Monday, July 17, 2017

3. Thoughts ahead of ADE 2017 Academy

My pedagogical innovations with mobile technology have helped me become a new Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) in 2017. I'm waiting for my flight to the USA ADE Academy. Before I arrive, I offer a few thoughts about my experiences and philosophy so far.

To meet and learn from my peers. Here are a few statistics I culled about our 2017 ADE cohort: there are 130 new ADEs, but only 36 from higher education (like me), and only 25 of those 36 are faculty (like me). I'm excited because this means I have only a couple of peers that are not only in higher ed but also science (much less biology) professors. Cross-pollination - the exchange of new ideas and approaches between disciplinary (and grade-level) "silos" - will certainly be a highlight of this three-day Academy! I'm particularly interested in learning from K-12 educators how public schools are preparing students (in both study skills and technology skills) for their college experiences.

n.b. Kudos to the California State University (CSU) system - my employer, and the largest system of higher education in the world (at least by student body size): all five California higher ed faculty who are new ADEs this year are from the CSU (not the University of California - UC) system!

I am an Apple advocate. I have been most of my life:

Me (left) in high school, published 1/18/1996 in my hometown newspaper, the Albany (OR) Democrat-Herald

I cut my teeth on an Apple II+ at home during elementary schools, and later used a MacPlus at home, various SE30s and LCs at school through the 12th grade, and then bought my first Mac (a PowerMac 6400), then G3 and G4 towers, etc. Although I'm never an early adopter of technology (usually at least two years behind the latest device), I've managed to accumulate quite a bit of Apple tech since becoming an Assistant Professor:

My office, shot while preparing a class lecture, ca. 2016

At CSU Fresno, my home institution, we launched DISCOVERe, a 1:1 tablet program for our students, a few years ago. However, our administration's approach was not to be an exclusively Apple program, but to develop a brand-agnostic approach to augmenting our classes with mobile technology. Thus, I expect to feel a conflict of interest over the next few days, while I learn how others use Apple products in their classes, and while Apple employees help me learn about, and develop, best practices for employing their hardware and software.

Through the Academy, I am going to be doing my best to maintain focus on developing platform-agnostic approaches. So far, we know that a big focus this year will be on using Clips, a social-media-friendly video-capture app, in the classroom. I'm optimistic, but skeptical, that I'll be able to translate much of the effort I put into this process into my classes because I know that many of my students have Windows and Android devices (and thus not the Clips app). I'll be updating this blog regularly over the coming week with musings and functional applications of mobile technology in education. Grade- and platform-agnostic best practices, here we come (I hope!)

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