The iTunes U Mac 101 Beijing Project

This article was authored collaboratively using Pirate Pad by the students from BCIS, Dulwich College Beijing, RDFZ XISHAN SCHOOL and Western Academy of Beijing.

iTunesUMac101

The WAB Geek Force iTunes U Project Team

On September 26th, 2012, students from Beijing City International School, Dulwich College Beijing, Ren Da Fu Zhong Xishan, and the Western Academy of Beijing met together at the Apple Executive Briefing Center in Beijing to initiate a new one-of-a-kind project, Mac 101. It’s goal was to teach educators in the worldwide community the basics of using Apple products such as the MacBook or the iPad to effectively utilize them in an educational context. And as a team, we aspired to achieve this target through producing a concise and didactic iBook and planning a full session dedicated to training teachers as well as others who need technological assistance.

In addition to some cool features available to Macs, the students were given a brief insight on what its like to be an educator: somebody with massive demands on their time, with little or no inclination to keep in touch with technology, much less spend time learning about it. In response to this, students learnt ways on how to effectively convey why technology is an important aspect of not only daily life, but also education. A short presentation was given detailing how something that is often overlooked, the Reader tool for Safari, could be of significant use in reducing the stress experienced by teachers through making their jobs easier, as well as enhancing the classroom experience. Furthermore, students were briefed on the advantages of Apple products in an educational context; especially iBooks and iBook Author as an interactive learning tool, and, according to Beijing City International School ADE, William Percy, “Going beyond the print metaphor” with iBooks to make the Apple learning experience fully interactive.

At the event’s opening, Melissa Li, the Apple representative leading the event, regarded the Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) as well as the students present as participants in a “world leading project”, referring to those gathered as the “crème de la crème” of the international school community, meaning that Apple couldn’t have gotten a more knowledgeable or adept group of technologically minded people working together on this project between diverse schools and cultures. The different groups collaborated on formulating innovative solutions and ideas in the form of brainstorming, promoting a “yes, and” mentality in place of the usual “yes, but”; all of this discussion and exchange truly represented what Apple stands for: innovation, creativity and collaboration.

Students were appointed eight groups from mixed schools, and were taught the fundamental aspects of being an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE): Ambassadors, Advisors, Advocates, and Authors. As Apple representatives, the group will have to embody these characteristics.

After several sessions brainstorming, students learned of uses of integrated iBooks which may be included into the BCIS curriculum. The presentation showed the features of iBooks Author, as well as the interactivity that could be utilized in classrooms in Beijing and around the world. Other brainstorms also included ways we could introduce apple product to teachers in a comprehensible and easy to understand.

All in all, it was a great and educational time for everybody, a celebration of teamwork, collaboration, and of diversity.

…and because of that….reflections from #ade2011

I have just been at the ADE Asia Insitute in HCMC and I feel that I have arrived back at home with the bends; I am giddy with exhaustion and need days in a decompression chamber to unravel and process the incredibly rich and intense experiences of the last seven days. I am going to take Pav’s advice and post this reflection because as the day goes on I see that I need some closure so that I can tackle the mountain of work that awaits me.

WAB’s Mission Statement is Connect, Inspire, Challenge and Make a Difference and for me, that really sums up the ADE Institute.

Western Academy of Beijing - mission statement

Connect – So many rich conversations with a diverse range of 68 awesome educators (60 new ADEs plus the other 8 Advisory Board members).  The connections, in the words of Karen Carpenter have ‘only just begun….’

Inspire – Words cannot describe how many times I was inspired – from each and every double-click video to the amazing thought processes and actions. I think that the Saigon 360 nailed it for me.

Challenge – My personal challenge was to appear ‘worthy’ of my place on the advisory board in addition to the those 3 letters: ADE. It was a humbling experience. My game plan is, as ever, to mask inadequacies with humour – if you don’t have anything profound to share, at least make a stab at humour.

….and because of that…I hope I made a difference

 

Some initial take-aways
  • Never turn away from criticism – look at it straight in the eye, learn and grow
  • I’m not the only one that processes by talking it through – but I also need quiet time to reflect and a good 30 minutes in the pool each morning helped
  • Listen, listen and listen
  • Diversity is a wonderful thing
And on a more practical level:
  • prepare cover lessons for the first 3 days back in school (so brain-drained that you can act like a cover teacher and read out the instructions)
  • have a trusted advisor to prep you for any meetings 10 minutes before the meeting and also prompt you in meetings by ichatting you your notes, links and other resources
  • remember that not everyone in the building wants to share your experiences – a quick ‘it was awesome’ is better than a blow-by-blow, minute-by-minute account.


 Thinking of becoming an ADE?

Outside the Apple Store NY by Max Timchenko (from flickr)

Being an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) has opened a huge number of doors for me: I am part of a great network of educators; ADE’s are enthusiastic and keen to share – I have learned so much. In addition, being an ADE has given me the opportunity to present at the Apple Leadership Conference in Hong Kong and consult for Apple in other schools in Beijing and beyond.  I have been fortunate to be asked to be the ADE Asia coordinator for Beijing and now serve on the ADE Asia board. Apple also provides training and networking experiences for ADE’s, at the local level,  for example, Apple helped us bring a fabulous photographic storyteller/educator/Aperature expert  Joseph Linsachke, over to Beijing. I’ve also been invited along with a few other ADE’s to participate in the Flat Classroom Conference at BISS in February.

Since becoming an ADE, my personal learning network has expanded to the point where I was invited to be a cohort leader at Shanghai Learning 2.010 and I am now on the organising committee for Learning 2.011, as the co chair. The Beijing Learning Summit (BLS) 2009 was an initiative of 5 ADE’s with more coming on board for BLS 2010.

In a nutshell, being an ADE means that you can tap into a great pool of talent and get great people to present and attend conferences as well as spend online time with like-mined peers who are willing to share, coach, mentor and don’t mind having those ‘geeky’ conversations!

Bali by Omegaforest (from flickr)
Bali by Omegaforest (from flickr)

The Asia ADE Institute 2011 will be held in Bali, Indonesia. It is a 4-and-a-half-day residential Institute and begins the evening of Friday April 8 and ends on the night of Tuesday April 12. Some key dates are:

Application Deadline: 31 Jan 2011
Committee Selection: 1 Feb –19 Feb 2011
Acceptance Announcement: 21 Feb 2011

More details can be found here: http://www.apple.com/education/apple-distinguished-educator/

Why not come and join us?