10 Tips to Know before becoming an Apple Teacher
Done! Completed! Here are 10 tips I wish I knew before I started the Apple Teacher online courses. This is the second post within a series of informational posts regarding online training and Professional Development in Google, Microsoft and Apple applications and products. My first post in the Summer of 2013, called the 10 Tips to Know before becoming a Google Certified Educator, can be read here. Stay tuned for a third post on Microsoft and what awesome stuff is going on in the Microsoft Education world. But, on with this post. Are you interested in becoming an Apple Teacher? If so, keep reading some thoughts about why you should.
My Philosophy about Digital Education
I decided to do the Apple Teacher certification because I want to help others and I want to become a multi-digitalingual individual. What I mean by that is: I believe developing a linguistic and tangible understanding of different digital platforms, products, applications and software are important. It’s like going to China and being able to read and speak Madarin; or going to Germany and speaking and writing German. Understanding different languages can help us connect with people, places and things we never thought we could. Exposing ourselves to different platforms can broaden our perspectives, build bridges (digitally and physically) and connect with others.
In a world of constant change we need to prepare our children for the future. Currently, my kids go to my in-law’s house and they play with my mother-in-law’s iPad, but if they go to my Mom’s house they are on a PC. At my sister’s they could easily use her iOS devices or even robots, but at home they sometimes use a Dell, MacBook Pro or Surface Pro device. Kids need to be multi-lingual in a digital sense therefore multi-digitalingual. As one of my colleagues – Dawn Driver – said to me (paraphrased), there is a skill that comes when kids are able to transfer their understanding from one software to another; one platform to another and also one application to another.
Becoming an Apple Teacher is part of my journey to become multi-digitalingual. Interested in becoming an Apple Teacher? Then sit down and start by reading this post, then set up an account through this portal called the Apple Teacher Learning Center portal.
#10 Know What it Is and What it is Not.
Apple Teacher is different from the Apple Distinguished Educator. Apple Teacher relates to online coursework with iBook readings, quizzes and virtual badges. These are self-paced courses. You read an iBook and then write a quiz. I am in Canada, and it was only in April 2017 that these online courses were available to Canadian educators. These courses concluded with a quiz that you have to take. The quizzes are short and brief. And I am meaning short, with only 5 questions. If you get 3/5, you need to redo the quiz. I “failed” one of the quizzes and I was able to restart a new quiz immediately. When I did Google Educator back in 2014, I had to wait days to redo the retest. The quizzes are sometimes fill-in-the-blanks or multiple choice. There are 8 iBooks and quizzes for the Mac certification, and there are 8 iBooks and quizzes for the iPad certification. You must login to the Apple Teacher Learning Center to do the quizzes.
#9 Know the Long and the Short of It
I thought this Apple Teacher coursework would take a very long time to complete. I originally thought that I would only do the Mac route, but once I read the iBooks and looked at both the iPad and Mac iBook versions, I realized the quizzes might be similar. I was right! So I decided to do both routes: Mac and iPad. I would read the iBook for Keynote for Mac, then I would take the quiz; then I would read the Keynote for iPad, then I would take that quiz. Some of the material in both iBooks were the same and they were both hands-on activities – where you work alongside of the iBook to create something practical for a mock classroom.
The following 8 iBooks and 8 Quizzes are in each stream – iPad and Mac:
#8 Play First and Do Later
Playdate fun! I would recommend playing around with the applications before jumping into Apple Teacher certification. Playing around with the applications and interacting with the interface will be a great benefit to you prior to reading the materials and taking the quizzes. Also by playing first, you will need your updates to be done. Some of them take a long time to update. For me Garageband took a very long time to update. Oh and a heads up, unfortunately I had an old iPad, so I could not update some of the software to the latest update. It didn’t change my results, but it was somewhat frustrating.
#7 Be Empowered By Hands-on Activities
Becoming an Apple Teacher through hands-on activities empowered me. I used so much lined paper by writing down ideas the iBooks had to bring an application or a process into my classroom. For example, the idea of using Pages to create a collaborative travel brochure or just understanding short cuts like the three finger swipe up allows for multiple spaces to view windows open on your desktop.
#6 Seek and Search Always
Some of us are familiar to the traditional way of writing quizzes. The tension is on and some feel we have to get it all into our head, but these quizzes are not meant to trick you, they are meant to help you just check your learning. Sometimes taking time to Google or go back to the iBook and do a Spotlight/Search check on a term or phrase may help you get the answer right. Once you pass you get a virtual badge. It lights up into bright yellow from a very dim yellow on your dashboard.
#5 Take Time to Have Your Applications Open
While going through the iBooks try to parallel the step-by-step ideas with creating one of your own. This will help you grasp terminology; understanding the interface and building your own materials for your students. Here is one of my “experiments”.
#4 Weaknesses and Strengths
I knew I was weak in Garageband, but very confident in iMovie. I chose to leave iMovie to dead last, so I could finish confidently, but I chose to do Garageband when I knew I had time to study. You and I both know that we can’t be experts in every single application or software, so plan out your goals and strategies. All these tips in this list are important, but knowing how and when to hit each exam is important too. I started with the Productivity and Creativity courses because I thought it would be a good way to get my digital feet wet on how these courses are completed.
#3 What is Your Time Frame Like?
I started July 7th and completed the exams on July 12th. For me, I have two children aged 8 and 10 and a husband almost 40. We are doing renovations and my son is in baseball and my daughter is in Track and Field. Since Mike is coaching James and is at the baseball field, I drive my daughter to Track. Her 2 hour long practices are close to a library, so I would drop her off and then pick her up. I would most likely get through one iBook and one test. I also am an early morning person, so getting up 6:30 while the rest of the house is sleeping is okay for me. I enjoy going to the gym, but I put the gym on hold for a while because I wanted to finish off this Apple Teacher certification and continue with my momentum. So, I would recommend giving yourself a timeline and be realistic.
#3 Find a Study Buddy
A big shout out to Ian Landy from the Shuswap in B.C., Canada. I found out in June that this amazing educator was taking on the challenge of doing the Apple Teacher. We skyped the first week in July and talked about what we each were doing. He kept me accountable and it was awesome to just have someone to check in with, and cheer each other on during this journey. We would private message each other and this helped me so much along the way to completing the certification.
#2 Can you Bring your Bling to Your Community?
Please use these skills to share, innovate and create awesome connected communities. Share your knowledge and tell people you received your certification. Someone might need your help one day, if Google doesn’t suffice. In addition, why are you doing the certification in the first place? My school is currently housing iPads, Macs and PC devices. My school district is also starting an initiative to have 5 iPads in Primary classes. I love to help and I want to help others in my school to make our children and staff feel amazing and empowered. By investing in others, then others can feel confident to help other colleagues and students, and even families. Building a skillset isn’t about the badges or virtual bling, it is about bringing a helping hand.
#1 Challenge Yourself
After completing all the virtual badges there is more. There are Coding certifications you can get too, other than just the Mac and iPad Apple Teacher certification. They are called Swift Playground badges. Pretty cool. There is something very awesome about learning and enjoying the process. It also allows us teachers to feel what our students feel when we put books, iBooks, applications and assessments infront of them. It’s been about 15 years since I completed my education, and going back into this virtual classroom is a very cool experience. I hope you consider doing this certification and become an Apple Teacher.
Thanks for listening to my 10 tips and I hope you consider doing this coursework. You can learn more through the Apple Education website here. I really enjoyed the journey! Any suggestions to improve, enhance or encourage others along this process, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!