Lighthouse school

What it means for DAA to be named an Apple Distinguished School

What does it mean for DAA to be named an Apple Distinguished School?
It means that we act as a lighthouse school that is willing to share our practice with the wider education community. It also means that our journey isn’t over, in fact, it has just begun! As an Apple Distinguished School we aim for continuous innovation in teaching and learning.

What was your involvement?
I lead the application process and the collation of our eBook application with two other Innovation Coaches. This included collecting a wide range of teaching and learning evidence in the form of photos, videos and work. We worked with SLT and our teaching staff to document our journey as a 1:1 iPad school from August 2017 to June 2019. My job was to tell the story of how we have transformed teaching and learning through the use of iPads.

Innovation and Digital Coach at DAA, Lauren Angarola is also an Apple Distinguished Educator

What’s the next step for the school this year?
Our next step is forward! We are constantly looking for opportunities to grow and learn and continuously innovate. A major goal for us moving forward is to give students the opportunity for real-world engagement. One way this has happened is through many of our classes starting podcasts that are then published on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Anchor. These podcasts are available for anyone to listen. Additionally, we are aiming to build in a unit of ‘App Design’ to our coding curriculum this year, which is another opportunity for students to engage with real-world learning experiences.


Tell us about some of the technological projects that DAA students have accomplished?
Our students are constantly creating. You name it, they’ve probably made it. We have students creating Bill Nye-style science videos, ancient civilisations in Minecraft, original music for their podcasts and math tutorials using Keynote, inspired by Khan Academy. They’ve also designed communities in Minecraft, created representations of human body systems using SAM Labs and created art using Spheros.

DAA students and staff with their Apple Distinguished Award

Tell us about your teaching career so far?
I began my teaching career in China, at a bilingual school near Shanghai. The school had almost no technology but I enjoyed the challenge of using even my personal iPad or phone to bring in learning technologies when possible. This was where my journey into educational technology started. I began working on my Masters of Educational Technology while in China and realised how much I loved working in ed tech. Then my school got a cart of iPad devices and I really got to explore the role of tech in my classroom. When I was ready to look for a new job, my priority was finding a technology coach or ICT teaching position which is what led here. Being at DAA has opened the door to so many opportunities for growth including becoming an Apple Professional Learning Specialist and an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Have you always had an interest in technology?
Not in a traditional sense. As a kid, I always assumed I wasn’t ‘smart’ enough for computer science or anything to do with technology. But, I’ve always been interested in technology in my personal life and loved trying new apps and software as a teenager and in college. When I started teaching, I found that the marriage between education and technology was something I was really passionate about. Identifying this passion is what has now pushed me to expand my knowledge.

How can teachers in other schools replicate this achievement?
I think often the assumption is that you can’t be innovative unless you have the latest tech tools. I believe the opposite. I feel that true innovation happens when you don’t have access to every device, robotics kit and app because it forces you to think outside the box. Regardless of the number of devices, I encourage you to start your journey by getting on Twitter and connecting with the educational community. I learn so much from my Twitter network and it’s completely free. This will give you an idea of what other educators and schools are doing to create transformative and innovating learning experiences.

For more info, contact Lauren at l.angarola_daa@gemsedu.com