11 Apr

Today we spent the whole day in Cupertino, California.

Brent Frey, the Director of Education at Apple, gave us an amazing insight into how Apple supports schools in the USA.

It was interesting to note that a significant number of schools (especially in the South) still don’t have good internet connectivity.

We had a discussion about school leadership and what makes a great school leader. The USA faces similar challenges and problems to those we face within the UK, notably the significant pressure for children to perform in Literacy and Maths, both at state and national level. Brent also mentioned the skills gap in the USA and the need to develop more skills relating to creativity, team working and co-operation. Stand up all our teams involved in the development of the dashboard!

He mentioned that the three key issues for the USA as he saw them were:

  • Academic achievement
  • Equity
  • Social and emotional well-being

They don’t appear that different to our challenges!

There was a significant discussion about what a basic skill set is today. Many colleagues felt that the areas of personalisation, team working, problem solving, collaboration, resilience and decision making were paramount. Calling them ‘soft skills’ no longer appears sensible.

We were then introduced to Dr Jon Landis who gave a fascinating insight into the development of the use of technology within the classroom. From 2013 and onwards, the use of mobile phone devices to obtain information has now overtaken the use of laptops, PCs etc. Jon argued that we are living through a significant historic event in relation to the information exchange..

He gave us a quick run through of the power of the accessibility features on all Apple devices. Our schools really need to make better use of these.

Sue Meyer, an educational lead, gave us a presentation on values and culture. We were able to define culture as the way we do things – defined by our core values. She gave a wonderful example of a school leader stating that ‘culture is what happens in your school when I’m out of the building.’

We were introduced to Simon Sinek through a TED talk, ‘How great leaders inspire action’.

Steve Jobs was quoted as stating,

Apple is about people who think outside the box, people who want to use computers to help them change the world, to help them create things that make a difference and not just get a job done.

Another great day!

Graham

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