Category Archives: Education

Apple’s Education Commitment

The March 27 Apple education event has come and gone and I’ve taken a couple weeks to digest others’ responses which have been generally positive. My own response, at the time of the event was very positive and after a couple of weeks I continue to be so. There’s a lot to unpack so I’ve taken my time mulling it over. Also, I should say, I’m not a teacher in any school. But education is dear to me and I’ve spent many, many hours of my life encouraging life long learning in every community I have lived in. I’ve helped homeschool kids and volunteered at an adult literacy program, led group workshops for all ages and tutored one-on-one. Education is something I’ve done because I deeply value personal growth. I want the humans around me to strive towards the fullest expression of their potential and if I can be a part of that process I consider myself very fortunate.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get back to Apple’s announcements.

**Everyone Can Create curriculum **
Apple has added a new curriculum along side of their previously introduced Everyone Can Code. This new branch is exactly what we would expect as the follow-up: Everyone Can Create. They created a video to tell this story and it’s a lot of fun:

Apple has this to say about the importance of creativity in the learning process:

After 40 years working alongside educators, we’ve seen — and research has shown — that creative thinking leads to deeper student engagement. And when students are more engaged, they take more ownership of their learning. Creative skills help students become better problem solvers, communicators, and collaborators. They explore more and experiment more. They tell richer stories and find their own unique voices. They stretch their imaginations and make connections they might not otherwise make — and carry all these skills through everything they’ll do in school. And beyond.

They’ve gone to great lengths to highlight the iPad as the best computer for students to have in their endeavors. From form factor to app ecosystem, and I think it’s true. While Chromebooks have gained market share due to the cheap price, ease of management, and the covering of conventional academic needs such as the writing of papers. Stuck in the laptop form factor Chromebooks are good for sitting on desks and doing inside, at a desk tasks. Apple continues to position the iPad as the tool that goes beyond the desk, beyond boundaries. It’s the tool that kids can take outside to record video or sketch or paint or photograph or record audio. It’s the tool that can be used to assemble those videos, sketches, paintings, photographs and audio recordings into a variety of academic presentations or reports or even books.

But Apple isn’t just putting the device out there. They’ve taken the added step of providing lessons to help the process along. The Teacher Guide preview for the Everyone Can Create curriculum looks pretty fantastic.

Designed with the help of educators and creative professionals, Everyone Can Create introduces the fundamental skills and techniques of video, photography, music, and drawing. Students will use free apps available on any iPad, like Clips and GarageBand, taking advantage of the built-in camera, microphone, speakers, Multi-Touch display, and support for Apple Pencil. The curriculum also offers materials to help teachers infuse these skills into the subjects they teach every day. So students can use musical rhythm to make a math equation more memorable, produce a video to re-create a turning point in history, or use drawing to illustrate a city’s changes in architecture over time.

I’ve been reading through it and to this layman’s eyes it looks like a really engaging creative process to enhance the learning of material that might otherwise be learned in more traditional ways, namely the taking of notes from lectures and books which lead to essays and papers. This curriculum is Apple’s recipe for using the creative arts to build a new process

There’s a lot more on the Apple More for Teacher’s resource page.

Cost
One persistent criticism of iPad-centered curriculum is the price. Quite a few have commented that it’s too much, especially for an education system that is cash-strapped. Oh, I’ve got some thoughts on this. Boy do I. Our lack of funding for education is nothing more than a political problem that is immediately fixable. The fact that the U.S. has, for decades, chosen to grossly outspend every other nation on the planet in it’s spending on its military is THE direct cause for our under-funded education system. This is not Apple’s fault and not Apple’s problem. Period.

My proposal is an immediate cut to military funding by 40%. Yes, 40%. Then 50% and then 60% and then 70%. Let’s put that money into education, healthcare, and other humanitarian programs. There’s no reason, none at all, that our education system should be anything but fully funded and such a system could afford iPads for ever student and far more than that.

Until such a time as we make better, more ethical choices about our national priorities schools will continue to go underfunded. In that environment many schools will not be able to go all in on iPads. For many of the poorest schools even the cheapest Chromebooks might be out of reach.

Help Send iPads to Barefoot College in India


Fraser Speirs, who helped set up the world’s first whole-school 1:1 iPad program at the Cedars School of Excellence, has launched a campaign to buy and ship iPads to the Barefoot College in India.

The Barefoot College is an organization in India that works with women, offering educational and advocacy programs designed to improve village life in a variety ways. The base is the development of capacity to grow their economies and standards of living through training not only in the use of appropriate technology but with a goal of trainees becoming trainers. In other words, each one teach one. In addition to the development of technological skills areas such as women’s reproductive health, sustainability and general occupational skills are also addressed.

The “Barefoot Enriche Curriculum” is designed to

“Enriche offers comprehensive training in things like basic technological skills, women’s reproductive health, environmental stewardship and occupational skills.

The programme’s founders say it is digital, viral and co-created. These three aspects are the foundation of the programme’s unique impact and success.

  1. Digital: Technological tools are developed for specific use among semi-literate and illiterate learners from various regions of the country.
  2. Viral: Each woman trained becomes a trainer, actively participating in the ongoing knowledge transfer to others.
  3. Co-Created: Enriche is developed and delivered in partnerships with local social enterprises and NGOs.”

By donating to the campaign, you’ll be helping send 100 used iPads, chargers, cables, and battery packs to the Barefoot College. Fraser is looking to raise about $15,000 by the end of August to cover the cost of buying, testing, and shipping. The iPads will help with all matters of education, advocacy, training, communication, etc.

“The Barefoot College is a place where words like inclusion, social justice and equality are not just words. They are a way of life. We have been championing ideas of capacity building within the rural poor community through solutions like water, solar and livelihood development for our entire history.”
MEAGAN FALLONE, CEO BAREFOOT COLLEGE INTERNATIONAL