Looks like Apple may have finally found some success in the classroom. The company has had a rough history in schools — in 2014 the Los Angeles Unified School District shuttered a program designed to give every child in the district an iPad, partly because students quickly found ways to get around restrictions, making the iPads more of a distraction than a tool.
This, however, hasn’t stopped Apple from continuing its efforts in education. Also in 2014, the company joined President Barack Obama’s ConnectED project. As part of this program, 114 schools in 29 states get grants from Apple — including a MacBook and iPad for teachers, an Apple TV for each classroom, and an iPad for each student. The real surprise? It seems to be going quite well.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple is treating this program a little differently. The company assigns an executive to oversee each school program. For example, Apple exec Eddy Cue oversees Yuma, Arizona. Not only that, but mentors spend 17 days per year at their school, helping with training and preparation, and offering a level of support not normally seen in such programs.
Because of this, both teachers and students seem to be seriously benefiting from the program — teachers are able to monitor students’ progress and and use the technology as a way to motivate students to learn.
Of course, Apple benefits from the program too — Google’s Chromebooks have been growing in popularity in schools as an affordable yet connected way for students to take notes and manage their work, and Apple’s involvement may be a way to regain some the market share it has lost to the Chromebook in the classroom. Not only that, but as students grow older, they’re more likely to buy Apple products later in life.
ConnectED isn’t the only tech focused started by President Obama — he has also pledged to connect 20 million more people to the internet by 2020 through a program called ConnectALL.