So I am sitting in the airport about to leave #ade2017 – this is Apple Distinguished Educator Academy.. This was my first time attending as an alumni and got to welcome a new class of amazing individuals as well as interact with others from my class and those before me.

It is hard to encapsulate the experience in one post – and I may have other things to say about the community in the future.. but let me blurt out a few first thoughts..

These are the most creative and impassioned individuals I know..  

What do we share in common – a few things.

  • We are creative and impassioned
  • We all have technology knowledge – each of our expertises are different – but we share that as a baseline.. (ie.. you don’t have to explain what you know with these people or why technology matters).
  • We come from many different backgrounds but are all committed to education and innovation.
  • We are able to develop their additional areas of expertise – so if you passionate about PBL or Challenge based learning – this a space where you can make a name for yourself on things that you care about (i.e.. I feel as though I can be more than an ed tech teacher, they get that those are just tools)

The Apple Distinguished Educator Community is hosted by Apple Inc of course – but have been a fundamentally important community to my professional development, fueling both ideas and renewing my relevancy to my the future teachers that I teach. We talk about all kinds of tools but more important the pedagogy behind them and the fundamental supports they can provide to all learners.

It has provided me with resources when I struggled, but motivationally and technically and a safe space to excel. I know that where I go personally and professionally is influenced by this dynamic network.

Apple Distinguished Educators for me is my Professional Learning Network (ADE=PLN) 

This is what a PLN (Professional Learning Network)  is supposed to be.. a ZPD – a Zone of Proximal Development where we can be more together than we can by ourselves.  Being in a good one, makes me examine all the PLN’s to which I belong and consider the criteria or bar that I can use to judge their effectiveness and value to me.

I found this blog post from 2011 about PLN’s and what they should provide? Is your PLN providing this to you? and if not, what can you do to change that? or is the PLN worth your time?

5 Reasons Teachers Should Create a PLN Now!

Michael Mills uploaded a picture of me from ADE2017 – I think this picture is worth a 1000 words.. my last two favorite pictures have both been taken at ADE events. They leave me feeling energized, full of ideas, new connections, and opportunities – how do you feel when you finish interacting with your PLN?

Thank you to the community for your support, your opportunities, and challenging me to be better than I can by myself.




On my Way to Apple Distinguished Educator Academy

So this is my 3rd ADE Academy and I am so excited to be part of it again.  I am excited to see my friends, get new ideas, and refresh.

ADE – stands for Apple Distinguished Educator – which is a group of educators who are focused on using technology to improve and innovate in education. Yes it is sponsored by Apple Inc.. but it is a collaborative community where we leverage lots of technologies along with our creative ideas to make a difference for students at all levels.

There are few ways that I benefit from a meeting like this..

  1. It keeps me aware of trends in K-12 education so that I can best improve our teacher candidate’s preparation.
  2. It helps to me test out ideas that I am having with peers and work out details.
  3. I get to see what peers are doing and think about how I can match, improve upon or contribute to our collective successes.
  4. I can investigate new technologies or new approaches. For examples, I will be seeking insights on iPad Pros. How are K-12 schools using them and are they worth the added expense for our faculty and/or students.. (It is really a tipping point analysis).
  5. It causes me to stretch my own skills, learn more, and meet people who are different than me. While challenging,  its a great way for me to practice to being open and vulnerable in my own learning.
  6. Finally, it is a place where, even though I am somewhat uncomfortable because I am surrounded by so many exceptional individuals, it is a place for me to mentally relax knowing that I am among like minded mission focused individuals.

I was so happy to put my Out of Office for this week. 

Something that will be new for me is to welcome the new class of 2017. While ADE Class of 2015 is the BEST CLASS EVER! I am energized by the excitement and new ideas of the class of 2017 and can’t wait to make new connections, collaborations, and friendships..

I leave in an hour, let the fun and learning begin…


Yes, I am posting this

So a bunch of people may be shocked that I am saying.. Here Here to this article!

Here is the greater point of this article:

We have a deep infiltration of technology in the United states – many schools have a lot of technology available – but we don’t have deep integration.
Technology is not the field of dreams – if you build it – they many not use it..   We need to be sure to change how we approach technology use in schools.

How to do it:

  • Increase teacher training.
  • Focus on using technology for new tasks not old ones – ie.. not just digital worksheets but instead focus on technology for transformed assessment and personalized learning.
  • Focus on helping teachers develop curation skills. The technology is changing so fast, we need to focus on having teachers feel empowered to evaluate and make effective technology choices on tools they may have never seen before.

As a teacher educator, one of the challenges I am finding is getting access to tools that schools are using to demo and provide experiences to my students.

Ie.. I would love a personalized learning platform to allow us to demo and have students explore adaptive and personalized learning to be better prepared for their teaching careers. I am having a hard time finding a company that understands that use case.

These are areas that we need to grow – both in our teacher education program and in support of practicing teachers.

Teachers with more experience are poised to be leaders in making technology choices. Those with classroom management and procedures under their belts and a clear understanding of curriculum are well poised to transform education with technology – with the right supports!


Reflections from ISTE – Reasons for Hope

So I don’t regularly go to ISTE Conference because it does not “count” for me as a faculty member at an R1 Education School – and honestly, by the time I get to June, I am out of travel money or living in Italy (@OUinArezzo)

However, this year, I was invited to participate in some of the standards work for administrators and it was “driveable” (I took the train.) It was in San Antonio.

ISTE – the International Society for Technology in Education is a professional organization known for releasing standards for students, educators,and administrators (maybe leaders in the future) and these standards are used widely to align curriculum (we use it in our program) and for Accreditation – CAEP (formerly NCATE)

But one criticism of the organization has been that it has not in the past served the needs of higher education and now I see that the new CEO seems to get it and is showing Higher Education some Love!

The New CEO is Richard Culatta – who formerly was at the Office of Educational Technology at the Department of Education.  He left January 20th- but in December and January his team released a a supplement to the National ED Tech Plan for Higher education  and for teacher education  At ISTE I could see those ideas and addressing these groups beginning to take shape. They have in fact hired Joseph South from Office of Ed Tech as a consultant as well.

So there were a few things that I picked up as themes.

  1. Applicability of Tech Standards to larger audience – ISTE is trying to hard to make their standards even more general.   This may been as a bad thing, but honestly they are no longer teacher standards but educator standards  These standards are general enough that I believe that they could be applied to Faculty as well in higher education.  There is talk of maybe an addendum about research and other roles, but I feel pretty good about using them as is.   There was talk that Adminstrator standards may be Leader standards and I love that.. it would be very aspirational for some and could focus on more than the tech but instead the PD and team building more.

2. Equity – I swear i have never gotten as consistent a message about equity being a goal at a conference in a long time. There were several strands and it was a clear focus of the the keynotes and their messages.   Even in the Editorial board meeting the message was loud and clear.  I have heard some people have been critical of this – but honestly, I see a shift and I think we need to give this organization time to make some moves and see what they do.  I believe their efforts are in the right place and I know that that I had many conversations about equity and diversity and I was not even looking for that strand.  My only criticism is that the cost of the conference and lodging is a huge barrier towards equity and i look forward to seeing what programs they may put in place to address that obvious concern. (although they did not block the #NotAtISTE or the #PasstheScopeEdu guys at all)

3).  Higher Education – during the conference, I attended a standing room only meeting for Higher Educators that was attended by ISTE staff.  In addition, I was invited to a focus group for higher educators.  In the past, I felt my involvement in ISTE was  a throwaway but I got a clear message that they are interested in us as a group.

Their leadership is new, and they are starting to address issues that I think they should. Honestly, my ears are perked up.   I was sad, to see so much of the good work that was done by the former administration being deleted or shutdown on January 20th  (ConnectEd, some of CS for all etc..)

If you look at the documents on    you will see that things like Equity, Higher Education and Teacher Prep were a goal of that office, and it seems that ISTE is working towards those previous goals from the Office of Ed Tech.

I say, let’s give them some time and see where they take this organization and what good can they do?  If it does not pan out, there will be plenty of time for critique in the future.

For now, I am going to watch, commit to participate, and hope that this organization and people associated with it can help push technology in education forward.