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.
Every two years, the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) holds a two-day conference specifically focused on technology in education. As ACS Egham is accredited by ECIS I have had the privilege of attending several of these events.
The talks at the ECIS conference are for anyone whose work has a technology focus, so they are varied and informative no matter what school role you play. I myself benefitted from giving two presentations and listening to many more at the latest conference in Munich, Germany.
The first of my own presentations focused on my Geek Squad, an after school club for students who are enthusiastic about technology. The aim of this presentation was to explain what our Geek Squad is and what we do – the Geek Squad recently visited Sunrise Care Home to help residents learn digital skills, including the basics of the iPad. The Geek Squad is all about recruiting technology leaders from our Lower School, and many of our students are both talented and passionate about technology, and about passing their knowledge on to others. The Geek Squad also look to the future and understand where their technological ability can lead them – we recently held a Skype call with Disney Infinity coders who work in the gaming industry, and on another occasion the Geeks taught their parents how to better use their Macs. A similar initiative was the ACS Egham Coding Club’s Parents Hour of Code, where students taught their parents the basics of coding.
Last year I was approached by a group of high school students interested in starting up an after school tech club. How could I refuse?
Just over 25 years ago my own interest in technology was sparked as a student of ACS Hillingdon. After choosing the ambitious name “Advanced Technology Club” we set out on our first project. The “iPad Classic” is a hollowed out beige Mac Classic from 1990 with the screen replaced by a stripped down 1st generation iPad. It really is a piece of functional art and now sits in our Technology Museum to inspire younger students.
Shane (not his real name) was an industrious, intelligent seven-year-old with an amazing knowledge about dinosaurs, but a lack of confidence in class. His teacher identified in the iPad an opportunity to give Shane a chance to create something special and different with the app Book Creator. With the help of the IT Coordinator Shane created a non-fiction iBook about his favourite subject, T-Rex; his teacher typed up the words in Pages and then the two of them got to work creating an ePub document that could be uploaded to the iBooks Book Store.