Friday, July 12, 2013

About being an Apple Distinguished Educator

I have been very blessed this year with a few great opportunities that have been very reinvigorating for me.

About a year ago I did some serious reflecting over my 23 years in educational technology and how I got to where I am. It was an unintentional career(see the bottom of the post for background).  

I decided that if I was going to try to accomplish more and have a fulfilling second half of my career that I was going to have to go against my natural inclination of being too shy and having a lack of confidence. So, I decided to step out there and here we are.

On February 19th I received an e-mail from a friend telling me congratulations on becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator. I hadn't received anything official.  How did they know??  I checked my spam mail and there it was, the official notice from Maxx Judd, ADE Worldwide Program Manager. I was so excited, nervous, proud, honored and a dozen other similar feelings all at once.

About a week later I got the icing on the cake.  I was named a New Media Consortium K12 Ambassador, one of 22 from around the world.  Another great honor!

Now, I was raised in a little bitty town with a very typical protestant upbringing.  I jokingly say my mother used to tell my brothers, sisters and I that we "weren't so special and we didn't have to act like we were". Now that I'm older I know what she was trying to say. It was her teaching me to be a humble person and I think that contributes to my insecurities about trying to step out of my comfort zone. Because of this, self promotion is hard for me. I try to be a humble man.

After I got the notice, I didn't want to tell anyone. I never told my staff. They know now somehow. I tested the waters on Twitter. Built some confidence and posted on Facebook but didn't make a big deal.

Applying to be an ADE, for me, was more about opportunity. It was also about validation. It helped validate in my mind that what I believe about education is shared by others.  

That being said, next week I am attending the North America 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Austin. There will be over 100 educators from K12 and Higher Education from Canada, Mexico and the United States.  

I hear that it will be one of the best weeks of my career and I have no doubt that it will probably exceed my expectations. I look forward to meeting new friends, new co-learners, new mentors, and new leaders.

What new opportunities are in for me next?  I don't know today, but I bet I have some ideas a week from now!
I was in my senior year at the University of North Texas in Denton completing my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing - 1990.  It was a big year.  Met my beautiful soon-to-be wife and got engaged. Immersed myself in the art world.  Worked as a welder for a sculptor for a few months.  Got a part time job at the Texas Center for Educational Technology in the UNT College of Education.

I didn't even know the term "educational technology" before I got that job.  I was a clerk, which I think was the male title for a secretary.  I answered phones, ran errands, made copies, stapled, collated, and used my first Mac.  Here I am today.

It wasn't that I had not used computers much.  I bought my first computer when I was a freshman in high school - a Commodore 64.  I got the money by selling my first place countywide broiler chickens at the Bee County Livestock Show in Beeville, Texas.  That is how I got started with computers.  After that I was president of the first high school computer club in the very first computer class at Pettus High School in Pettus, Texas.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Troy:

    Thanks for sharing a bit about your journey to becoming an ADE! I felt the same in regards to the validation that being welcomed into such a great professional community has provided. Looking forward to reading about your reflection post-institute!


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