Apple opened its booth to members of the press after the exhibit floor closed this week’s National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). Journalists were offered a chance to get up close and personal with Apple’s new products (such as the eMac and Xserve), as well as hear Apple reps tout the new education oriented products.
Cheryl Vedoe, Apple’s president of PowerSchool, said version 3.0 of the educational solution is designed to help Apple take advantage of Web-based applications as the business world has been doing for some time to “increase efficiency and improve the bottom line.” PowerSchool is important because it brings the “stakeholders” of a child’s education (parents, teachers and administrators) together, she said.
PowerSchool’s features also help a school district’s IT department by making information management truly “manageable,” Vedoe said. Its single database implementation supports up to 10,000 students via a Mac or Windows server (there are also Mac and Windows clients, as well). When version 3.0 rolls out next month, it will feature a new integrated Master Schedule Builder, an enhanced user interface based on Mac OS X’s Aqua theme, drag ‘n drop photo seating charts and charting by class.
David Dwyer, Apple’s director of educational technology, addressed reporters about the new Apple Learning Interchange and Apple Digital Campus Curriculum.
“We believe there are wonderfully successful programs out there by lots of great teachers,” he said. “What if those teachers could share those programs? What if parents could see such programs online? What if we could capture the experience of retiring teachers and pass it on to novice educators? These are some of the things we’re committed to accomplishing with the new Apple Learning Interchange.”
The Interchange will showcase “authentic and exemplary” teaching practices, utilize the storytelling power of digital media and put content into its proper context, Dwyer said. One of the goals of the Interchange is to let new teachers see successful programs and have access to their components, so that they are confident they can implement it themselves, he added.
Apple won’t be providing the practices itself, that will be done by educational affiliate organizations representing regional, national and international educators, Dwyer said.
The Apple Digital Campus Curriculum is designed to engage students more in learning, and keep more of them in school, by providing learning experiences that include collaboration with other students, a community-based component and high-tech elements, he added. The first two courses in the curriculum are Web Communication & Design and Video Journalism.