Reflections on ADE Academy – London 2017

I’ve been reflecting on last week’s London ADE Institute since returning home and wish I could bottle what happened during those magical 4 days.

Having followed the 2015 ADEs in Amsterdam, I was in awe of the collaboration you could see between them. From Twitter I was able to follow some of the Northern UK 2015 ADEs such as: Nic Ford, Rachel Smith, Lisa Whittaker, Louise Zwanepoel, Nathan Ashman, Alan Ellis and Paul Ridgway Lisa Seddon to name a few. They welcomed me into the ADE family, despite not being an ADE. What always struck me about them was not only their passion for pedagogy – and using technology to inspire their teaching and learning – but also their love for sharing ideas.

Having wished two years away, and busily evidencing impact of technology within our school, the time arrived for me to apply to join the class of 2017. Several more months were then wished away waiting to see if I would be one of the lucky 20 from the UK who would be joining the class of 2017. There were many tears on Monday 3rd April when the confirmation email arrived, I had joined the Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2017.

Arriving at Institute, was like walking into a room full of famous Rock Stars thinking, ’I know him and I know her’ the power of Twitter and #ADEchat. ADEs I had followed were now in the same room and I was in awe of them thinking, ‘I should not be here’. Peter Ford soon reassured what many of us were thinking by stating ‘You are here on your merit’, those few words meant a lot.

I didn’t realise how sitting at Table 12 (now #T12) would have such impact on not only my time last week but our ongoing project. Alan Frame is someone I have admired on Twitter in not only his role as a Headteacher but also the work he does with his Digital Leaders, and there he was as our table leader. My first words to him were ‘you’re so tall, I’ve only seen you sat down on Twitter’. Ruth Smith was on our table and I had been fortunate to meet her at a TeachMeet a couple of weeks earlier and also been collaborating prior to Institute. Lee Parkinson and Paul Tullock were also on our table along with Robbie Dunne who would prove there’s never a dull moment when he’s around.

As teachers, and feedback from working with teachers from other schools, we felt we were all often asked about apps to use for: assessment, curriculum etc and that as teachers and now ADEs we are the ones who start with ‘why’ use them first. So, @TechTeachGoals was born and has grown in strength since Institute. I’m so excited to see where this will go when we are back in our schools and have other teachers and pupils globally connecting with us. Thank you #T12.

I learnt so much from the inspirational showcases and took something from each and every one of them, thank you all for sharing. The workshop sessions were just ‘wow’! Alan Rosenfeld taught me all I need to know about future presentations and keynote. As a graphic designer( in a previous life) I thought I knew a bit about design, that was until I met Designer in Residence: Hugh Schermuly I could have listened to Photographer in Residence: Jillian Edelstein stories all day, on the people she has been blessed to photograph. Having so much respect for the Alumni it was fascinating to hear their stories and connect with many whom I may otherwise have not met.

Never have I been to an event where I did not want to leave and come home. All the way home I was imagining what a school made up of ADEs from Institute would be like. I am fortunate to now work in a school where most staff are open to change and know first hand the impact Apple technology has on teaching and learning. The flag huggers have realised that our vision is not the same as their beliefs and no longer do you hear the words ‘we’ve always done it that way’. But imagine all ADEs working in the same school…

My mind is still buzzing with ideas… I feel blessed to have met so many lovely, fun, inspirational people (too many to mention) who I know will be friends for life.

Without turning this into an Oscar speech, ‘Thank you’ everyone who made the week so magical and for making it one I will never forget. In three words I found: Collaboration. Inspiration. Family.

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