Tuesday 30 April 2019

Apple Teacher Program in South Africa

Apple Teacher Program

As an Apple Professional Learning Specialist, I was very excited to hear that Apple had finally launched their online Teacher Training program in South Africa. I think that recognising teachers who are confident in using technology in the classroom is vital. When teachers know they are rewarded for their expertise, they are more likely to invest the time and energy into developing themselves. 

The Google Certified Teacher program has been available for quite some time, and Microsoft also has its Online Education Portal where teachers can register and take free courses to improve their skills. Both of these have their benefits, but if you're an iPad house then Apple's offering just makes sense. It also has the added benefit of breaking down the Certification into 8 "badges" which you can take one at a time, as opposed to Google's 3-hour long exam!

I run daily sessions with my teachers and we have started working through the Apple Teacher Program in small groups of 3 or 4. I find this works very well; better than simply giving them the link to the online resources and hoping that they would just go about their business and follow the program at their own pace. There are obviously some people who would be comfortable with this self-paced approach and might even prefer it, but for the most part teachers are busy people and having a dedicated time set aside for development makes it so much easier. They also enjoy working next to others and learning together - the social aspect of learning can not be underestimated!

I must also applaud Apple for the effort they put into developing the material. I often have to write my own course material to fit the needs of the people I train, but so far the Apple resources have proven amazing and I only use my own iPad to demonstrate what I want them to do - the rest is taken directly from appleteacher.apple.com.

To get started, you have to sign in to the website using your AppleID. You must use your personal ID for this - a Managed ID issued by your school will not work. From the outset, you get to choose if you want to focus on iPad or Mac, and then you progress through earning badges in different categories. To earn a badge, you have to achieve 80% in a short 5 question quiz about the section. Once you have completed all 8 badges, you earn your Apple Teacher Certificate. Even adults like to achieve success, and seeing teachers earn their first badge and the sense of pride that goes along with it is refreshing!

Some of the terminology in the quiz may prove to be little tricky but do not let this put you off. I have had teachers get an answer wrong because they did not understand the proper names of things, even though they knew how to accomplish the given task. If you fail a section, you can always try again!

If you haven’t yet considered introducing this in your school, I encourage you to have a look for yourself. You won't be disappointed!