Last Week's Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Austin, Texas, was the best week of professional development that I have ever experienced. Period.
I returned back home energized, focused and confident (if not competent). There were a number of significant take-aways.
First, let me explain the "Instant Karma" business referred to in my title. For the past two years I have been really
harping on the importance of helping our students develop skills in design and multimedia communication, often to the annoyance of my former colleagues of the English Department. Ironically, since becoming a school administrator my own skills in multimedia technology have stagnated. The tremendous workshops and training I received on iBooks Author and Keynote have jump started me toward a series of projects. I realize how important it is that I model and leverage these tools, and it was fantastic to have a week to really concentrate on this, guided by some of the most talented folks out there.
|"Vision of Transformation" CC photo by h. koppdelaney|
I am highly motivated to work with iBooks Author and have three projects in process or in mind. I also have begun my first iTunes U "course" or collection. I intend to use it to curate materials for a presentation I hope to give at a future conference.
The Institute helped me "get" how powerful and versatile these tools can be. But I find it challenging to cut back on my words while building a Multi Touch book. And I must discipline myself to insure that the multimedia I include is enriching rather than distracting. But I love the publishing options available to this format. I can write a long book or a brief one and publish to select persons or the world. And publishing to iTunes U is equally flexible.
As I expressed in Lead by Example, I think it is essential for me to model not only a facility with technology tools, but a spirit of innovation. The Institute helped give me a boost in both areas by providing hands on training and inspiration in equal measure.
And of course, the conference was also a great place to personally network. So I feel truly connected with some people who are really good at doing this stuff. It was particularly enriching to work with educators from Canadian and Mexican schools at this, the first North American Institute. I feel as though they have my back and are just an iChat or Google Hangout away to help guide me on this new journey.