awesome 1 to 3 showcase by Chicago all-stars Kristin Ziemke and Carolyn Skibba. However, they gave a shout out to ADE Class of 2013 member Mauri Dufor who originally came up with this concept. While Kristin, Carolyn, and Mauri are all elementary teachers my mind is already spinning thinking of how this concept can be tweaked and used for the gamification of PD with adult learners.
Seven- Meeting the Avatars- Until this conference I knew very few of the ADE’s on Twitter. It was wonderful to meet so many tweeps face 2 face. Thanks to Twitter and other platforms our conservations can extend beyond the conference.
Eight- Ability to Back Channel on Twitter- Since the community is so connected on Twitter I could be sitting in the Advanced Keynote Session and know what was going on in the session next door, down the hall, or downstairs. Thanks to Twitter I never felt as though I as missing out on session materials because I was not physically in that session.
Nine- One Best Thing Project- thanks to the feedback from my PLN I left the conference with a good degree of clarity about what my iBook will look like. The Critical Friends Protocol that we engaged in on Thursday was meaningful and valuable. I cannot wait to see the One Best Thing publications because the amount of talent behind them is phenomenal.
Ten- Final Party- We worked hard so it felt good to end the week and play hard. We are all rock stars so it is appropriate that we ended the conference with some onstage karaoke so we could all channel our inner rock star. I enjoyed being one of the Village People and doing YMCA. ADE’s this Jersey girl has mad love for all of you.