It's going to take more than saving frogs from a grisly death for Apple to take over schools. The company announced its latest iPad update at an education themed press event on Tuesday inside a Chicago public school. The flashiest news was that the $326 iPad now works with the $99 Apple Pencil stylus. Apple wants schools to buy these products at a slightly discounted rate so students can create art, immerse themselves in history and, yes, dissect virtual frogs.
Apple’s new stance seems to be that kids can interact with iPads in ways that are unique. iPads have a point of view on education. And while not every school–or even most of them–can choose the iPad as its classroom computer, Apple is motivated to remove every obstacle that it can, making the experience as valuable as possible for the kids who use them and the educators who help the kids.
When administrators in Ohio’s Mentor Public Schools were buying MacBooks during the 2015-16 school year, the local Best Buy was offering a lower price than Apple, even after the company’s standard discount for school districts. Superintendent Matt Miller pushed for a better deal, but Apple said it would not budge from its price list.
On Tuesday, the company introduced a variety of features tailored for teachers and students while keeping the price for its cheapest iPad tablet unchanged, even as budget-strapped school administrators have been turning to cheaper devices powered by software from Google and Microsoft.
Today’s Apple event in Chicago was about more than just showing off new hardware and software in the classroom -- the company was reasserting itself as a major player in education. The category has long been a lynchpin in Apple’s strategy -- something that Steve Jobs held near and dear.
Building on its 40-year history in transforming education, Apple today announced a new 9.7-inch iPad with support for Apple Pencil1 and programs designed to spark student creativity and inspire them to succeed. Everyone Can Create is a new, free curriculum that makes it fun and easy for teachers to integrate drawing, music, filmmaking or photography into their existing lesson plans for any subject.
In its first major product event of the year, Apple will return to its roots in the education market. The event on Tuesday at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago will mark the first time Apple has held a product launch geared toward education since 2012 when it unveiled a tool for designing e-books for the iPad. It’s also a rare occasion for an Apple confab outside its home state of California.
The best classroom collaboration strategies revolve around products that help teachers bring crystal-clear, detailed images into classrooms to engage students and enhance lessons by triggering the formation of lasting memories. Likewise, education tech should encourage a hands-on interactive learning approach by making it easy for students to collaborate with each other by seamlessly sharing images, both during class and at home.
The private, charter, and traditional public schools studied are part of a Chicago cohort that’s been working with LEAP Innovations, a national personalized learning organization, to individualize student instruction by pairing schools with education technology and coaches who help teachers reimagine their instruction and classroom design.
Does this sound familiar? An Ivy League-educated philanthropist, who built his wealth from a career in technology, decides to champion education as his next cause--under the belief that today’s schools are not adequately preparing the next generation for the future.