Since joining the Apple Distinguished Educator program in February, I have made multiple new connections in my professional network through the Twitterverse and the ADE community. These connections (for the most part) have been in the digital realm. Fast forward four months or so, now the opportunity to meet these folks face2face has come to fruition with the highly anticipated North American ADE institute being held in Austin, Texas, USA.
This professional development opportunity is mandatory (please, stop twisting my arm…) for new members to the ADE program for new members joining from Canada, USA and Mexico. There will also be members from previous ADE classes that have been asked to take part in the week long institute. Many of these folks connections have been made digitally, and have been invaluable sources of information and have been unconditional supportive guides and mentors during the initial stages.
After being envious of fellow ADE’s engaging and hopping on the opportunity to take in the sites and sounds of Austin, TX. I now FINALLY get to join in and play. The cohort from the YYC (Calgary, AB) all gathered on American Airlines flight (with Mac products of old and new onboard) eager, excited and giddy like young school kids (well, maybe that’s just me…I am just a big kid!).
I haven’t had the opportunity to travel to Austin, but from those who have had the privilege, rave about the place! Music, coffee shops, food trucks, shopping, big bbq, Longhorns and “partying” at the moon-tower (apparently the only state with active illuminating domes) lighting the night sky. I hope to see all of these things and embrace the city of Austin of embrace as much as I can. That I can promise to myself, that I will embrace as much as possible!
The entire week will be filled with opportunities to connect, collaborate and engage in hands-on experiences. Similar to how many of us educators engage our own student learners in challenge based learning, we too will be accessing and utilizing our technological tools to solve real-world problems and create experiences. One of the focuses will be around asking ourselves the question: what is the “One Best Thing” that I believe I am great at? This is a really challenging for me to think about as I try not to “toot” my own horn about the work that I do. Many of the success that I have had with my students in my classroom have been ideas shared, pirated, or collaborated with fellow educators.
One thing that I know that I am really good at it is being a “lone-nut,” taking risks with ideas, projects, and approaches to learning/teaching with my students (and some teachers). Yes, some ideas falter, but many more flourish. It wasn’t just about the idea of the project, but more so the risk and the willingness to try new approaches separates me from many others. Now, this is is where it becomes challenging. The good folks at the ADE institution are looking for something that is slightly more tangible and can be used/replicated/tweaked. What am I going to use for this is the bigger question? It’s not that I am short of ideas of what “One Best Part” may be, it is more the confidence levels of selecting something that I hope won’t be judged, criticized or critiqued negatively. I know this may sound foolish, but there are some amazing ADE educators that I am traveling with and potentially going to meet face2face. What are they going to think of me?
Although the week is going to be filled with connecting, collaborating and building my professional network. I will be reflecting and sharing along the the way through the blog. This week I have a few goals that I hope to accomplish:
- This upcoming school year I will be teaching for the the first time an elective photography course to Grade 6 students, Although I am self-proclaimed(some say proficient even) “selfie” photographer, I want to be more confident in iPhotography.
- Look into how I can create a iphotography course for my learner a using iBooks Author and iTunes university
- and of course, establish my “One Best Thing”
So stay tuned for daily recaps and updates of what is happening at the ADE institute for the week of July 14-19.
Twitter will be an active extension to events throughout the day and will be using #ade2013 as the hashtag extension.
Will also be posting photos and possible quick vids to my Instagram account (@jtpatry) if you want to see some of the action “live” from Austin, TX.