“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” -Albert Einstein
Don’t you love when people say to you, “Must be nice to have your whole summer off!” I don’t know many educators who have the summer “off”. Most of us are involved in professional activities and learning during the summer. In fact, if you think about it, professional athletes continue to train in the off-season to maintain their athletic skills. So too, do we need to continue to hone our skills…to fill our own buckets and re-charge our batteries.
I had the privilege of being chosen to attend the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute in San Diego. Last week, global educators from 30 different countries came together to focus on bringing learning to life with the iPad. We became citizen scientists in a variety of off-site excursions. We explored many different topics relevant to sustaining life on Earth from the eyes of a student. We utilized a variety of apps to test water samples, track a forest-destroying beetle, examine plankton, and adopt a tree. We used our iPads to record sounds, images, and create videos to document our weeklong journey. We reflected on our own classrooms and how we can bring science curriculum to life in a real, hands-on way.
While these off-site excursions were amazing and illuminating, one of the most lasting legacies of this institute for me will be the global connections I made with brilliant educators. A few of us who teach young students formed a lasting group and immediately began conversations around a global project involving our students. We combined resources to create a book in iBooks Author of our experiences as citizen scientists at Rancho Cuyamaca. We also developed an iTunes U Course where our students will come together as global peers and work together throughout this next school year. We will join together with kindergarten students in the UK, Italy and Ireland as well as students from Kansas and Maine. There will be language learning opportunities and cultural exchanges. The possibilities are endless!
So, I encourage you to create or re-connect with your PLN on Twitter, Facebook or other social media. Have conversations, share ideas, create, and re-charge. Summer is nearing an end and we will be hearing the school bell ring before you know it! And…when your non-educator friends quip that it’s nice to have the summer off, thank them for the good laugh! “Whatever, man…”
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!