Apple Distinguished Educator Denial

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I had applied to be an ADE this time around and just found out yesterday that I was not chosen. A bummer, to be certain, but not entirely surprising; it is a difficult admission to achieve and I wasn’t entirely confident in my video. With that said, as I made the video, going through old materials, reviewing my own career with technology, I will admit that I felt more confident as the process went along than when I decided to apply.

I write this really for two reasons. One, for the simple act of transparency. I did it. It didn’t work out. Here it is. Two, a bit more tricky. Here is Apple’s email:

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 10.27.06 AM

Perhaps I’m being a bit sensitive here, but, as a humanities teacher and believer, I find the primacy of ‘Everyone Can Code’ in the opportunities-to-engage-with-Apple suggestions a bit disconcerting. I understand too that the code movement is not entirely a STEM phenomenon and that the humanities in many ways have been at the vanguard of technology expansion and exploration. I’m also not saying that I wasn’t chosen because of my humanities interest and teaching.

With all of that said, however, assuming that there are plenty of humanities teachers who applied and were denied, it does seem a touch tone-deaf to lead with something so antithetical to their training and day-to-day work (however much Apple may want us to expand our horizons), especially in this era of STEM-dominance and humanities-survival (or lack thereof).

Am I bitter? I’m not sure that’s quite the right word, but I will reluctantly admit that I am on that spectrum. I guess I’m just concerned that everyone has forgotten how many STEM advancements were made with the simple yet powerful training that the humanities provide (and, lest we forget, science and math and their offshoots are part of the humanities) and, as we move farther and farther away from that training, I wonder what we will lose as we gain other things.

Sed de hoc satis. On to the video. I’ve embedded it below. I thought it was a bit rushed (I was hoping they’d hit the pause button a few times) and I suspect it focused a bit too much on me and not enough on my students and the impact of (Apple) technology on them. That’s my utterly anecdotal assessment.

ADE Video from Ed DeHoratius on Vimeo.

Apple Teacher Program Update

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I wrote about learning about the Apple Teacher program here and it was on my list to get back to. So I had some time at my son’s swim meet this afternoon, and I was burned out on grading, and I needed something mindless to do, so I figured I’d try out some of the Apple Teacher Program Badge-Quizzes (if you remember, badges are what you earn on your way to becoming an Apple Teacher).

There are eight quizzes for Mac and eight for iPad and you can become ‘certified’ in both. The quizzes are each 5 questions long and you need to answer 4 of the 5 questions correctly to pass.

The badge-categories are Mac / iPad, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, Garage Band, Productivity, and Creativity. Pass all eight in either category and you are a Certified Apple Teacher (note that this is very different from being an Apple Distinguished Educator, which is a much more elaborate and difficult process).

Going into this, I was assuming that the process would be akin to becoming a Google Certified Educator, which I completed I think two years ago (but I also think has since lapsed, as it does expire). I was thus surprised by how few questions were on each quiz and, to some extent, how easy they were (much easier overall than the Google assessments). That’s not to say that you didn’t have to know your (Apple) stuff, but you didn’t have to know it inside and out. The combination of the low number of questions and the way the questions were written (many questions included contextual clues that helped with the answers and some of the questions were either the same for both Mac and iPad or covered the same material in different ways) made it a pretty easy process. I was a ‘certified’ Apple (Mac) Teacher within maybe a half hour.

My wife of course was hoping this would mean some massive pay raise or bonus but, alas, no such luck. You get a downloadable signature (along with a 15 page document on when, where, and how you can and can’t use that signature) and that’s about it.

But if you’re looking for some affirmation at the extent of your Apple knowledge and have some (but not a ton) of time on your hands, check out the Apple Teacher Program and enjoy (in limited ways) your new signature (visible at upper right).


Apple Teacher Program

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My principal in Waukesha sent this email / link out:

Apple just announced Apple Teacher, a new program created to support and celebrate educators. The program provides a self-paced learning experience with tips, inspiration, news, and learning materials to help teachers unlock the magic of iPad, Mac, and built-in apps in the classroom. Earn badges and an official Apple Teacher logo so you can share your achievement with the world. Sign up today!

To learn more and sign up, visit the Apple Teacher webpage.

I imagine that it is Apple’s take on Google’s comparable teacher program and that it is Apple’s attempt to provide some certification / recognition to teachers that is less involved than their Apple Distinguished Educator program.

In any case, there are modules, quizzes, and badges, the earning of the latter of which makes one an Apple Teacher. All eight must be earned (through the quizzes) to be certified as Mac or iPad (8 for each).

I signed up for the program and received the email below that gives a good overview of what’s involved and provided:


ACL 2015 (UConn) Teaching Latin Online Presentation

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Download the presentation here.

iNACOL 2014: Innovation in Teaching – Personalized Learning Risks, Rewards, and Challenges (Kerry Rice)

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Program Description:

Innovation in teaching is sometimes easier said than done. It takes a certain amount of risk-taking, often with extensive effort and no guarantee of success. This session will showcase an innovative approach using personalized and project-based instructional methods in an online course designed to instruct teachers in online teaching methods. Learn about the challenges and rewards of this approach and witness the results as teachers (as learners) share their experiences and their final projects.

  • Prof & Fulbright Scholar at Boise State
  • Three grad students with her to present
  • an online school in a brick and mortar setting / institution
  • focus on Rice’s Advanced Online Teaching
  • online learning should promote: learner autonomy, active participation, collaboration and community building, authentic assessments, acquisition of 21st c. skills
  • a move from constant targeted instruction + constant time = learning to variable targeted instruction + variable time = constant learning

GAFE Exams Passed – Part 1: Approach

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I took a Google Boot Camp in March (April?): basically two days of advanced introductions to the GAFE suite. Now, I’ve been ambivalent about the GAFE suite as it has developed. I love Mail and Calendar; I rely on them daily. Drive is useful at times but I still find it too clunky to replace Word; Forms, on the other hand, a subset of sorts of Drive / Docs, is a fantastic tool and has streamlined many of my processes. Sites, like Drive, I find clunky, especially when something like Weebly makes life so easy.

On the other hand, no one can deny the ubiquity, the interconnectedness, and the usefulness of the GAFE suite, and so I wanted to pass the exams for both (obvious) professional reasons and investigatory reasons, i.e. taking the tests would formalize my introduction to and knowledge of the suite and potentially show me features that I will use that I wouldn’t have otherwise known.

In the wake of the boot camp, I took one of the tests and failed. This was not entirely a surprise; I had heard that they were difficult, not by virtue of their philosophy, but that the knowledge required is somewhat esoteric and some of the language can be confusing. The test itself also doesn’t say which questions were answered incorrectly (which I understand, of course). In the last two weeks, however, I passed them all, so I’m writing this to give an overview of them and some advice on how to approach them to best position you to pass.

For GAFE certification, you must pass four mandatory tests: Mail, Calendar, Sites, and Drive, and a fifth that you choose from three: Chrome, ChromeBooks, or Tablets with GooglePlay for Education; I chose Chrome. The tests are 60 questions and you have 90 minutes to finish. Each test took me around an hour and a quarter; Sites took me the longest at around an hour and 25 minutes. And I averaged an 87 / 88 on the tests (80 and above i passing).

You can navigate freely among the questions, so that a couple of times I stumbled upon the answer to a previous question when looking for another. If that was a different answer from what I answered, I could go back to change it. You can also mark questions for review, i.e. if you feel like you’re taking too long on a question, you can mark it and quickly return to it at the end of the test. Once you start, you cannot stop and you must pass all five within 90 days of starting the first. The GAFE certification lasts for 18 months from completion of the final exam and each test costs $15 to take (even if you fail). To get started, click here. You must make a Google Testing account, which is not your existing Google account; you need a new password for your testing account to go with your Gmail address.

A colleague (thanks, JS) forwarded some tips from a friend of hers who had passed the Drive exam. I will include those here and then offer my own thoughts.

Definitely have 2 computers at the ready when you take the test.  Have
one that you take the test on and another that you do all your
research and have your notes on(this was a mistake I didn’t rectify
until 15 minutes into the test)
• On said computer have open Drive, Spreadsheets, Docs and
Presentations, preferably with a live doc in each – you will need
these to experiment with as you are taking the test
• Find the info about the following – max # of columns/rows, cells in a
spreadsheet; max # of users that can collaborate or edit a google doc
(I think its 50 editors max).
• There were a lot of spreadsheet questions (good for me) that asked
about ‘what color does the toolbar become when you set a filter’ or
how many columns can yuo have in a spreadsheet, or can other people
delete your comments in a spreadsheet

 Someone told him that the bulk of the info you need is in the super advanced
guide ..
I liked the two computers idea but didn’t like the logistics of it, so I used two browsers instead, one with the test itself and the other with the reference material that I needed. Using Apple’s command-tab function made toggling between the two browsers easy (and easier than juggling two computers). I should add that I did use two computers for the Sites exam; I was at my parents’ house and they had a set up a bit more conducive to that; I preferred the two browsers. I found myself trying to move the cursor on one with the trackpad of the other, etc.
So I had Chrome and Firefox open, Chrome with my test and Firefox with the reference material. For reference, I had three tabs open:
  • (and this is the site mentioned in the quote above); changing the ‘sites’ in my example (or ‘drive’ in the above) brings you to the sites for the other exams: drive, calendar, mail, chrome: this, as mentioned above, is an outline of topics that provides an advanced overview
  •; this is Google’s help center (and the same applies as above; change ‘sites’ to any of the other apps for the parallel site) that is of course searchable
  •; just Google itself for broader searching

The difficulty here was figuring out which resource would best answer which question. I had the best luck with the help center and Google itself; the edutraining site was too difficult to navigate but it wasn’t searchable except using the Find feature. The help center was useful when the help center itself answered a question; I learned quickly to avoid any search result that sent me to a user forum; these were too unfocused and too difficult to browse quickly. If the answer didn’t turn up in the help center, I used Google itself. I should also add here that this site included questions and answers directly from the Sites exam; not sure how Google would feel about that (more in the Part 2 post); and ironically in a GoogleSite; I did not find similar sites for the other exams (and I only stumbled across this one in a Google search, and, no, I did not use it, though I thought about it). I should add too that the advice about having a something live to experiment in was very useful for specific types of questions, i.e. questions that asked which of the following is NOT an feature of blank: it was very easy to go into blank and see what the features were.

So to sum up:

  • two browsers
  • the sites above
  • live examples of whatever you’re working on

And even with these, I only scored above a 90 on one of the five tests (others, mid- to high-80s).

But this should be a pretty secure path to passing the GAFE tests. Once the tests are passed, you can (if you want) start the application for a Google Certified Trainer.

Good luck!

PD and Training Best Practices

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A quick link but an interesting resources on the seven standards for professional learning here.

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