Becoming an ADE

A blog by @mircwalsh

Becoming an ADE

In March this year year I became an ADE. So what is an ADE? This is probably the question I was asked about three million times during my application and after my acceptance into the program.

The Apple Distinguished Educator Program is made up of just over 2000 educators from around the world. Every 2 years Apple takes applications for the role and a select group of people are chosen. This year 150 applicants were chosen from my region which is Europe, Asia and UAE. After acceptance you can attend conferences and have the support and experience of other ADE’s who are there to help.

According to Apple ADE’s are

ADEs are passionate advocates of the potential of Apple technologies and they provide expert assistance and best practices to educators and policy makers. ADEs are frequent presenters at local, state, national and international educational conferences.
ADEs provide valuable input to Apple on the realities of integrating instructional technology into learning environments.
ADEs publish authentic work to share with peers such as teaching and leadership best practices, exemplary lesson ideas, and a range of content items that showcase Apple products and technologies for the advancement of education.
ADEs are innovators in building community and capacity for teaching and learning in a global context. Through online projects and collaboration tools, they empower each other to expand the walls of the classroom and bring global experiences to classrooms everywhere.

So how did I become an ADE? Well roll back a few years and I came across openings for ADE’s on Apples website I thought how cool that would be but at that stage I wasn’t an educator nor did I have any intention of being one. Of course that all changed and during my first year of teaching my college was approached by Apple who wanted us to film their Global Conference which was to be held near by. Being part of the iTunes U team I was asked if I wanted to get involved and my answer was a gigantic yes!

The conference last summer was incredible I was surrounded by amazing educators and although was busy filming I was lucky to chat to a few while I was wowed by the whole conference and felt lucky to be there I really wanted to be an ADE instead of part of the film crew.

It was suggested during the event that I applied for the Class of 2013 and I made that my goal. I waited and waited until applications opened in November and then worked on my application. Apple did not make this application easy and required a written statement and video application they also offered a chance to submit iBooks, iTunes U courses and collections so I went the full way and did it all.

Application submitted I waited anxiously. I felt that even if I didn’t get in I had learnt a lot by writing my iBook and making the course and video. I had talked to previous ADE’s who said that last time notifications of acceptance were sent within two weeks but two weeks passed then three and four and then it became months. There were many sleepless nights but the wait in itself was quite amazing as I met up with other applicants and we all willed each other to be accepted while fearing that if our friends did we may not. In February the US region found out who got picked and that night there was a lot of excitement on twitter but also a lot of tears as many we were convinced were in did not make the cut.

So a few days later the email came notifying us that our region would not find out for another few weeks and they said end of March. I was to be visiting friends at the end of March and was scared of not getting it but on 30 March I got that wonderful email and I was in. Seeing who I was up against I was sure it wouldn’t be me after all I had only been teaching two years but I was so excited I didn’t stop smiling for weeks.

Since then I have worked away and created some more iTunes U content but overall have fallen into the annual world of FETAC exams and paperwork and corrections. I am not finished teaching until a few days before the conference in July but I am looking forward to it and all the new ideas that I get if last year is anything to go by it will be fantastic and unforgettable and I will hopefully gain many exciting skills and ideas to bring to my classroom in September.

At this time I won’t be part of the film crew I will be an ADE!!!