Apple's ConnectED now serving iPads to more than 9,000 teachers, 32,000 students at 114 underserved

in iPad
Apple announced today that its commitment to ConnectED has resulted in 32,145 students in underserved public schools gaining access to iPads for the 2016 school year, as well as Macs and iPads for more than 9,042 teachers.

Along with new computers, Apple's ConnectED program has helped 114 schools in 29 states across the country with ongoing support--including 4,434 hours of assistance from Professional Learning Specialists--and wireless networking upgrades that included 189 miles of internet cable infrastructure.

ConnectED is an initiative launched by U.S. President Obama in 2013 to encourage tech companies to help bolster America's most vulnerable and underserved schools. During his 2014 State Of the Union address, Obama noted Apple's $100 million commitment to the program.

"We're donating an iPad to every student, a Mac and iPad to every teacher, and an Apple TV to every classroom," the company notes on its ConnectED site. "And we're implementing a process that provides planning, professional learning, and ongoing guidance so every school can experience the transformational power of technology."

Wirelessly ConnectED to the world

In working with new schools, Apple Project Engineers first "conduct a full survey of the school's existing wireless infrastructure and help install or upgrade a network" before sending new computing hardware. Apple says it deploys teams of about 20 people to build out each school's wireless network.

The company then works with local staff to show how to make the most from donated devices. At one school in the remote village of Nanwalek, Alaska, Apple worked with Tommy Evans, a volunteer aid and local parent to take over day to day management of the new equipment.

"When things were put in place, it took off like a rocket," Evans noted. He also commented that his hearing impaired daughter Tessie was particularly affected by the upgrade in not just hardware but in fast networking, stating that she can now use FaceTime and other iPad apps to communicate with other students and mentors worldwide, erasing the feeling that she was the only deaf student.

Learning to effectively use technology

Apple notes that its 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.""They're giving us support and we're learning. It's not a one-time thing. The learning keeps getting better." - teacher Brandon Small

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

At Westview Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri, eighth-grade teacher Brandon Small described that Apple's specialists initially provided grounding basics that "gave us something we could use right away in the classroom."

He added, "They're giving us support and we're learning. It's not a one-time thing. The learning keeps getting better."

In addition to Apple, ConnectED has also received around $100 million in support for free Internet connectivity from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, as well as free or discounted software from Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft and others.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Wow. Just imagine what they could do if they used a Mac.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    irelandireland Posts: 17,780member
    'Undeserved' I read the title as. Whoops!
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 3 of 3
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,188member
    I wonder what kind of "digital" things kids are learning through these program? The links don't reveal much other than an opportunity for big technology companies to contribute their wares to the program and garner some ... well deserved attention. What's the word from the customer side? Are kids learning and being inspired or just infatuated with cool new toys? 

    The last thing I would want to see are Mac/PC programs that focus on teaching young children how to drive industrial/business apps like Word, Excel, and KeyNote. That's like teaching kindergarteners the basics of working in a coal mine so we can prepare them for a future and somewhat depressing lifestyle as a cog in the industrial machinery, i.e., to fill our dusty shoes when we can no longer work. The iPad is the perfect platform for creativity and learning - but better apps are probably needed to bridge the gap between the iPad as a cool toy to the iPad as viewport and transporter into a creative and inspiring new world. I for one would like to see more open ended and exploratory apps like Swift Playgrounds and art/drawing/story-creation programs find their way into the so called "digital education" system to light the spark of creativity in kids, especially those who aren't being inspired by their current rote based educational systems or their distracted, overworked, and inattentive parents. 
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