Friday, July 25, 2014

ADE Institute Take-Aways

Nearly a week has gone by and I'm sitting at my desk, reflecting on the amazing week I had in San Diego with a heavy heart.  I miss my ADE Global Community terribly.  The week at Institute was unlike anything I ever imagined.  That's because the minute I arrived at the airport in San Diego I felt valued and appreciated for my contributions to education.  That sense of appreciation remained all week.  So thank you, Max, Don, Ivey, AP, Jason, the ADE Board, and all the Apple Staff who so carefully crafted an incredible week to honor and celebrate the work of educators.  Because of you I was able to reconnect with old friends and meet new ADEs from all over the world.  I was able to further develop my understanding of transformational pedagogy.  You have all  become my family.  Relationship, I have grown to learn, is key in building and transforming learning environments.  That's because without sharing, learning has no where to go.

Below are a few of my take-aways from the ADE Institute in no particular order.  Enjoy.

A Theme Goes a Long Way
The theme for the ADE Institute was Change Over Time.  This theme was integrated into each and every experience Apple organized for us.  Before arrival, we preloaded our iPads with iTunes U courses, iBooks, apps and content that would allow us to easily navigate the week and interact with materials and each other.  Every speaker, from Apple staff to guest lectures to park rangers incorporated some form of Change Over Time into their presentations.  Our skills changed over time as we were introduced to new concepts such as sketchnoting, the process of creating a personal visual story while listening to a speaker, reading, or recording an experience changed over time.  I became more proficient at the skill.  The intentional weaving of the theme into learning experiences was no accident.  Note to self - always be conscious of this as I develop content.

Practice What I Preach
Every educator should put a learning hat on and immerse themselves in a PD experience using the pedagogies and technologies that transform education. 
At the institute, we used iBooks relevant to the theme, Change Over Time.  We downloaded an iBook to provide background information about La Jolla Cove prior to visiting the cove and taking a self-guided walk of the area.  This iBook provided information about plants, geology, birds, marine life and the cultural history (changing through time,) of the area prior to us experiencing the beauty of La Jolla.  Off site visits provided authenticity to the Change Over Time theme, validating the learning experience.  Expectations and access to information to further my study were provided in the iTunes U course.  Using a variety of applications to both document the experiences and research further, we then shared our learning experiences in a variety of social media platforms, taking the learning global.  Reflection and challenges were built into the process. 
I’ve been practicing and encouraging transformational teaching for several years but have never been a learner in this model.  Wow!  Each and every PD course I create will be sure to emulate my experience at ADE Institute.

Share, connect, develop relationships and grow.  When we take our learning to a global level and reach out and participate in a diverse, growing arena of learning we continue to grow and learn from each other.  Our ideas resonate, grow roots and develop into ideas that spawn amazing experiences for our students. 
At the ADE Institute we were given permission, and time, to build relationships, converse, laugh, play, and work together.  This creates a community of learners who are free to dream and innovate.

Do something with knowledge gained so it continues to grow.  When you create and share, even from
a reflective point, you place a stamp on the world that wasn’t there before and your feeling of importance grows.  Belonging and importance are essential needs of every human being.   I created and shared sketchnotes via twitter and shared images I took via Flickr - all of which connected me to others willing to take risks and share what they were learning and doing.  My upcoming goal will be to tell my ADE Institute story through video and then to create an iTunes U course related to 20% time in the classroom.  Don't worry, I'll share them :-).
Create good content too - keep it rigorous, don't dumb it down.  Ed Olson Wilson, the creator of the Life on Earth iBooks series states:  teach the subject of science from the top down not the bottom up.  Create curiosity by asking really good questions and build that into your instruction.  Drew Barry, the molecular biologist and individual responsible for creating the amazing animations in the Life on Earth series emphasizes the need to never dumb the science down but instead to edit the tasks to accommodate all learners. 

Communicate - Globally
Take advantage of every opportunity to meet someone new, interact with experts, listen, ask questions, and share.  The more you do this the better you become at this.  Even the introvert inside me has grown to appreciate and value the art of communication.  Today there are so many avenues for expression and communication - public speaking, blogging, photo journalism, video, etc…

Think Critically
Always!  Ask questions, reflect, evaluate, find relationships and do this with vigor.  Be curious and investigate.  Grow grit!

Take time to celebrate everything, successes and failures.  When teachers try something new, celebrate, regardless of outcome.  Recognize that success comes from failure and celebrate that too!  Celebrate a job well done, an accomplishment, an effort.  Find joy.

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