Apple’s $100 million commitment to President Obama’s ConnectED program has resulted in Macs, Apple TV, and iPads being introduced to 114 schools, the bulk of which cater to students who qualify for free or discount lunch programs, meaning the investment is overwhelmingly going to school boards that wouldn’t necessarily be able to supply their own Macs or iPads for teachers or students.
Apple’s participation covers 114 schools as mentioned, which range across 29 states and 96 percent of the students of which are currently qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. 92 percent of the students at these schools are from “Hispanic, Black, Native America, Alaskan Native or Asian heritage,” according to Apple’s ConnectED microsite detailing its contributions to the programs, and each school that Apple is sponsoring also gets a dedicated team of Apple Education support professionals to help make sure the tech they offer is used to its fullest effect.
The bulk of the schools Apple is contributing to are elementary institutions, with middle schools and high schools drawing a much smaller portion of the program’s resources. 50 percent of the schools are located in urban centres, while a quarter are located in rural regions, and a full 70 percent of the schools have enrollment of between 250 and 1,000 students.
Apple’s program will put an iPad in the hand of each student at these schools, give both an iPad and a Mac to every teacher and admin staff, and put an Apple TV in each classroom. It’s truly a full-coverage approach, and it should mean that these schools, at least from a technological perspective, get to stand on more equal footing with some of their better-funded peers. The tech gap isn’t the only thing causing an education divide in the U.S., but it’s definitely a contributing factor, so this program looks like a promising step in the other direction. Here’s hoping it expands its reach even further in the future.