Reflection by:
Nikole Blanchard
The Dunham School
Director of Innovation & Technology

Apple recently 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.

When I first read about the program through the Apple Distinguished Educator network, I immediately registered and earned all 8 badges. Thoughts raced through my head … “That didn’t take me long. I didn’t know that about Numbers. I am going to try to use Quicktime for my next tutorial. Hmmm, that wasn’t that bad!”  My brain wouldn’t rest as I over-analyzed the program and how it fit at The Dunham School.  I thought, “If I could do this, than my teachers could do it. ALL MY TEACHERS.”

I decided to sleep on my big idea of ALL teachers becoming Apple Teacher. My brain was weary from a long day of work and maybe I wasn’t thinking straight.  However, when I woke up my gut told me that I had to move forward. What if all Dunham teachers became Apple Teachers? That would support my belief that Dunham teachers are committed to using the Apple ecosystem to impact learning. I immediately scheduled a meeting with Division Heads to pitch the idea. They loved it.

I began to draft ideas for a flier to advertise the program to the teachers. Click here for a copy. You know everything needs to be in writing! With the help of my Technology Committee (which is composed of two teachers from each division), we created a timeline and incentives for earning badges. All of my committee thought it was obtainable and 4 of the 6 became Apple Teachers before it was shared with the faculty. Of course these folks are quite tech savvy, but they agreed that our teachers could do it!

The thought of all my teachers (who I must remind you are my students) becoming Apple Teachers gave me chills.

Drawing from my teaching days, I know teachers would ask, “What’s in it for me?” I needed to sell the program so my teachers wanted to do it. At a Monday faculty meeting, I shared the plan trying to add humor to keep people interested. Teacher immediately bought in when they heard that October was Apple badge month. If they earned their badges, they would not have to attend Monday meetings in October. Teachers felt valued and appreciated to be given time back. They could leave campus early and not fight 5 o’clock traffic.

The initial meeting went better than I ever expected. The goal was for teachers to work together and earn at least one badge during the meeting. Many used the actual software and the iBook resources to learn more about the MacBook. By the end of the meeting, 5 teachers were Apple Teachers. By the end of the week, 65 teachers are Apple Teachers. By the end of the 2nd week, 78 teachers are Apple Teachers. There are only 10 teachers left. Speechless.

I am humbled by the dedication of the faculty and Division Heads (who are ALL Apple Teachers) at The Dunham School. I get tears in my eyes when I begin to realize that my dream is slowly become reality.

Thinking of following in Dunham’s footsteps with your faculty? It really is a win-win situation for any school. The teachers were excited to work together, learn something new and be rewarded with appealing incentives. For me, my teachers have confirmed the school’s investment in  Apple technology while completing meaningful professional development.  I recommend others to think outside the box – follow Mr. Steve Job’s advice and encourage your teachers to make a dent on the world. Dunham teachers sure did!