adam wagler

Apple Distinguished Educator Experience

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Last summer I attended the 2011 Apple Distinguished Educator Workshop in Phoenix, Arizona. It has been a few months, but the networking, collaborating, workshops, access to materials, and resources have been amazing and is continuing to be an great experience.

Earlier in the year on a whim I applied to the program not knowing much about it. The website makes it sound great and it was Apple, so why not. The application is made up of written pieces about your teaching philosophy and use of technology as a learning tool. This alone was great to spend time thinking through and gathering my thoughts into one cohesive narrative. Here was my response to one question: How are you an early adopter of promising emerging technologies, pedagogical models, and digital content?

“In advertising and journalism it is now required to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies. Not only
do my courses revolve around teaching the planning, production, and development of creative digital
applications, but I consistently experiment with new technologies to improve learning. Every semester I
attempt to incorporate new ways of interacting with course materials whether it be sharing video
tutorials, creating twitter hashtags, or using mobile apps. This accomplishes two things. The first is the
most obvious in that students interact with course content in novel, interesting ways. Second, it also
promotes a curiosity in students to try new technologies and attempt to capitalize on their strengths.
Both are vital to students’ education for jobs that may not currently exist in the industry.”

The other part of the application was a two-minute video summarizing similar issues. Technically, this was a challenge I enjoyed working on. I decided to produce my video as an animation. Additionally, I wanted to try my hand at writing a script and doing a voice over.

During the workshop in Phoenix, we worked in teams on projects that worked to develop content for iTunesU. I was fortunate enough to find a group interested in blended learning. This is a very relevant topic that is required for educators to think through as technology integrates more into the learning process.

Working with ADEs from Florida and Texas we developed an inventory of materials we needed to collect and produce. Since there was a mix of K-12 and higher education we created a nice collection discussing how to get started with blended learning at any level. Being in higher education, I developed a video of a few examples that take advantage of online tools and mix them into class time.

Overall, the workshop was amazing. The ADEs are amazing. The entire program is amazing. I am looking forward to continuing to work with other ADEs and future ADE projects.

Thinking a little broader I see these types of experiences spilling into other opportunities. As I work on more applications and grants it helps me practice my writing to develop a strong position and clearly state what and why you do things. Additionally, applications like the ADE program that require a video is a great opportunity to learn some new technology, set some new challenges for yourself, and creatively tell a story.  I have found all of these to we a wonderful exercise well worth the time.

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