Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ADE Class of 2013 - We were on fire!

As I finally find time to reflect on the ADE Institute a few weeks ago, I find myself filled with pride and a sense of belonging.

I do have to admit that at the beginning I felt like I was at summer camp.  That feeling of being alone and lost. I didn't have many friends there.  I didn't know who I would be "stuck" with.  I didn't know what I might do that might embarrass myself. I felt in awe and a little intimidated by the amazing talent of the other ADEs.  I didn't know my place.

Let me tell you, Apple has the best camp counselors around! From the first person I met in the registration line through the end of the week I have rarely felt more supported and encouraged.

My fellow ADEs are incredible.  I felt overwhelmed to be in their company.  Their contributions to education give me an incredibly bright outlook.  They are truly amazing people.

So, when I returned to work I was asked several times about what it was like and there is a lot I can't speak about.  It's hard to describe anyway because it was all an experience and it is hard to describe experiences.  Besides, describing individual activities or events doesn't do the Institute justice.

The Experience
Lets just say the week was a well-designed learning experience that provided all the necessary ingredients for learning.  There was a driving question, there was scaffolding, there was team-building, there expert resources if needed, it was comfortable, it was safe, it expected results and it authentically gave us the motivation to deliver results.  

Wrapping It Up
I can't describe the whole week in a single blog post but I do want to sum up what this experience means and how it translates to today's learners. In our district we use the HEAT Framework for lesson design so I wanted to rate it on the HEAT Scale and see how "hot" it was.

Higher Order Thinking
We were a level 6 - Student learning/questioning at evaluating/creating levels. 
We, as learners, were expected to create. Creativity at the highest levels of Bloom's was encouraged, expected and cultivated. We were encouraged to not just create, but curate great resources for our audience.  
Engaged Learning
We were a level 6 - Students collaborate to define the task, the process, and/or the solution; collaboration extends beyond the classroom. 
The whole week was centered around collaboration and working in our PLNs to accomplish our individual tasks that will ultimately complete our project. 
Authentic Connections
We were a level 6 - The learning experience is directly relevant to students and involves creating a product that has a purpose beyond the classroom that directly impacts the students. 
Our project was very authentic to us, especially for our PLN.
Technology Use
We were a level 6 - Students use self-selected digital and/or environmental resources to accomplish learning outcomes beyond the use of conventional strategies. 
We had access to so many tools and learning resources designed to deliver new content for our audience. Tools like Keynote, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro, Motion Graphics, iBooks Author, iTunes U, etc. provide new ways to create and deliver content.

Final Thoughts
Despite the unusually cool weather for mid-July in Austin, Texas, the learning was HOT. Obviously Apple and all the attendees were on FIRE last week.

I am sure I will be analyzing this week for months to come and trying to incorporate what I learned into my own position.  I thank Apple, Maxx Judd, Don Henderson, Rebecca Stockley, Maria Henderson and all the other Apple employees that made this one of the greatest educational experiences of my life.

I also want to thank my new friends in my PLN. It is an honor and a privilege to get to know you and I look forward to learning from each of you!

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