The slow trickle of STEM education has been pervading school systems across the country for years, but many areas are slow to keep up. One major reason is that the educators weren’t prepared for STEM learning when earning their degrees. Apple wants to fix that problem by partnering with Northwestern and Chicago Public Schools to teach teachers how to teach kids to code.
According to a press release from Apple:
Together, Apple, Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern University will establish a Center for Excellence at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, which will serve as a teaching and learning hub to introduce high school teachers to Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum. This collaboration will help expand opportunities for local teachers, giving them new expertise to share with their students. Teachers will also have the opportunity to be trained on the App Development with Swift course in an effort to help address the national shortage of high school computer science teachers.
This effort is an extension of an existing collaboration between Apple and the city of Chicago to bring coding opportunities to Chicago’s nearly 500,000 students through a citywide expansion of Apple’s Everyone Can Code program.
Northwestern and Apple will work together to develop the training courses, while professors from Northwestern will lead the sessions. The teachers will learn about the Everyone Can Code curriculum, a free program from Apple to help students learn to code.
In today’s day and age coding and programming are essential skills for students – as much so as English and Math. They’re going to use language as often as they use technology, and they should have an understanding of how each works. Not to mention the amount of jobs in the technology sector available now. That number will only continue to grow as Internet of Things takes over.
Apple is heading down the right path understanding that educating the teachers is the first step. That way teachers can build coding and programming into their curriculum and give these student building blocks for further education down the line. Apple is serious about it, too:
In addition to free professional learning sessions at the Center for Excellence, participating educators will also have access to in-school coaching and mentorship opportunities to ensure they are comfortable teaching the complete Everyone Can Code curriculum. Apple will provide iPads, Macs, carts and accessories to support the hands-on learning at the Center for Excellence.
It will be interesting to see how the program pans out. Teaching coding could help many students that would otherwise not have the skills to land jobs in a constantly-growing technology field. If the main goal is to prepare students for life after education, then Apple, Northwestern, and Chicago are doing their parts.