Empowering educators with technology and resources is fundamental to Apple — that’s why professional learning has always been a key piece of Apple’s education offerings. Apple is unveiling Apple Learning Coach, a new professional learning program for educators who coach teachers to get the most out of Apple technology. Additionally, the Apple Education Community, coming this fall, will be a new hub for Apple professional learning resources and a collaborative space where educators will be able to connect and share ideas. Apple also announced that Managed Apple IDs will integrate with Google Workspace, making it easy for users and IT to keep their organizational accounts in sync, along with updates coming to Apple’s Classroom and Schoolwork apps to help educators keep lessons engaging.
“We know that professional learning opportunities — from educators, for educators — make all the difference in unlocking the potential in every student. Apple Learning Coach is designed to do just that, and we are thrilled to offer this new program,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Education and Enterprise Marketing. “We also look forward to bringing the new Apple Education Community online, as a vibrant space for educators to learn from and connect with one another, and we think educators are going to love the new features coming to Classroom and Schoolwork to make learning even more interactive.”
Apple Learning Coach is a free professional learning program that trains instructional coaches, digital learning specialists, and other coaching educators to help teachers effectively use Apple technology in the classroom. Through a mix of self-paced lessons and virtual workshop sessions with Apple Professional Learning Specialists, participants come away from the experience with an actionable portfolio, a cohort of peers, and the opportunity to apply for continuing education credits from Lamar University through the Texas Education Agency. Each Apple Learning Coach gains a deeper understanding of how to support teachers where they are, as they integrate technology into learning.
“Apple Learning Coach is one of the best professional development opportunities I’ve ever been through, and we’re already seeing the impact in our classrooms,” said Jessica Keller, who participated in a pilot of the program. Ms. Keller is an instructional technology specialist at Berkeley County Schools, a district of nearly 20,000 students in West Virginia. She previously taught first grade in the district and now coaches 10 technology integration specialists across 21 elementary schools. “As an example, after our coaching sessions, teachers have been using Clips to create videos with students. I’ve watched as they transitioned from focusing on how to use the technology, to focus on learning outcomes and building on student success.”
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) published a report certifying that Apple Learning Coach earns a Seal of Alignment to its coaching standards. The report states that Apple Learning Coach “is well designed, highly professional in approach, easy to navigate,” and further notes that the program “contributes to the pedagogically robust use of technology for teaching and learning,” and demonstrates it does “consciously, purposefully and meaningfully support best practices for digital age teaching and learning.”
Apple also shared its intentions to launch the new Apple Education Community. The site will serve as the hub for Apple’s depth of professional learning programs — including Apple Teacher and Apple Learning Coach. It will feature the Learning Center educators know and love, and introduce the Forum, launching in beta, which will serve as a secure, collaborative space for educators to connect and learn from each other.
In addition, Apple announced a new feature coming to Apple School Manager and Apple Business Manager: integration with Google Workspace identity services. Currently, Apple School Manager and Apple Business Manager support integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory. With this new integration, IT teams who use Google Workspace can experience the same benefits: directory sync and federated authentication. With directory sync, user records and Managed Apple IDs are created automatically, saving IT admins both time and effort. And with federated authentication, end users can sign in to their Managed Apple ID with their Google Workspace account, making for a seamless login experience to apps like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Messages, FaceTime, and more.
Apple’s apps for education will also be adding important new features this spring. The Classroom app will add a new agendas feature that will enable educators to create time-based outlines for class, and trigger associated actions in the app. For example, after 20 minutes of free reading, educators can schedule a stretch break with their favorite app or YouTube video. This new capability is built right into the Classroom app, with a highly programmable interface that eliminates the need to use a separate timer app. With Apple’s Schoolwork app, educators will be able to add multimedia such as an audio recording or video into assignment instructions, exit tickets, and try-again messages to increase student engagement and facilitate comprehension, particularly for preliteracy learners.
Apple Learning Coach is accepting applications from educators in the US through April 19. Apple School Manager will feature integration with Google Workspace this spring. The Classroom and Schoolwork app features are currently in beta and will be available widely this spring. For more details, visit AppleSeed for IT. The Apple Education Community will launch by this fall, and membership will be free for educators and users who sign in with an Apple ID.