I had the privilege to once again attend the life changing Apple Distinguished Educator Institute (ADE) this past summer. The institute was a week full of networking, professional development, exhilarating opportunities, and memories that will last a lifetime. Over 400 educators from North America came together to share stories and lessons describing how technology and Apple products have revolutionized the learning environments for their students.
While the reflections and events of the week have now been well documented, I thought I would share with you a slightly different perspective.
Have you seen this video “First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy” a.k.a. the “Lone Nut?” The video basically tells the story of how one man decided to do what he wanted by dancing wildly at a music concert. Not long after, when another man saw how much fun this “lone nut” was having, he too decided to join in. Not long after that, an entire hillside of initially apprehensive people decided it was okay to let their hair down and accompany him in this dance hysteria.
The story is a great example of leadership. One person can truly create change and blaze a trail for others to follow, simply by having fun at what they do.
My week at the ADE institute seemed to illustrate this premise. Each of the amazing educators that were in attendance is the “lone nut” in their school or district. These lone nuts believe leveraging Apple technology transforms education, and our hope is that our peers on the classroom hillsides will eventually follow our quest.
Let me make this a bit more personal though.
One night after the daily activities had ceased, a small group of four of us decided to have some fun with an incredibly silly app called Heads Up. Our game of Heads Up was classic. We laughed, yelled, and bonded to this game. As other ADE’s walked through the courtyard where we were sitting, they stopped, looked at us like, “what is going on over there?!” and started to venture over to learn more. Soon chairs were being added to our tables and they joined our game. After about an hour, the courtyard was filled with educators sharing in laughter and community.
However, the group did become quite large and loud. And well, you might guess that there were a few complaints about the noise level. Hotel security came over to us to relay the complaints, and the game abruptly ended. That’s okay. It was late. People needed sleep.
But the more I thought about this Heads Up experience, the more I can relate it back to our schools.
The ADE experience for me was ultimately the perfect example of Heads Up, a group of teachers making a lot of noise about changing and transforming education through Apple technologies. And yet, it dawned on me to think, how often do we hear that voice from above in our own schools to quiet down. The voice filters into our classrooms or faculty meetings, and says, “You’re doing too much. That’s simply just too much technology. We don’t need that much ‘noise.’ Let’s get out the textbook and move on with the lecture.”
I prefer being the lone nut. How about you? Let’s keep making noise.