In the summer of 2005 I was thrilled to become an Apple Distinguished Educator and attend the ADE Institute in San Jose, California.

Past and present ADEs are a phenomenally creative and fun bunch. Some of the fantastic educators I met for the first time as an ADE in 2005 were/are Lucy Gray, Carol Anne McGuire, Marco Torres, Mike Lawrence, Tim Wilson, Rae Niles, Tim Tyson, Elaine Wrenn, Carl Owens and Howard Pitler. One of the best ways to get to know others is by working hard on challenging and engaging projects, and that is exactly what we did at the ADE Institute. We also (of course) learned a lot of new things about Apple software and hardware, as well as got to know many of the great folks working for Apple even better. If you are an educator meeting the application criteria and love engaging students in creative work using Apple technologies, I highly encourage you to apply for the ADE program. It’s no exaggeration to say the ADE community has and continues to regularly change and influence my life in powerful ways!

The application form for the 2009 class of ADEs is open until January 31, 2009. ADE Alumni will be able to apply starting February 1st to attend the July 2009 ADE institute at Full Sail University in Florida following NECC. A new class of U.S. as well as Canadien ADEs will be selected this year. More details are available on the application guidelines. The application is a three step process:

  • Join the Apple Learning Interchange to access the online application template.
  • Download and attach the ADE Application to your online application.
  • Create a 2 minute movie describing why you would like to be an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Several video testimonials from current ADEs are also available on the Apple website.

On a related topic, Apple announced earlier in the year the “Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow – Today (ACOT2)” project, which is a:

collaborative project to help high schools get closer to creating the kind of learning environment this generation of students needs, wants, and expects so they will stay in school.

ACOT2 has identified six design principles for the 21st century high school:

ACOT2 six design principles for the 21st century high school

A 41 page report from April 2008 providing background on ACOT2 is available in PDF format. ACOT2 has three different phases:

  • In the first phase, ACOT developed the essential design principles of the 21st century high school, and then clearly and simply articulated them so any high school can act on them immediately.
  • In the second phase, ACOT2 brought the essential design principles to life through online resources, including “clickable” data, research, expert commentaries, tools, and rich media capturing students’ and educators’ voices. The voices offer especially compelling testimony for why and how these design principles should be implemented in our nation’s high schools today.
  • In the third phase, ACOT2 will take these design principles and apply them to a bold project: 200 Days for a Lifetime of Success, a freshman year high school curriculum specifically designed to prepare students for success in life and work in the 21st century.

The collection of educator and student voices available on the ACOT2 website is outstanding.

The original ACOT research was the longest longitudinal study of technology immersion in schools ever conducted. Researchers found teachers normally progress through a variety of stages as they learn to utilize different technologies to support project-based learning:

ACOT Technology Integration Stages

ACOT research findings have strongly influenced subsequent frameworks for understanding and supporting technology integration in schools, including the Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) Framework. From what I understand, the TxTIP project evaluation conducted by TCER (eTxTIP) has been a more current, longitudinal study of technology of technology immersion similar to ACOT but not directly affiliated with it. IMHO, unfortunately most schools are more interested in “educational technology dabbling” rather than technology immersion. Educational research findings from projects like ACOT, TxTIP, and ACOT2 will not single-handedly change these tendencies in our schools, but they can be very important to help amplify and recognize exemplary best practices for 21st century learning.

I look forward to continuing to follow ACOT2 in the year ahead, as well as (hopefully) meeting many of the new members of the 2009 ADE Class! :-)

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