Why Apple's Commitment to Education Matters

Currently in America, there is a huge disparity among public schools. From state to state and even county to county, the quality of education students receive depends on the school they attend and the area in which they live. The White House hopes to address this with its ConnectED, which aims to get the best Internet-connected technologies into classrooms that would otherwise have none. Apple (along with multiple other corporations) has pledged $100 million in computers and iPads to make that a reality.

In a recent interview with Good Morning America, Tim Cook said, “Too many times today kids aren't given the right for a great public education and this isn't right. It's not fair." Cook continued, "Kids today, they're born in a digital world. But too many kids, when it comes time for the 8 o'clock bell to ring, go to an analog world. It's not engaging."

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When I first heard about ConnectED, I couldn't help but wonder if the White House was avoiding real educational reform by applying a technological band-aid. But after learning about Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall project, I decided the ConnectED project makes a lot of sense. 

The Hole in the Wall project was devised by educational researcher, Sugata Mitra. The project consisted of giving a small village in India, with no previous exposure to the Internet or technology, a single PC computer. The villagers were given no instructions or guidance; the technology was provided and the kids were told to have fun. Within a couple of days, a few children had figured out how to use the computer and taught the other. Together the children, ranging from toddlers through grade school, taught themselves how to use the Internet and discover the world.

Cook hopes programs such as ConnectED will increase the number of women and minorities pursuing careers in technology. In an open letter accompanying this year’s diversity report, Cook wrote, "My fundamental belief is that inclusion and diversity inspires innovation.... Fast forward 10–20 years in the future: the best companies in the land will be the most diverse." In partnering with ConnectED, Apple isn’t just hoping for progress, it's funding it.  

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Conner Carey's picture

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.