Austin, oh Austin! Reflections on the Worldwide ADE Institute 2018

Austin, Texas (USA) was the place chosen as a backdrop for this year’s Worldwide ADE Institute, an conference for teachers and educational professionals, who specialise in using Apple technologies for teaching and learning (called Apple Distinguished Educator – ADE). Going from Monday to Thursday, it was jam packed with workshops, presentations, conversations and new connections – a week of impressions, inspiration and ideation on a most intense, pleasurable level. #SPOILERALERT It was a fantastic experience!  

It was a series of firsts for me. First time in Texas and first time at a global ADE event (held bi-annually). Having attended the regional ADE last year in Amsterdam as part of the „new class“ (ADE2017), I was privileged to be invited to attend of what I hope would be the first of many globals. There were almost 400 in attendance, from around the world, speaking many languages, from many nationalities – entailing logistical challenges such as translation and interpretation.

Translator booths for Japanese, Spanish and other languages.

Initially I was a bit shy, being the sole representative from Austria, but I quickly found familiar faces and made new friends.

Reflecting on the week I can identify a few key things that made the ADE experience memorable and worthwhile.

Community and Connections

I finally got to meet ADEs I had previously only known from Twitter personally. I got to interact with people like Karen Bosch, with whose help I learned how to sketch note; or Paul Hamilton, whose book „If I were a wizard“ has helped me to identify key coding concepts and link them to everyday situations; or Simon Pile who has taught me how to use magic move in Keynote. Meeting these and others was amazing and edifying at the same time, yet I also learned a lot from dinner-table conversations, workshop and showcase presenters. Special shoutouts go out to Bianca Woodard and Anthony Stirpe for their phenomenal workshop on how to use Garageband and Clips, transforming poetry in language arts and music for history.

I also connected with Catherine Mangan and Mat Pullen, who shared their experience with breakouts for staff meetings, Rasmus Toft, who showed me great ideas to activate learning, or Kurt Klynen, whose materials are spot on. Also on the list were Ingvi Hrannar Omarsson, who showed me what he’s done with Sphero Edu, Adam Torrens, who won the Battlemania with his stunning animations or Henry Tsang, from whom I gained a new appreciation for the science of testing.

Henry Tsang

Presentations, Workshops and Showcases

There was a lot to learn, to see and to explore. I really appreciated the presentations by the various teams at Apple who work on the apps Keynote, Pages, and Garageband, or those who work at developing materials for the Apple Teacher Programme or the new Everyone Can Create Curriculum, which will be out the fall. Especially great was the chance to interact with these teams personally, to provide feedback or ask questions.


Showcases are always a special highlight. The 3 minute countdown adds a level of anxiety – which I can say from firsthand experience – as I was privileged to present my own showcase this year. Nerves galore! It went well …


Just to name two showcase highlights – Stephanie Thompson blew me away with her use of Equity Maps, to ensure share of student voice in her classroom, especially where gender is concerned and Katie Morrow, who sang her way into our hearts with her „Apple tools for literacy“ presentation.


Projects, Creativity, Accessibility

There were three special areas of focus for the attendees this week, centered around personal or group projects, creativity as well as a timely reminder about the unique possibilities for aiding all learners through the accessibility features of iOS and MacOS. The example of Daniela Rubio and Sady Paulsen were simply and truly inspiring.


The moment after the general session on drawing in iWork ended, one could spot ADEs drawing, sketching and animating in every corner of the venue. This has resulted in some amazing examples, which hint at the possibilities for the classroom:

This video is just one of the project videos produced on the subject of creativity.

This shows what can be done when you combine ingenuity and creativity.


Creativity was essentially the grand theme of the conference. There is really no limit to human creativity.


Sketchnotes, oh Sketchnotes …


Here is my sketched summary of the institute, which I created in Keynote:



And last but not least, here is the collection of tweets using the hashtag #ADE2018:

I’m ending this post here but this is actually a continuing story. I learned SO MUCH at the institute and got SO MANY great ideas that I will need a few more weeks to process through it all.

Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who made the institute possible! See you next time!


P.S. Other blogs on #ADE2018 can be found here:

Follow the #ADE2018 hashtag on twitter.