Being an Apple Distinguished Educator

Apple Distinguished Educator

Author: Ryan Barnett

Upper School IT Integrationist and Apple Distinguished Educator at ACS Egham

I was delighted to officially become an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) earlier this year after attending and completing my training in Amsterdam. I want to share with you the steps I took, what it means to be an ADE and how I will be using this at ACS Egham to support our technology in the classroom ethos.

To be an Apple Distinguished Educator means being someone who inspires and motivates other teachers and students, someone with a can-do attitude, a listening ear to share ideas, and a support system to help find solutions.

I have always had a great passion for technology and the ADE institute is like Disney World for technology teachers so I filled out the application forms earlier this year which also included a three minute video describing how I used technology in the classroom. As it was my first time applying I was not expecting much and was very surprised but privileged to have been accepted onto the ADE programme 2015 from over 20,000 applicants.


I travelled to the Netherlands in July for my four day training course which mainly focused on team building, content development, collaboration, and thought leadership. The days were fast-paced and packed with workshops and learning activities.

Becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator has really opened my eyes to the many opportunities that technology in the classroom can create for students. I was able to learn about the educational benefits of using iTunes U, a classroom app that teachers can use to plan lessons, add their own teaching resources such as documents, worksheets, web links, photos and videos; and iBooks Author, an app to create digital textbooks. All ADE’s are also required to create either an iTunes U course or iBook on a topic based on our teaching which would then be published on the App store.  I have created an iTunes U course for Lessons in the Classroom based on Digital Safety for students in Middle School.


An ADE’s primary focus is to engage our students in the classroom and encourage them to tell their story through technology. My main focus for the school as a whole will be adopting the use of iTunes U and training teachers how to use it. So far I have used our preplanning week to introduce staff to iTunes U and everyone has been enthusiastic. The goal next year will be to expand on the iTunes course and to incorporate training documents and videos to it not only for staff but also for students.

For school departments I am looking to introduce iBooks Author to encourage departments to go paperless; and to focus on subject specific apps which are quick to use and help create an easy workflow.

One of my other goals is to assemble a group of students to be ‘Tech Ambassadors’ in the school, training and promoting the use of apps to students and teachers. I believe that integrating technology into the way of school life is the best way to help students and staff advance their skills and help students leave ACS Egham with the ability to understand and keep pace with the rapidly changing online and technology community.

Ryan Barnett

Upper School IT Integrationist and Apple Distinguished Educator at ACS Egham

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