Apple has recently announced their class of 2019 Distinguished Educators, and Barren County’s Justin Browning is among them.
Being an Apple Distinguished Educator, or ADE, is a highly distinctive status. Browning is one of 150 teachers from the United States, and 500 from the world, selected for this honor. Those selected participate in a training in Cupertino, California, where the Apple headquarters are located. At the training they spend time with other educators networking and developing digital resources to promote integration of technology into the classroom.
Browning graduated from Western Kentucky University and was originally pursuing a degree in civil engineering. He said he quickly realized sitting behind a desk wasn’t for him and that he wanted to interact with people for his career. He decided to pursue a teaching degree and become a computer science and technology educator.
To be selected as an ADE an applicant must submit a video detailing how they use technology in their school. Browning said he made his application focus on student achievement rather than himself.
“I made it very centered around the projects that were happening in here,” Browning said, “Not about what I was doing and capable of. I made it about what the students were actually producing.”
Some of those projects include apps using Xcode. Xcode is the type of coding used to create apps. One project was designed to help first responders and another was to increase school safety. Additionally he highlighted an app created to engage elementary school students in the Barren County schools 9-5-2-1-0 initiative to increase healthy eating and exercising habits.
As far as why he was chosen to be an ADE Browning believes it was because he showcased apps students made.
“It was demoing [the apps] and letting them show their products inside of that video that took it over the top, because honestly I didn’t want Apple to hear about me. I wanted them to see that this is what we can do,” Browning said.
Browning also believes his rural take on technology helped him earn the certification. While the projects going on at BCHS may not be substantial as those in Boston, Seattle or Los Angeles, they are considered astonishing in a small town like Glasgow.
“The rare thing is we’re doing it in rural Kentucky, which is just off the charts to some people,” Browning said.
Browning hopes being an ADE will help him to expand the opportunities of Barren County students.
“I want students and adults and families in Barren County to have the same opportunities as people in bigger cities,” Browning said.
Browning says he hopes receiving this recognition will help Barren County, and the programs he offers, to continue to gain national recognition. He also is excited to be involved in developing resources and materials for other educators to further integrate technology into their teaching.