Apple’s ‘New’ Education Strategy

Bradley Chambers:

As I rewatched the 2012 keynote and pondered the 2018 keynote, I realized that Apple is yet again trying to craft a future for education that I am not sure fits with reality.

Individual schools certainly have and will continue to take advantage of both Swift Playgrounds and Everyone Can Code. Some schools will undoubtedly take advantage of Everyone Can Create content that Apple announced yesterday.

Some teachers will look at some of the new apps that Apple has created for educators, but will 50% of teachers in the US explore new solutions? I highly doubt it. Teaching is a hard job. Apple even had a video where students talked about how hard their teacher’s job was. Being a teacher can be a thankless job. Teachers put in a lot of hours outside the classroom for a salary that is less than they deserve. I’m not sure the average teacher is getting excited about another new app to learn (and then explain to students).

This much I completely understand as a concern. I worry that Apple’s strategy simply requires too many (expensive) pieces and too many things to learn for schools to even consider adopting it.

Here’s what puzzles me about Chambers’ take:

This doctrine should apply to education as well. If Apple believes they can make a significant contribution to schools, then they should go all in to change everything about school technology. They should buy major a textbook publisher and change the purchasing model for books when you deploy iPads. They should buy (or buy back) a student information system platform and integrate it with all of their new apps.

They should build a viable alternative to G-Suite that makes it easy for schools to manage communications. They should do all of this at a price where the least affluent districts can deploy it as easily as the most affluent ones.

That seems great, but it also sounds like another world of complexity that schools simply don’t have the time or finances to implement, regardless of how inexpensive Apple makes their solution.

Also, not that textbook publishers are saints — far from it — but I’m not sure I’d like to see tech companies owning such a fundamental piece of school hardware.

Regardless, I’d love to see Apple making a bigger impact in the space. Schools, in particular, shouldn’t be relying upon technologies built by companies with a business model dependent on mass data collection.