From Thursday 7th-Monday 11th April, I had the privilege of meeting and collaborating with some of the most innovative teachers in our country at the Apple Distinguished Educator Camp in Sydney. At this camp I was simply blown away by the passion, dedication and commitment of over 80 educators as they pursue their dream of engaging students in learning. Throughout this camp we explored the use of contemporary technologies that focus on personalising learning. The vast array of devices from Macbook Pros, iPads (both version 1 & 2) and iPhones was simply mind blowing. Each teacher having come from a background embedded in Mac platforms, sharing their learning, triumphs and failures, all for the pursuit of improving best practice. However throughout the 5 days it became apparent that the reason we were there was not actually to explore technology. It was simple to explore learning and how we can ensure that our students achieve success. The driving message that developed throughout this experience was that technology essentially means nothing unless the teachers and students find the opportunities to use these tools to their full advantage. I wonder whether or not thousands of dollars is going to waste in schools because they are purchasing the ‘next big thing’ without considering how they are in fact going to enhance student learning.
Distinguishing between technology as a ‘learning tool’ vs technology as a ‘learning activity’ is something which I believe all schools need to ensure that their staff explore. The learning tools are fantastic but if we assume that our students will always know what, when and how to use them all of the time, we are being very naive. It’s what the teachers do to empower their students to know, do and choose that makes the difference.
For more information about the ADE program, please visit this link