Apple Teacher is a new professional learning programme designed to support and celebrate teachers. With Apple Teacher, school leadership can offer a free, self-paced learning environment that empowers teachers to use Apple products with confidence as they create innovative learning experiences on iPad and Mac.
We’ve gathered some ideas that you can use in your school to introduce teachers to the programme and support them in earning recognition. You’ll find out how to build a teacher community of lifelong learners who work together, either individually or in groups, to unlock the magic of iPad and Mac. And you’ll read about some creative ways other schools have incorporated the Apple Teacher Programme into their professional learning environments. Visit Apple's website to learn more and to get your teachers signed up.
Host a “Become an Apple Teacher” event during the next professional learning day at your school. These events include dedicated time for teachers to learn about the programme and engage in friendly competition as they complete the projects in the Apple Teacher Starter Guide series. They can do this as individuals, in groups, or with the help of a facilitator. You can decide whether they create their projects for personal use or share them with you — giving you the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with others.
Roll out an Apple Teacher Badge Challenge so teachers can focus on earning one badge per week. Whether you choose an 8-week challenge that focuses on earning badges for iPad or Mac, or a 16-week challenge that focuses on both, it’s a great way to get your teachers engaged and build momentum. At your next professional learning day, you could have a few teachers share what they’ve learned — from something simple, like a new feature they’ve discovered, to how they’re using a feature to teach a lesson in the classroom.
Hour of Learning
Plan an Apple Teacher Hour to give teachers a special day and time to log in and earn badges of their choice. We know that many teachers struggle to find the time for professional learning. This is a great way for you to give them the freedom to explore the programme’s content and strengthen their skills — without the pressure of having to figure out how to fit it in.
Apple Retail Store Field Trip
Take your teachers on a Field Trip to your local Apple Store for an amazing learning experience. You can customise the content of your Field Trip to focus on a specific Apple app, such as Keynote or Pages. Teachers can then extend their learning through the Apple Teacher Programme and earn the associated badge. Schedule your Field Trip by calling your local Retail Store or signing up here.
Once a core set of teachers have earned their recognition, launch a mentoring programme. This group would provide encouragement and support to others along their journeys towards becoming Apple Teachers. Conducting frequent check-ins, sending schoolwide communications or sharing visible displays of accomplishment are great ways to encourage others. Read how Nikole Blanchard, Apple Distinguished Educator and technology director at The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, mobilised and energised her teachers to earn badges.
Study Buddy Programme
Create an Apple Teacher Study Buddy programme in which groups of two or three teachers team up to study for their badges. You can bring together teachers within the same year group or department, providing an opportunity to discover better ways of teaching a particular subject. Or invite teachers from different departments to encourage diversity of thought and identification of best practices across subject areas.
Social Media Connections
Encourage your teachers to leverage Twitter as a channel for additional support and collaboration as they earn badges. Teachers with personal accounts can tweet using the hashtag #ADEchat to solicit help and feedback from Apple Distinguished Educators who can answer questions or share ideas.
Authority-Approved Professional Learning Hours
If you’re in a school where the education authority determines how professional learning hours can be earned, consider submitting a request for the Apple Teacher Programme to become an approved professional learning opportunity. Be inspired by educators at Berwyn South School District in Berwyn, Illinois, who successfully implemented this idea, and start a movement in your own area. Share this example when making your request.
School-Based Professional Learning Hours
If you’re in a school where professional learning hours are determined locally, or if you’re in an independent school, you can integrate Apple Teacher into your official professional learning offering. You can determine how many hours each badge is worth based on your expectations and how you choose to execute the programme. In addition to the project that teachers create when earning each badge, you can have them demonstrate further learning in a format that works best. See how Barrington 220 School District in Barrington, Illinois, created a customised, blended model that enables teachers to earn up to 10 professional development hours (PDHs).
We know that teachers are motivated by their accomplishments. Once you’ve determined how you’ll deliver the programme in your school, consider these great ideas for sharing the distinction of becoming an Apple Teacher school with your education authority, school community, teachers, staff and parents. Then make your own list — be creative!
Acknowledge your Apple Teachers on your website or intranet, at governors’ meetings or through the education authority newsletter.
Write a post about your Apple Teachers at the building level using the school newsletter ,intranet or learning management system—or mention it during morning school announcements, back-to-school events or PTA meetings.
Use your school social media channels like Twitter to celebrate teachers as they earn their recognition. Be inspired by the Saint Viator High School Education Technology Department in Arlington Heights, Illinois, who used their school’s Twitter account as a key motivational tool, while Piedmont High School in Piedmont, Alabama, used Facebook to honour their teachers.
Create a new tradition to acknowledge your Apple Teachers during school assemblies.
Create a life-size temperature chart that shows the percentage of teachers who’ve earned their recognition. Update it weekly or monthly, and place it in the front office for everyone to see.
Have plenty of prizes and rewards tomotivate and inspire your teachers.You can provide a free lunch of their choice, offer the head’s parking space or award gift cards. Or consider creating stickers, like Jon Smith, Apple Distinguished Educator and technology integration specialist for Alliance City Schools in Alliance, Ohio, did at his school.
Going Further with Apple Professional Learning Specialists
Once your teachers have acquired the core skills offered in the Apple Teacher programme, they’re ready to focus on instructional practice innovation with the help of Apple Professional Learning Specialists. They will coach and mentor educators to build the confidence required to make innovations in their instructional pedagogy. This approach reflects Apple’s belief that instructional transformation depends on a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship built over time..
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