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Apple Inc. recognizes Mr. Marlon Fernandez as Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE)

Congratulations to our Lasallian Partner, Mr. Marlon Fernandez for being recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE), Class of 2023

As a recipient of this recognition, he shares this prestigious journey, through his reflection entitled,  FROM WONDER TO EMPOWERMENT: Harnessing Technology for Student Success.

By: Mr. Marlon Fernandez, Arts & Design Faculty, Vermosa Campus

“Have you ever wondered how technology can revolutionize how we teach and learn in the arts?” This question echoed in my mind as I embarked on the journey of creating my Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) application video in March 2023. It was a question filled with curiosity, hope, and a touch of apprehension. Little did I know that it would lead me down a path of self-discovery and transformation.

Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) is given to selected educators and a distinguished “program to recognize K–12 and higher-education pioneers who are using Apple technology to transform teaching and learning. These are the educators who are looking to change the world. They are active leaders from around the world helping other educators rethink what’s possible with iPad and Mac to make learning deeply personal for every student” according to Apple

As I worked on the application process, doubts and fears emerged, making me feel like my passion wasn’t enough. While editing the script of my video presentation, I found myself engulfed by a sea of uncertainty. Tears welled as I whispered, “Lord, ito lang po meron ako oh [this is all I have prepared for this application]. Am I truly enough? Should I pause and reconsider?” It may sound dramatic, but at that moment, I felt small and insignificant in the vast landscape of global technology education, especially in the case of a giant tech company like Apple.

But then, a surge of courage washed over me. I took a deep breath and pressed the button — SUBMIT. With closed eyes, I released my creation into the world, trusting it would find its way to the right eyes and hearts.

And it did.

From left to right: Mr. Henry Leen Magahis (ADE Class of 2017, Enrique Zobel Foundation, Inc.), Ms. Lea Abarentos, (ADE Class of 2019, DLS-College of Saint Benilde), Ms. Marie Selene Ms. Dominique Estaris (ADE Class of 2023, Xavier School), Mr. Francis Jim Tuscano (ADE Class of 2015, Xavier School).

The acceptance letter from Apple arrived early on the morning of April 19, 2023, the same day I needed to present my research paper during the 4th Asian Multidisciplinary Research Conference in Cebu City. The surge of emotions I experienced was overwhelming. I had been accepted into the ADE Institute, becoming one of the two Filipino educators for the Class of 2023, joining the esteemed group of 26 ADEs from the country. Reflecting on my journey to this point, three words come to mind: surprised, honored, and blessed.

SURPRISED. From the tedious visa application process to the roller coaster trip to Australia, I finally made it to the ADE Institute. The registration and accommodation went smoothly, and the facilitation was pure perfection. I was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome we received as new ADEs. The active members of the ADE Institute formed a cheering path as we walked towards the hall, and later at the table, they presented us with a black, wedding-like box as if they were proposing. Inside was a sleek silver badge adorned with the ADE logo. Without hesitation, I said YES; who wouldn’t? And so began my journey of discovery, walking alongside educators from Asia and the Pacific (APAC) region. I was further surprised by the insightful talks delivered by the ADEs and Apple educators, covering various plenary and workshop sessions. As new members, we were also invited to host our talks or conferences—evidence of the program’s inclusivity and support for excellence. We also engaged in friendly competitions, showcasing our tricks and tips, and even participated in a trivia game where my team, composed of eight members from four countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan where we emerged victorious!

HONORED. The privilege of connecting with different people was indeed an honor. I even had the opportunity to be featured using the Translate app while conversing with a Japanese ADE, presenting to him one of my best practices in using Keynote in my Research class. Standing on stage during the graduation ceremony, I felt honored to share my experiences and insights with the ADE community.

BLESSED. Above all, I am immensely fortunate to have had this opportunity to travel and experience the ADE Institute, where I learned much about how Apple Education can address the challenges in Education Technology (EdTech). The Institute provided me with a platform to engage with passionate educators, exchange ideas, and gain a deeper understanding of the transformative power of technology in education.

Reflecting on my journey from submitting that application video to standing among fellow ADEs, I am reminded that embracing wonder and taking bold steps can lead to profound growth and empowerment. The ADE Institute was not just an event; it was a catalyst that propelled me forward in my mission to harness technology for the success of my students.

From wonder to empowerment, my path continues. Challenges will arise, and doubts will surface, but I am steadfast in my belief that technology when used purposefully and creatively, can unlock the full potential of every student. So, as I conclude my reflection on this remarkable journey, I urge you, dear reader, to embrace the wonder, face the uncertainties, and press that button. Submit your ideas, share your voice, and let the world witness the transformative power of technology in education, for it is in those daring moments that we find ourselves and empower others to soar to new heights. With the support of the ADE community and the tools at my disposal, I am committed to providing a spark to my students, preparing them for success in a rapidly changing world.

Animo La Salle!