At the end of July, I had the privilege of attending the ADE Global Institute in Berlin for four days of jam-packed professional Development. The Apple Distinguished Educator programme has a new intake every two years, with me joining last year as part of the ‘Class of 2015’. In the intervening years, they run what is called the ‘Global’ Institute, where nearly 400 ADEs from around the world gather together for a week. In order to attend the Global Institute, existing ADEs have to submit a two-minute video demonstrating what they’ve been up to for the last few years and how they’re sharing that wider. After spending a half term in February cobbling together a video about how we use Explain Everything and Showbie at my school, I was surprised but pleased to secure a place.
Here are some highlights for me from the four days:
Meeting Apple people
On the first day, we had product demos from the Product Managers of things like Keynote, GarageBand and Final Cut Pro X. It was inspiring to learn tips and tricks from people who know the apps inside out and to then think of ways that could be used in the classroom. I was particularly blown away by the new ‘Live Loops’ feature of Garageband, which allows for the easy creation of electronic dance music through arranging and triggering loops. There’s a great GarageBand for iOS Starter Guide that walks you through all this, which is well worth a look.
What was particularly cool was that you could then talk further with these guys over lunch, rather than just listening to a workshop. All the Apple people were really keen on hearing our feedback on products as educators, and I didn’t hold back coming forwards (basically, keep porting OSX stuff to iOS – iBooks Author I’m looking at you!)… Trying out Apple School Manager for the first time and then being able to fire questions at various Apple engineer people was very helpful!
Meeting old ADE friends and new
It was really great to catch up with ADEs from last year’s Institute and also meet face-to-face people that I had been in touch with via the online ADE community but had never met in person. I also met lots of new ADEs and was inspired by hearing people’s stories a bit more. In a world of digital community, it was really refreshing for the effort and time to be given for people to meet in person. The ADE community wouldn’t be what it is if it didn’t gather together at different times.
Day trip to Berlin
On the Wednesday, we were all sent off around Berlin to explore the city and go on a learning adventure ourselves. My little group went for an open-top bus tour, taking us around places such as Checkpoint Charlie and other parts of East Berlin. It was a fascinating insight into the history, and sobering to remember how different things were in Europe not so many years ago.
Running a workshop
An ADE friend Benji and I got to deliver a workshop during the Institute, looking at managing Macs and iPads on a budget. It was not hugely well attended (7 people?), but it was fun to do and hopefully helpful to those attending.
At some point every day, 12 or so ADEs presented what they were doing in their educational setting, with a strict 3 minute time limit (complete with countdown timer) to do it in. This was always inspirational, but I was particularly stuck by the ADEs who were using the accessibility features on an iPad to really help out those with physical or learning difficulties. At my school we have some iPads assigned to children with SEND, but I know there is much more that I could be doing in this area.
After taking up sketch-noting last year, it was fun to return to an Institute armed with an Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro. The Pencil really does make a huge difference, as does the larger canvas of the 12.9″ iPad Pro, and I certainly enjoyed capturing and processing my learning in that way.
Looking back at my comments after the 2015 Institute, it certainly made an impact on the last academic year. I’m looking forward to the year ahead!