Thursday, January 31, 2013

Apple's Role in My Landscape of Learning


Apple’s symbolism and its products have significantly helped me transform into the educator that I am today.

Steve jobs believed that Apple is about people who think outside the box, who want to use computers to help them change the world.  That’s what I think every time I see the Apple logo.  Creativity and innovation. Art and technology. Design and empathy.  That simple Apple logo brings so much meaning and power to education and it truly inspires me to become a better educator.

Apple technologies have helped me to “think differently” about education.  Thanks to Apple, I always think about how I design and market everything that I do as an educator.  The skills of design and marketing have never been more important than they are today. In his new book, To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink suggests that we are all in sales now, "Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now".

In a world where resources are equally accessible, one must be able to create an innovative design and be able to “market” that design in order to be successful.  Apple reminds me of this.  Whenever I am faced with a challenge as an educator, I often ask myself, “What would Apple do?”  Then I remind myself to think creatively, keep it simple, and make it appealing.

I apply these same product design features and marketing strategies that Apple uses when leading professional development and creating lesson plans.  For example, as an Instructional Technology Coach, I often lead professional development for my staff to show them how to use Apple products and how to integrate them into their teaching practice.  I feel that it is my responsibility to get them excited, inspired, and motivated to want to use these devices with their students.  Therefore, during my presentations and training sessions, I try to design creative presentations and training sessions to get them excited about using the devices.

Similarly, I also use this strategy when creating lesson plans for my students.  Apple has indirectly taught me to always start off with a “hook” that sparks curiosity and inquiry in my students.  This is how real learning takes place.  I consistently try to find creative ways to spark interest in my students to get them excited about learning.



Apple products have also helped me with my transformation in education. Apple has developed innovative tools that have allowed me to learn more efficiently and teach more effectively.  Firstly, Apple has created mobile devices such as the iPod, iPad and Macbook that have empowered me to take my inquiry and creativity with me anywhere, anytime.  With these mobile devices, I have been able to research a topic, share multimedia, or create a presentation on multiple devices, with multiple people.

Secondly, Apple software such as iMovie, GarageBand, and Keynote have allowed me to be creative, to express myself, and to make meaningful projects. These tools have allowed me to make presentations, create demonstrations, and synthesize my own learning and understanding.  Now with the ability to download apps on all of these mobile devices, the possibilities of learning and sharing are limitless.

Although, it wasn't until I put these devices in the hands of my teachers and students that my learning environment truly transformed.  Using these products for my own personal gain was transformational, but not nearly as transformational as empowering my students and teachers to use these products to help them transform their own learning.  My learning environment now consists of learning and sharing with teachers and students on multiple devices, on multiple levels, thanks to Apple.


*Note:  The video featured in this blog post is my "pseudo-interview" with an Apple representative about how Apple technologies can be used in education.  This was part of a project that I was working on for my Apple Distinguished Educator application.

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