Through the fire, I’ll keep burning on.

“When it goes wrong, I’ll take my time and keep on holding on”

Chase & Status: All Goes Wrong (feat. Tom Grennan)


Will Kennard, of Chase & Status fame, shared his story at the Apple Distinguished Educators Academy this year. In an hour long special appearance, he told stories of his influences and inspirations. Tales of creativity and collaboration took us on a journey where obsession, attention to detail, failure and perseverance have lead to success. Will reflected that collaboration can only be successful when there is a balance of personalities and experiences. Everyone has something to contribute and his best work comes together when different people work with a shared vision.

Start With Why

The Academy began with ‘Why’.

  • Why are you here?
  • What do you care about most?
  • What motivates you?
  • What is your one best thing?

A gathering of around 140 educators burst to life at 8.00am on a Tuesday morning, at the end of the school year. Why are we here? We scribbled notes about our vision for learning and mixed with as many other educators as we could to share our why. We reflected and refined our ideas, listening to each others vision statements and working on our own from feedback.


My vision still isn’t perfect, there are passions from my wider role that it doesn’t cover: leadership, professional learning, parent partnerships. This activity focused me though, it took me back to my roots. That’s what the Apple Distinguished Educator community does for me. It grounds me. It’s a chance to refocus, change the lens or look from another perspective.


When I joined the Apple Distinguished Educator program in 2013, I was inspired by professional photographer Bill Frakes (our special guest speaker for that event). Since then, my own photography has developed and my own interests in this area began. It now shapes work that I am doing in the classroom and with other organisations such as The Forestry Commission. This year, the photographer in residence was Jillian Edelstein.

Truth & Lies


Attending Jillian’s masterclass meant a lot to me. A photographer who captures amazing stories. Stories that are personal to her and meaningful to the world. I listened to ways that Jillian could communicate people’s joys and sorrows, everything that they know and everything that they wish for. Her work tells compelling stories of inequality, justice and collaboration.


Stories are only told well when they are communicated clearly. Expert designer, Hugh Schermuly, was on hand all week to provide advice on how to communicate our vision effectively. Hugh’s designs are stunning. Working in this masterclass, I revisited key elements of design and refined my own work.

Text hierarchy matters! Make 2 Changes.


Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 15.36.16

These three guest speakers are driven by their audiences and we began to explore ways to amplify our vision and passions for learning. Clips, a new multimedia app, became our container to communicate our stories. Clips provides a good basis for design, uses photography, video and text. It naturally brings people together and gives everyone a voice.


Classroom Clips brings together all of the projects that Apple Distinguished Educators have worked on across all of the Academies this summer. It’s a timeline of stories from right across the world, showcasing best practices of passionate educators from all walks of life.


This project came out of the London academy. This team set out to gather short tours of places in 80 different countries. Within a few days they had already met this goal and the collection is growing by the hour. It’s amazing to watch #ClipsTours flood in from every corner of the globe.

My #ClipsTour of Nottingham

This project resonates with me. It aligns with a vision that I have with Jason Milner. Our project, Stories of Lifetime, has a similar aim. #ClipsTours focuses on geography and celebrating people and places. Stories of a Lifetime focuses on geography, history and celebrates stories that shape communities. I see these two Apple Distinguished Educator projects working hand-in-hand in the future! They compliment each other.

These two projects bring people together and make connections across the world. We learn from our places in the world, we gain a greater understanding about different ways of life and this helps us to honour diversity all around us.

My class retelling the story of Robin Hood and The Sherif of Nottingham.

Any teacher or class can join #ClipsTours or Stories of a Lifetime. The beauty of these simple projects is that you don’t need to make your own global connections. The project does that for you. By submitting a #ClipsTour or a Story of a Lifetime from you place in the world, you are contributing to a global collection. Even by viewing the #ClipsTours or Stories of a Lifetime, you are working with a global audience.


Coding is passion of mine that didn’t make it in my vision statement either! It is another interest that has come from being an Apple Distinguished Educator. I see my peers doing amazing things with code, with learners of all ages. I met a teacher at the Academy this year, who has little coding experience, but is using the Everyone Can Code curriculum to teach Higher Education students. They are now developing their own apps for iOS using Xcode. She explained how easy it is to use ‘Intro to App Development with Swift’.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 12.35.08

“This course is designed to help you build a solid foundation in programming fundamentals using Swift as the language. You’ll get practical experience with the tools, techniques, and concepts needed to build a basic iOS app from scratch. You’ll also learn user interface design principles, which are fundamental to programming and making great apps. Prior programming experience is not required for this course. If you have programming experience, you can move through the early lessons quickly as you continue to learn about software development tools, concepts, and best practices that go beyond programming fundamentals.”

Download this free Teacher Guide here.

I was so inspired by this story. To teach programming at that level is incredible. This curriculum has motivated a teacher to become a specialist in an area of learning she had never dreamt she could do!

What’s more, I was then introduced to Rob Lowney (Educational Technologist) and Jane Moffatt (Solicitor and Course Manager at the Education Centre of the Law Society of Ireland). These educators will be working with primary aged girls to teach them to code. They will be using the free ‘Get Started with Code’ teacher guides from the Everyone Can Code curriculum. As I have started to use these guides, we sat together to explore these guides and gain better understanding of how they work. Soon we were joined by:


Together, we want to help other early years and primary teachers wrap coding around their existing teaching. We want to show that there are so many aspects of the curriculum that are already taught which support computational thinking concepts. The ‘Get Started With Code’ teacher guide brings home this point and our collection of clips points out a handful of the many activities which do this well. Our clips also provide teacher-to-teacher advice on how to best teach with Get Started With Code.

You can view the full collection of our Get Started With Code clips here.

Download the free Get Started With Code teacher guides here.

Read more about my experience with Get Started With Code here.

“Through the fire, I’ll keep burning on, well I’ll hold myself together, when it all goes wrong. The fires, they keep on burning, well I’ll hold myself together”

Chase & Status: All Goes Wrong (feat. Tom Grennan)

When I was listening to Will Kennard speak about his life, where he’s come from and where he is going, I was reminded that I am part of a community that supports exploration, risk taking and providing stimulating learning resources.

But this community also provides a stimulating learning environment for me. This is community of educators, of friends, who support me to take risks and explore new ideas and opportunities. Being an Apple Distinguished Educator is my enabling environment; for my professional life but also my personal life. These people are now my friends, familiar faces who listen to my joys and sorrows, everything that I know and everything that I wish for.


Apple Distinguished Educators…

They are my Tribe.

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