I have started this reflection several times since arriving home from the ADE event in Singapore, but it is incredibly difficult to explain the experience. Several of my colleagues have asked what I learnt, or what I ‘get’ from becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator, and I find myself stumbling over words. It feels something like Taylor Mali, the teacher whose spoken word piece ‘What Teacher’s Make’ shows just how many elements can be squeezed in to that one seemingly innocuous question.
The one thing that I ‘got’ from ADE can be summed up in one word that does not seem impressive when justifying a week overseas: relationships.
Yes, I heard from engineers and product managers for iMovie and iTunes U. Yes, I had my photograph taken by the amazing photographer Bill Frakes. Yes, I have access to discounts and a few free goodies. But really, these are just icing on the cake. My most precious memories are talking to teachers from Malaysia, China, America, Korea, New Zealand and sharing ideas with them. Making connections with teachers from around Australia and knowing that we will continue to share, collaborate and innovate together. There are already plans for meet ups, conferences, start ups that over time will evolve and become amazing, not because of the tech, but because of the people behind them.
I have been asked why I want to align myself with a brand, and had people question whether teachers should become aligned with business. Some of those questions should need a post of their own, but really the short answer is I have not aligned myself with a brand, I have aligned myself with a way of thinking. I have aligned myself with people who are as passionate about education as I am, and can see that the current model is failing. I have aligned myself with a movement that is determined to bring innovation, creativity and the love of learning back to the education system. I am just lucky that Apple provide products and opportunities like the ADE institute to help us make that happen.