Apple joined President Barack Obama’s ConnectED program in 2014, promising to issue grants to 114 schools in 29 states — including a MacBook and iPad for teachers, an Apple TV for each classroom, and an iPad for each student. Fast forward two years, and it seems as if Apple’s decision to join the initiative is paying off quite well.
According to Apple’s latest numbers, 32,145 students received iPads, while teachers received 9,042 MacBooks and iPads. The 66th ConnectED school, which will be the first of the upcoming school year, contains 701 of those students. The numbers are not just about hardware, however, as school staff and faculty went through 4,434 hours of professional learning, comprised of an assortment of Apple-offered courses that helps in integrating its products with curriculum.
Finally, Apple installed 189 miles of Internet cable in schools, which will certainly help make use of all those devices.
Overall, Apple certainly delivered positive news at a time when its history of carving out space in the education system has been more negative than positive. Back in 2013, the Los Angeles Unified School District teamed up with Apple to provide every student an iPad. Unfortunately, technological issues led to the $1.3 billion plan being scrapped and drove the frustrated LAUSD to demand a refund in April 2015.
In June, Apple received bad news of another kind as Google’s Chrome OS continues to increase in popularity when it comes to the classroom, with Chromebooks accounting for 51 percent of K-12 school sales in the U.S. as of the end of 2015. By comparison, Apple OS sales (Mac OS and iOS combined) accounted for 21 percent in 2015.
In other words, Apple might be making some headway in the implementation of its technologies in the classroom, but it still has some work to do before it is competitive with Google and Chrome OS.