This post first appeared on Daily Genius.

The all new Apple Teacher program launched recently alongside the iPhone7 and Air Buds, though to significantly less fanfare outside of the education community.  This free program offers teachers with four distinct sets of resources as well as the potential to earn badges towards an .

Learning Resources for Teachers

In the Learning Resources Section, you will find fantastic starter guides for both iPad and Mac all curated into the Apple Bookstore. Topics include Getting Started with the iPad/Mac, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, Garageband, as well as Productivity and Creativity.  I particularly appreciated the fact that the resources are geared towards both beginner and proficient users. Each guide not only has a wealth of information presented as text, videos, and even interactive images, but the structure of the guide gives you an opportunity to apply everything that you learn.

Apple Teacher Guide

Self-Paced Learning Modules & Badges for iPad and Mac

This is an outstanding resource for both beginners and advanced users of the iPad and Mac.  Despite having taught in a 1:1 iPad environment, and being Apple Distinguished Educator, I learned so many new tips, tricks and ideas to take back to my classroom and to the teachers with whom I work. There are eight modules for both the iPad and Mac that you need to complete in order to get your certification.

Apple Teacher Badges

What I enjoyed most about the experience was the scenario-based quiz questions.  These quizzes test your knowledge from the iOS Starter Guides found in the Learning Resources section. As you begin going through the resources and answering the quiz questions your mind will be buzzing with ideas.  These are excellent to use to advance your own learning about how to use the iPad and Mac and are a great resource to craft learning experiences for your faculty during professional development.  For example, once teachers have received their badge ask them to create scenarios for how they could use the different apps in their classroom. This is definitely not something to rush through! You could spend the entire year mastering the different apps, focusing on one module each month.

Inspiration for Teachers

You’ve mastered the apps, and you’ve earned your Apple Teacher certification, so what’s next?  This area will provide you with lots of lesson ideas and inspiration that you can use to apply everything you’ve learned to transform the teaching and learning experience in your school.  Whether you read stories about how other teachers are using the different apps with their students or watch video tips, this is a great resource to stay up to date with new tips about how bring iPad and Mac into your classroom.  For example, you can learn about how to use the new Classroom app to view your student’s screens as well as how to use the multitasking features of an iPad. You’ll also find a variety of resources to spark new inspiration for how you can reimagine teaching and learning.

Everyone Can Code

“Everyone Should have an opportunity to change the world.” -Apple

This is the driving vision behind the new coding and app development curriculum recently launched by Apple, a story beautifully told in this video.  There are two parts to this new initiative – Swift Playgrounds and App Development. From elementary to higher ed, there is something for everyone. This is a great resource for anyone looking to integrate coding and app development into their courses, and what I really appreciated were the teacher guides that accompany the curriculum.

Swift Playgrounds

The Apple website describes it as:

“Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary new app for iPad that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. Solve puzzles to master the basics using Swift — a powerful programming language created by Apple and used by the pros to build many of today’s most popular apps. Then take on a series of challenges and step up to more advanced creations. Swift Playgrounds requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out. It also provides a unique way for seasoned developers to quickly bring ideas to life. And because it’s built to take full advantage of iPad, it’s a first-of-its-kind learning experience.”

Some highlights include 45 hours of lessons, enhanced and interactive activities, review and reflection activities and grading rubrics. You can click here to download a preview of the Swift Playgrounds Course iBook

App Development with Swift

In an interview, Guy Kawasaki – former evangelist from Apple – once said that one of his regrets was not learning how to code; not because he wanted to become a programmer but because understanding the language would have given him a unique perspective in the work he does. For students in middle school and up, the app development course with Swift helps them to create their own apps. If you have an idea for an app, the App Development with Swift guide will help you create it from start to finish.

Like most things that come along, these tools are only as great as we make them. Socrates reminds us, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” As the stories from the Inspiration for Teachers section show us, iPads and Macs present an opportunity to truly reimagine what is possible. Share your story and how you use what you’ve learned from the eight modules to reimagine learning in your classroom in the comments below.

Looking for more inspiration? Come join the EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit in November!

  • Learn from Apple Distinguished Educators, Google Certified Trainers, and national thought leaders.
  • Get hands-on with iPads, Macs, and Chromebooks, as well as concepts like coding, making, and design thinking.

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