Apple and ConnectED

Giving products, support, and opportunities to schools that need them most.

Apple has joined President Obama’s ConnectED initiative and pledged $100 million of teaching and learning solutions to 114 underserved schools across the country. We’re donating an iPad to every student, a Mac and iPad to every teacher, and an Apple TV to every classroom. And we’re implementing a process that provides planning, professional learning, and ongoing guidance so every school can experience the transformational power of technology.

Establishing Goals

“We really had to hone in on key goals we could measure.”

Every school faces unique challenges. That’s why we meet with administrators from each Apple ConnectED school to craft a vision for the role of technology in their classrooms. As part of this planning, we work with school leadership to form a core group of individuals responsible for defining clear and measurable goals.

At Walton Middle School in Compton, California, one of Principal RoseMarie Hickman’s top issues was increasing student attendance. “It’s truly important because attendance and enrollment are tied to school funding. Higher attendance means more services for our scholars.”

With that challenge in mind, Principal Hickman set a goal of increasing the student attendance rate to 98 percent. To achieve it, she is using Apple products as an incentive for her students. “They have to be at first period in order to check out an iPad,” she says. “And it’s worked beautifully.” The effort has also affected some of Hickman’s other goals. “I’ve noticed that we’re decreasing our off-campus suspension rate compared to last year, because our scholars simply do not want to miss school.”

Dr. RoseMarie Hickman, Principal
Walton Middle School

Building Infrastructure

“If you can understand the system, you can maintain it.”

Many Apple ConnectED schools do not have a strong network or a dedicated technology department. So before any products are delivered, Apple Project Engineers conduct a full survey of the school’s existing wireless infrastructure and help install or upgrade a network.

In the remote village of Nanwalek, Alaska, the K–12 school was making plans to improve its slow, satellite-provided Internet connection. Our engineers consulted with district officials to ensure that the school’s wireless infrastructure would not only be fast, but would also be ready to support the arrival of over 100 new Apple products. In addition to working with the district’s offsite IT team, Apple Project Managers needed to find someone local to handle day-to-day management of the devices. Tommy Evans, an aide and parent in the village, volunteered for the role. “They showed us where a signal goes and how to tailor equipment around students’ needs,” he says. “When things were put in place, it took off like a rocket.”

The new wireless infrastructure has profoundly affected the school, which includes Evans’s daughter, Tessie, an eighth-grader who is hearing impaired. “Because we’re so isolated, she felt like she was the only one who is deaf.” Now Tessie uses FaceTime and other iPad apps to communicate with students and mentors all over the world.

Tommy Evans, Aide
Nanwalek School

Preparing Teachers

“I’ve had to slow down because I get so excited about all you can do.”

To help every teacher become comfortable with new technology, the Apple Education team provides a series of workshops designed specifically for educators. We start by helping them integrate iPad, Mac, and Apple TV into their curriculum and lessons, then show them how to create original and engaging books, presentations, and other learning materials.

“Apple made sure not to overwhelm us,” says Kirt Gordon, a third-grade teacher at Salida del Sol Elementary School in Yuma, Arizona. “We could approach each session in small segments, enabling those of us who were further along to advance on our own.”

Inspired by his professional learning workshops and the agricultural community that surrounds the school, Gordon now teaches a lesson about the Archimedes screw, an irrigation device invented in ancient Greece. Using animated simulations in apps, the new lesson enables students to rotate iPad for a 3D look at how the machine works so they can create models of their own.

2,930 devices that have been given to teachers in Apple ConnectED schools in the first year
Kirt Gordon, Teacher
Salida del Sol Elementary School

Delivering Devices to Students

“When something’s on iPad, it’s automatically fun.”

In Mr. Nunez’s Language Arts class in Yuma, Arizona, students are learning about rhyme and meter by directing and recording screenplays using GarageBand. Tyrell, a sixth-grader at Westview Middle School in St. Louis, is creating a multimedia presentation in Keynote about the Bahamas after he used Flyover in Maps to take a tour of the islands. And in Nanwalek, Alaska, Severan has discovered how important math is in pursuing his dream of being a pilot. He’s using apps like IXL and Notes to learn about angles and multiplication tables, concepts he plans to put into action flying supplies and people to his village.

Daveon, Student
Riverview Gardens High School

Providing Ongoing Support

“It’s not just ‘Here are the devices, figure out how to use them.’ We’re learning how to do it for life.”

After each student receives an iPad, we continue building relationships with the schools. Apple Professional Learning Specialists, many of whom are former teachers and maintain teaching certificates, provide administrators, teachers, and students with tailored, onsite support and guidance to help them reach their goals.

At Westview Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri, eighth-grade teacher Brandon Small’s relationship with his Apple Professional Learning Specialist continues to evolve. At first, his APL Specialist was a resource for questions about his new technology. “It was nice sitting down with an expert on Keynote and Pages to learn everything about them,” he remembers. “It gave us something we could use right away in the classroom.”

Now Small looks to his APL Specialist for ideas to enhance his lessons and his students’ learning. Through a series of workshops, he’s discovering how other apps can help him incorporate interactive games, graphs, and films into his classes. “They’re giving us support and we’re learning. It’s not a one-time thing,” says Small. “The learning keeps getting better.”

349 days of Apple Professional Learning that have been delivered to ConnectED schools in the first year
Brandon Small, Teacher
Westview Middle School

Apple and ConnectED
Partner Schools

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