From 14 June to 20 June, I had the honour of being invited to attend the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute in Austin, Texas. In education we often speak about being “lifelong learners” and “21st century skills” but what this week did was really test our understanding of these concepts and it took us on a rollercoaster ride through what is really possible and what we, as educators, can help our students to achieve. The theme of the conference was “everyone can create” and we were introduced to the new syllabi that has been created to be introduced in schools around the world. I didn’t hear the word “grades” once, nor did I hear about any standards or assessment. Our 5 days were spent revelling in creative projects and learning as much from each other that we could.
As a PBL aficionado I was especially interested in the great work that peers are doing in challenged based learning in Australia and around the world. It was also lovely to receive validation that our projects at the end of the year were more challenging than a lot of them had tried with their students and that we were on track to create something quite unique for our students.
There are amazing learning experiences coming out in iWorks and also the Apple Pencil is revolutionising learning. The buzz we got from drawing chickens that moved was ridiculous... but clearly the same joy our kids experience when they have those light bulb moments too.
We witnessed amazing showcase presentations where peers stood up in front of 400 people and had to tell “a story” in 3 minutes... if they went over the time then the lights went off and their microphone clicked off. High pressure stuff! The stories were impressive. From gender equity in the classroom, through mapping who speaks and correcting it to how the ADE family supported a member when there was a horrific tragedy in his school district.
There was also “ADE Battlemania” where ADEs battled against each other by showing tips and tricks in 60 seconds or less that others may not know (I think I knew 1!) The collaborative spirit and lack of ego surrounding the whole institute was refreshing and no one wanted to be praised... they just wanted to share.
Being able to have conversations outside of your comfort zone and experience professional development of this caliber is something that we, as educators, need to constantly seek out. I cried, I laughed, I sang, I drew, I created, I learnt, I coached, I was coached, I met friends, I met mentors, I loved every second.
If you’re interested in anything that came out in the institute then pop over to Twitter and follow the following hashtags:
#AppleEDUchat, #EveryoneCanCreate, #ADE2018