ADE Conference Hong Kong 2019

This weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the ADE Conference in Hong Kong (the first of its kind) for Apple Distinguished Educators, Apple Teachers and others who have an interest in Apple for education. One of my favourite things about events like this is catching up with old friends around the region, finally meeting Twitter friends face to face, and connecting with new teachers. This event certainly gave the opportunity for all three.

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Photo by Justin Ouellette

The theme of the conference was Creating the Future of Learning: Futuristic Thinking, Failure, Fear and Risk-Taking. Below is a brief summary of each session that I attended and my main takeaways. Click on the speakers’ names to connect with them on Twitter.

Opening Keynote: Are We Ready to be Future-Ready? – Carl Hooker

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In the opening keynote, Carl Hooker discussed the three parts to being future-ready educators: the Global Future, Disruptive Technology and our Educator Mindset. Carl discussed our rapidly changing society and the impact that automation will have on the job market. According to Will Robots Take My Job? (an actual website), the likelihood that teachers will be replaced currently stands at 0.4%, but the profession needs to evolve in order to stay relevant. Carl made reference to the Top 10 Job Skills 2020 as shared by the World Education Forum (click here to read my related post on soft skills). In particular, Carl urges us to create a generation of empathetic risk-takers.

Design Thinking: Equipping Learners with Tools for Future Thinking & Practices – David Lee

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David Lee, author of Design Thinking in the Classroom, shared his expertise on the integration of design thinking. The slide in the photo breaks down the definition. It’s about solving problems, being a creative thinker and having the agency to make changes. This connects well with Carl Hooker’s keynote. An important part of the design thinking process is about empathising with the user. The designer is no longer seen as an expert. Rather, it’s a partnership. David also talked about the importance of being stuck and working through those frustrations so that designers can reach the “aha” moment.

My students are currently designing solutions to authentic energy problems that exist in our school. I look forward to blogging about these projects in the near future.

21 Things Every 21st Century Educator Should Try – Carl Hooker

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I really enjoyed this session with Carl Hooker because it was fast, furious and offered a load of great ideas. Rather than list all twenty-one ideas (including design thinking, mindfulness, augmented reality and more), I’d rather reflect on my biggest call to action: create a student-led podcast. This is an idea that I have been toying with since I listened to Eugene Leonard’s episode on the Making Better Teachers podcast. I would like to learn how to get a podcast started and help the students until they can lead it with more independence and agency. Hearing the suggestion from Carl reminds me to get onto it. Watch this space!

Graphic Design Secrets with Keynote – Keri-Lee Beasley

As a daily user of Google Apps, I very rarely use Keynote. Keri-Lee’s session made me realise that I have been missing out on a very sophisticated platform that includes a lot of exciting features. She started by offering general advice for presenting. This included being aware of the audience, using high-quality free images and reducing the amount of text on slides. She shared this quote:

“If the slides can stand up there by themselves, why the heck are you up there in front of them?”

Garr Reynolds

Keri-Lee then shared some Keynote-specific advice. Top tips included different ways to animate, the Instant Alpha feature and how to ‘Break Apart’ the images. But, without a doubt, my top takeaway is the ability to control and annotate the slides from a different device. Game-changer! How did I not know this? See for yourself in the tweet below.

Advocating for Agency – Cindy Kaardal and Justin Ouellette

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In this presentation, my long-time Twitter friends Cindy and Justin shared the many ways that they promote student agency. With reference to the ISTE standards, they offered examples and practical ideas from their very innovative and student-led school. Cindy and Justin spoke about promoting intrinsic motivation by nurturing and promoting voice, choice and ownership. My biggest takeaways include the way in which their students continually articulate and work towards their own goals and reflect on them regularly. I’m also inspired by the many student-led workshops that take place.

Cindy and Justin have kindly shared a folder that includes the slides for this presentation and a range of other useful resources. Click here to dive in!

Closing Keynote: Using Failure and Risk-Taking to Open Doors to Creativity – Carl Hooker

Carl Hooker rounded off a fabulous day of learning with another entertaining and thought-provoking talk. He spoke about creating a culture of learning and innovation and the barriers to this. One way to promote this culture is to build on each other’s ideas. Instead of saying “yes, but…” and shooting down the ideas, we can instead use “yes, and…” to move the ideas forward.

This slide below was probably the most important of the day. As both a classroom teacher and middle leader, I need to remember this:

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If you’d like more information on any of these presentations, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and/or the speakers.

Applications are currently closed for the Apple Distinguished Educator programme. In the meantime, consider completing the self-paced online course to become an Apple Teacher. You can start your Apple professional learning here. As always, let me know if I can help in any way.


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