This year our ADE Institute was held on the Gold Coast, Australia. Famed for its sunny skies all year round, I was looking forward to institute with some excitement, and a good dose of trepidation. The weather was not that sunny. But other than that, institute delivered in abundance. The reason for the trepidation was that I was doing a showcase. This entails a three minute speech in front of some of the most forward thinking, idea-generating educators on the planet. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I don’t use the word literally lightly. I was literally reciting my speech constantly. Before leaving, I was reciting my words to my computer screen and out loud at gym. Then all the way on the plane, and as I fell asleep at night. Even while shopping I caught myself delivering the three minute speech out loud…to no one in particular. Here it is, my two minute, 57 second delivery.
Thankfully, it was pretty well received, which really puzzles me. All I did was tell a story derived from my class. But I guess that’s what engages people, an authentic story. I’m hoping that this year we will be able to replicate this story in more classrooms around my school, if not further afield.
I found once my three minutes were up, I could focus more fully on the institute. My greatest takeaway came from a very simple concept taken out of the impact workshop:
What do you plan to do in the next 5 days; 5 weeks; 5 months to make an impact? What goal will you set yourself over this period of time? Simple yet highly effective. My personal 5 day plan (give or take a few days) has been to update some of my books in iBooks Author, and write this blog post. My 5 week plan is to get some more buy in from departments across the school for the Everyone can Create project. #bringcreativityback. My 5 month plan is, amongst other things, to complete the cross curricular project we started for 2020. Working with both the performing arts and music departments lends itself perfectly to the creativity theme. And of course with the anniversary of #Apollo50, I intend to get a lot of AR inserted into the Hidden Figures film study for my year 11 students.
The other big take away was the sheer brilliance of Keynote. It is so much more than a slide deck or presentation app. I saw the capabilities of combining Keynote and AR for digital storytelling, by Paul Hamilton Then we had the brilliance of Jonathan Cho who, through Keynote and Numbers (!) showed how stories can be told in a linear or non linear way, with students choosing the narrative pathway. Students can write stories with alternative endings by linking slides. Check out their Twitter accounts for resources and ideas.
Next up we looked at how to create podcasts through GarageBand. Handy given that our year 10s will be creating podcasts this term. While on the topic of GarageBand, we had an awesome display of brilliance from John Danty , product manager and all round guru of GarageBand. I’ll be approaching our music teachers to collaborate on the end of year Create project and get their assistance with GarageBand. Not that the students seem to need it, they just get stuck in and create “sick beats.”
And of course, our mentor group, which was led by both myself and JJ Purton-Jones We enjoyed co-leading a group of diverse educators from across our region. Being part of a group like this opens up connections that cross over language and cultural barriers. Particularly when you realise that you all have a similar goal in mind, and that is improving education for our students.
It was fantastic to connect with educators from across the Asia Pacific region. Someone said that we should prioritise sharing ideas, because that’s how we can make a dent in the world. Again, simple yet effective advice. But as I reflect on all the learning, I think it’s important to remember why we share ideas and collaborate with these awesome educators. Not for our own gain, although professional learning has been immense. Not for new content for showcase presentations. That’ll come from our classrooms. The reason is so that we are better equipped to unlock the potential in every student that we have an influence over.
As the African proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child…but it also takes a village to educate a child. If these dynamic educators that I had the privilege to rub shoulders with are anything to go by, our students are in good hands.