Every time I try to sit down and compose a blog post about last week’s Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute… I can’t.
It’s not that I don’t want to! I *literally* can’t type the words. Even with every letter in the alphabet and every word in the dictionary, anything I attempt to share here will fall short.
How can I convey here the feeling I had when I walked into the first general session, realizing that nearly 400 educators with hearts like mine from nearly 40 countries were gathered there? When I saw the back of the ballroom, and all of the telephone-booth-like contraptions all lined up, filled with global translators so that *every* educator could be a part of the conversations happening in that room, I was literally overcome with a wave of emotions. Humility. Anticipation. Excitement. Pride to be a part of such a unique community.
Through workshops facilitated by ADEs and Apple staff, we learned so much from the best of the best at Apple. So many powerful feature updates with huge potential for creativity!
— Sharon Drummond (@Sharon_Drummond) July 17, 2018
We collaborated in teams, brainstorming and offering feedback on our passion projects. Familiar faces reunited, and new friends made in an instant that, without this opportunity, may never have crossed paths. The focus – creativity. A search on Twitter using the #EveryoneCanCreate hashtag won’t leave you disappointed.
A few of many, many highlights for me include:
Stephanie Thompson’s 3-Minute Showcase: Using ‘Equity Maps’ to empower students with relevant, accessible, and meaningful data. You don’t want to miss this one – talk about “seeking students who hide” taken to a new level! INSPIRING!
Working with “Homeroom 56” to brainstorm, share ideas, and begin working on our creativity projects. What a fantastic bunch – instant friends! Here’s our ice-breaker video, exploring creativity in light of having access to so many tools and features. Rather than get overwhelmed, we decided, to get started, it’s important sometimes to simply #ChooseOne. The advice to “simplify, simplify, simplify” liberated us this week.
— Sarah Lill (@Lilltechtips) July 16, 2018
Activities in ADE Central, including “Expert Labs” where we could learn and receive feedback in a smaller-group setting about all sorts of Apple tools. Light-hearted competitions like “Battle Mania” where folks dueled on the stage to share the most interesting tips and tricks brought many a-ha’s and a lot of laughs!
— Shaun Brooker (@lostarefound) July 19, 2018
Rooming with my colleague and pal, Lisa Johnson! Though we work in the same district right here in Austin, we’re at different campuses serving different roles, so having the chance to chat and debrief was a great opportunity. She also compiled an amazing blog post of resources and ADE events that you should check out!
The Lobby Piano Concert Crew. With a focus on creativity, and a piano in a cozy corner of one lobby area, singers and musicians alike couldn’t resist a good sing-a-long. You’re looking at a group of us that stayed up singing 3- and 4-part harmonies until 3:00AM… for perhaps 5 consecutive hours?!?! I think it’s safe to say that none of us teaches music as our profession, yet a common interest had us all sacrificing sleep for the opportunity to share our creativity through music – real piano, real voices, but technology close by to provide lyrics and chords. What a blast! I’ve added a few songs I forgot that I love to my HomePod favorites playlist, thanks to this bunch… and so many others who aren’t pictured here, who opted to sing for a time… and ALSO get some sleep! 😉
My favorite part of all? The continued conversations and collaborations that keep happening even though our time together in Austin is over. Brainstorming on Twitter, sharing ideas, taking action on things we said we’d do, offering and receiving feedback, and continuing to build professional friendships is what makes this a community, versus several days of excitement. The Institute is AMAZING… but the global after-party is what really keeps us all moving and shaking.
Thank you for allowing me to be me. A tweet by Jennifer Gonzalez was so timely this week. She shared a post from several years back with an epic title:
— Jennifer Gonzalez (@cultofpedagogy) July 23, 2018
I can completely relate to that blog post! It’s powerful to be in a place personally and professionally that I take pride and joy in embracing the title of ‘dork’. When my pal Michael Mills shared this photo he’d taken of me, rather than want to hide under a rock, I celebrated my positively dorky self, and all of those whom I’ve befriended who would also wear the dork title as a badge of honor. Be joyful. Have passion. Trying too hard to be cool is just plain boring.
I mentioned that ADEs were charged with a project, so here’s a sneak peek at the work I’m doing. I’m working on an opportunity to share through an eBook about my love for math visuals, Apple’s powerful “presentation tool” Keynote, and combining the two as a creative outlet that’s supported by brain research… be on the lookout for the final draft! Fun fact: I used the new Drawing feature in Keynote to trace over a video of my own eyes, creating an animation that’s truly personal! Another note: I placed quotes around the words “presentation tool” when describing Keynote because I find that most other “Keynote Dorks” use Keynote for everything! Sometimes “presentation creation” is the last thing we do with this most versatile tool (though it’s GREAT for presentations… but it’s also GREAT for so many other things… visualizing math conceptually being one of those things!)
Plugging away at my #ADE2018 project! Folks are often curious about the visuals I create and share. My best pal = #Keynote! Authoring an eBook to share WHY and HOW visuals created in Keynote can help Ss explore math relationships! #EveryoneCanCreate #KeynoteForMath #AppleEDUChat pic.twitter.com/F0eY9exuAU
— Cathy Yenca (@mathycathy) July 24, 2018
So, reading this back, it falls short of describing the whole experience, but I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be. So many conversations, big and small. So many ideas and friendships. And thanks to all sorts of social media, our conversations never stop – we’re just getting started! Maybe you’re curious about becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator and you’ll apply next year? In the meantime, you and I can enjoy the continued sharing by searching through the hashtags below.
Sincerest thanks to everyone who played a role in planning and executing this Institute! Your hard work and intentional planning were apparent in every experience!