How Apple Has Been Active in the Education Sector Since its Inception

Apple has been active in the education sector since its inception. It all began in 1978 when Apple computers were supplied to schools by the Minnesota Education Computing Consortium (MECC). When the Computer Equipment Contribution Act was signed by Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, Apple donated computers to 9000 schools. Additionally, the eMate was introduced by Apple in 1985 as a personal digital assistant for educational purposes.



The relationship between Apple and the education sector started in 1978 when Apple II computers were supplied to state schools by the Minnesota Education Computing Consortium (MECC). By 1982, MECC was the largest seller of products by Apple resulting in increased popularity of Apple II’s popularity in the US and the education sector.
During the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards program, Steve Jobs said that the purchased of Apple II products by schools played a vital role in the growth of the company.


Apple launched the Kids Can’t Wait Program to ensure that every school had an Apple computer. In 1982, Steve Jobs approached a Representative, Pete Stark, who drafted the Computer Equipment Contribution Act and introduced it to Congress. According to the Act, companies that made donations to educational organizations would be eligible for charitable contribution income tax deductions. However, in the first attempt, the bill was not successful, and it was re-introduced after a year.
However, in 1982, a similar Act was signed by Jerry Brown, the California Governor. The Act allowed for a 25% tax credit against the income tax for computer equipment donated by companies to schools. Based on this, Apple made computer donations to 9000 schools.
Apple’s competitors at the time, Tandy Corporation also pushed for a competing bill by Jim Wright, a Representative from Texas which required all computer companies to set aside eight hours to facilitate teacher training. Additionally, it made it a requirement for all disk drives to be 184 kB each, yet Apple’s disk drives at the time only stored 140 kB. This bill failed to pass through the committee stage.


In 1984, Apple pushed for the purchase of Mac machines by the top 24 universities, including the Ivy League schools. The result of this initiative was the presence of Apple in these universities for decades. This continued even after Jobs left the company in 1985 when Apple introduced the eMate 300, which was a personal digital assistant for educational purposes. It was introduced in the market as a cheaper alternative to the PC.
Meanwhile, Jobs had established NeXT computers that was focused on building products for educational institutions. In 1997, NeXT was purchased by Apple and Jobs was back at the company. In 1999, Dell surpassed Apple as the leading seller of computers to educational institutions across the US, leading to intense competition between the two companies to get a leading share of this market.


In 2001, Apple bought PowerSchool, which is the best providers of web-based student information systems for school districts and K-12 schools. However, in 2006, the company sold it to Pearson. Although the mobile app can still be downloaded in the App store.
After the sale, PowerHouse grew significantly and currently has over 100 million users; these include 32 million K-12 students in 13,000 school districts. Currently, Apple is not active in the education space and schools rely on Google Classroom and G-Suite.

Apple Education: Recent Major Developments

A significant investment in the Malala Education Fund, the acquisition of education startup LearnSprout, the company’s commitment to the connetED program, and the acquisition of PowerSchool by Pearson, are the major developments by Apple in the education space.

1. Apple’s Investment in the Malala Education Fund

On January 21, 2018, Apple announced it would make a significant investment in the Malala education fund formed by Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai. The education fund by Malala Yousafzai champions girl’s education rights up to at least 12 years. With this investment, Apple became the fund’s first Laureate official partner, enabling the Malala education fund to double the grants it awards, as well as extend its funding programs to Latin America and India with an initial goal to provide 100,000 girls with secondary education opportunities. However, Apple did not reveal the size of the investment it offered the fund.

2. Apple’s Acquisition of Education Startup LeanSprout

In 2016, Apple acquired the San Francisco education-technology company, LearnSprout, a startup that existed three years before Apple bought them. The two companies did not reveal the details of the deal publicly. However, before the acquisition, LearnSprout had raised $4.7 million across two investment rounds with its investors including Formation 8, Andreesen, and Samsung Ventures. The acquisition was to enable Apple to work on educational tools for its iPad device to allow it to compete with Google’s Chromebook, which was rapidly taking the lead in the education market, while classroom purchases of Apple products declined between 2012 and 2015.

3. Apple and ConnectED

In 2014, Apple announced its commitment to President Barack Obama’s ConnetED program, pledging $100 million, which resulted in Apple TV, iPads, and Macs being made available to 114 under served schools across 29 states. Also, this initiative catered to students that qualified for free or discounted lunch, of which 96% of students at these institutions were eligible. Furthermore, Apple targeted the unique challenges of each participating school by meeting with each ConnectED school’s leaders, who were responsible for measuring and defining goals to single out the vision technology played in their classrooms, respectively. Out of all the schools that participated in Apple’s ConnectED program in 2014, 50% of them were located in urban centers, 25% were in rural areas, while 70% of the schools had from 250 to 1,000 students. This education-driven initiative by Apple made iPads available to each student, while teachers and admin staff got a Mac and an iPad.

Relevant education development involving apple

1. Pearson & Apple Expand Education Relationship

A significant development by Apple in the education space took place on May 25, 2006, when Pearson and Apple announced the expansion of their relationship, which is geared towards enhancing learning and teaching through technology. As part of this expansion, Pearson acquired PowerSchool, a student information system (SIS), as well as took charge of developing educational content for students and teachers that was compatible with iPods. During the announcement, Apple’s then Vice President for Education, John Couch, remarked that the announcement made the company’s commitment to education stronger, noting that Apple was excited about its relationship with Pearson. The acquisition by Pearson was to enable the company to leverage its alliance with Apple and further its progressive goal in improving the performance of students by delivering contents and web-based solutions to teachers, K-12 administrators, students, and parents; and to create content compatible with iPods. Also, the acquisition meant that Pearson could bring assessments, reporting, and business solutions to more than 16,000 schools.

Apple Education: Hardware Stats, Schoolwork App

Apple’s iPad provides an education specific hardware for schools, students and teachers by providing features made specifically for learning in the educational field. The Schoolwork App is targeted towards students and teachers. Our findings can be found on the attached Google Docs.

Apple SchoolWork App

The Apple Schoolwork app is a free cloud-based iPad app that provides simple, integrated workflows for teachers and students to share and collaborate. The app can be used to create and distribute handouts, collaborate with students, track student’s progress and also allow teachers to assign specific activities using the app. The Schoolwork app is designed for educational use by teachers and students as a tool to support personalized learning and enhance the learning experience using iPads in education. Apple hasn’t released any usage statistics of the app yet.
Features of the Schoolwork App

  • Sharing anything with Handouts: Schoolwork makes it easy to send Handouts that are flexible enough to contain almost anything, including web links, PDFs, documents etc and providing the student with the access to view Handouts across all their classes and keep track of everything.
  • Add file activities: For activities assigned in Schoolwork, teachers are able to view student progress, including quiz scores, points earned, and time spent.
  • Collaboration with real-time feedbacks: Using Schoolwork, teachers can easily collaborate with individual students or with the entire class on Handout activities in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
  • Student progress review: By enabling the student progress feature in Apple School Manager, teachers will be able to see a snapshot of each student’s overall class performance.
  • Personalized instruction: Teachers can tailor Handouts to a single student or a group of students based on individual needs after viewing the student progress review.
  • Privacy: All student progress data is encrypted in transit.

Promotion strategyBefore the launch of the Schoolwork app, Apple already started promoting the app by announcing the app and its features during Apple’s education-based “Field Trip” event in March 2018. The Schoolwork app was then officially launched and made available for teachers in June of the same year. Apple continually adds new features to the app to improve usability, performance and stability.

Hardware Stats

iPADiPad is used to plan, interact, communicate and enhance learning and teaching in schools. By adopting the flexibility and power iPads offers, students can have the freedom to explore and express new ideas whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. iPad has seen an increase in usage in the US education market.
Students can use the iPad to create interactive learning materials and study with educational apps and books available on the iBooks app which is designed just for iPads. Using the iPad also provides teachers with access to educational books and applications, which they can use to create contents of their own. The iPad can also be used by teachers to teach augmented reality (AR) by using its advanced technologies like accelerometers, powerful cameras and an operating system designed with AR specifically in mind.
Through the Swift Playgrounds, iPad provides an interactive and fun environment for students to learn how to code, the Playground app takes full advantage of all the Multi-Touch features of iPad, so students can drag code around with their fingers and watch the effects immediately unfold and they also get to experience how code works in the physical world by using iPad to control robots and drones. Over 1.2 million students use iPads and Swift Playgrounds to learn to code.
iPad can be used with the Classroom, Schoolwork, Curriculum and iTunes U apps. Through a feature on the Classroom app called Shared iPad, students can use one iPad while still maintaining their own personal content and teachers can control the connected iPads, opening apps, create workgroups and keep track of students progress with screen sharing and in other to prevent students from getting distracted in class, teachers also have the feature of locking the iPads at the end of each class.
Teachers can use the Schoolwork app to send assignments to students which tend automatically appear on their iPads. By using the curriculum app, teachers are provided with professional learning resources to help build their skills by using iPads in teaching.

Apple Education: Classroom App, ClassKit API

Apple’s classroom app is an application developed for teachers and students that guides learning and controls student iPad devices in the classroom through new methods.
The ClassKit API is a framework designed by Apple for teachers so that they would be able to organize educational materials in such a way that the teacher can assign activities to students and see their progress. The document with the full write-up can be found here.

Apple Classroom App

Apple’s classroom app is a learning application that guides learning and controls students’ iPad devices through revolutionary methods. Teachers and students primarily use it for free, but the application must be configured with the use of any mobile management (MDM) software. Additionally, the company ensures the privacy of its users, giving schools the choice to share a student’s progress information only when needed. The application was released in March 2016.
The application was made to help guide student learning, share student work, and manage student devices. Technically, the application allows the instructor of the class to launch any app, website, or textbook on an iPad in class. This makes the presentation more accessible and more customized for both the instructor and the students. Additionally, the app shows the instructor as to what apps the students are using, mute student devices, assign various activities to students, and also reset a student’s password. The app also provides a general overview of the class for the instructor. It also creates a summary of the activities that each student has done in class. The app also supports one-to-one learning environments. It was developed for both the iPad and the Mac.
Apple’s classroom app additional features include giving instructors the ability to control his or her students’ devices while in the classroom (this can keep students on the same app or webpage during class), lock certain apps and open websites in students’ devices, and create groups for students who are working on a project. The app also gives students the ability to share their work to the class with the use of Apple TV or Mac.

Apple Classkit API

Apple designed this framework for instructors so they could organize various educational materials efficiently and effectively. It was also intended to give instructors the ability to assign activities to students and to show student performance in certain activities. The framework uses both the instructor’s IOS device and the students’ IOS device which are all communicating through the iCloud. The framework also gives instructors the chance to educate themselves through various online hubs, and also learn multiple skills that could be useful in a classroom setting.
The framework was primarily designed for the use of instructors and students. It is centered on the field of education. The framework enhances instructor workflow, provides instructors various insights, and also gives instructors the ability to create their own personalized instructions. It also records student progress. Moreover, the framework also respects student privacy.

Apple Education: Apple School Manager, Apple’s Everyone Can Create

Apple School Manager is a web-based portal is used to deploy iOS, MacOS devices by IT administrators, whereas Everyone Can Connect is a collection of project guides that aims to teach students how to develop and share ideas through different types of tools such as drawing, photography, video, and music. Our findings can be found on the attached Google Docs.


Apple School Manager is a web-based portal is used to deploy iOS, MacOS devices by IT administrators. When used with mobile device management (MDM), device settings can be configured and it also integrates with Student Information Systems (SISs) and SFTP so accounts can easily be created with school rosters and classes.


  • The platform has federated authentication, thereby, making integration of iPad and Mac into a school’s existing system easier using Microsoft Azure Active Directory.
  • Connecting Apple School Manager with Microsoft Azure Active Directory, enables students and staff to use their Microsoft credentials to sign in iPad, iCloud, Mac and Schoolwork.

Users/Type of Users

  • Enrollment to Apple School Manager is done by organizations that are K–12 or in higher education.
  • It is designed for technology managers, IT administrators, staff, and instructors.
  • It is also used by school IT administrators in adding Apple devices into an existing system.

Promotion/Use strategy

  • Individualized experience — “Apple School Manager makes it easy to provide the right learning materials, from productivity apps schools, free Apple-designed apps for doing and creating, to other thousands of apps in the App Store specifically for learning”.
  • Ease of use — Students and teachers can easily collaborate in Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. A customized experience for the students is possible even if they’re sharing a device and teachers can use Schoolwork to hand out assignments and follow student progress.
  • Educational materials access— A few examples of things that customers can do with the educational material include searching for content, purchasing licenses using education volume discounts, and on-site going through important information including assigned and available licenses.
  • Private and secure data — student information and other data are under an integrated approach and thus are never monetized, it will not be shared with third parties to use for marketing or advertising, and we profile based on email or web browsing won’t be created.


The Everyone Can Create platform provides students with a group of project guides that teach students to develop and communicate ideas through music, video, drawings and photography. The guides also help bring out the creativity in the students by providing teachers with the tools to bring these skills into a lesson, assignment or topics.


  • The Everyone Can Create platform provides students with a group of four project guides that teach students to develop and communicate ideas through music, video, drawings and photography
  • A Teacher Guide helps teachers integrate these skills into subjects with fun and engaging activities.
  • Everyone Can Create is accessible in German, Swedish, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian on Apple Books.

Users/Type of Users:

  • Everyone Can Create joined Apple’s Everyone Can Code initiative that aims to educate teachers on how keep students excited and engaged.
  • Everyone Can Create was used by 5,000 schools, community colleges and technical colleges all over the world in 2017.

Promotion/Use Strategy:

  • Putting emphasis on creativity — The Everyone Can Create curriculum can help students become better problem solvers, collaborators, and communicators. Through the platform, the students are allowed the freedom to explore and experiment more, be more imaginative and in turn, the skills they develop becomes a part of them as they carry them through everything they’ll do in school and beyond.
  • For finding the creative genius in every student — Everyone Can Create was designed bearing in mind that each student has a unique way of learning and finds inspiration differently. The project guides are then designed for each student’s unique needs.
  • For teachers to bring creativity into topics of any subjects — educators can infuse creativity at every grade level with the Teacher Guide which includes lesson ideas for projects in math, science, literacy and literature, history and social studies, and coding.

Apple Education: iTunesU and Key Partnerships

Apple came up with iTunes U as a free and dedicated learning platform that is a part of the iTunes Store. The platform features free educational content such as lectures, language lessons, and audiobooks, among others. Users can download the features on iPod, iPhone, Mac, or PC. The initiatives taken by Apple in partnership with IBM include coming up with the Apple Pages app, Apple Schoolwork, Apple Classroom, Apple School Manager, and Apple Teacher. We have provided the 300-word summary on the iTunes U and Key Partnerships below and on this attached document.


iTunes U is a vast learning platform/resource tool offering free educational content that users can download from Apple’s iTunes Store straight to their computer or mobile devices. Some features of iTunes U helps in creating amazing lessons/courses, integrating grade booklets, assignment building, homework hand-in, private discussions, and creating an engaging and personalized learning environment for students using iPad. Some new features for courses require iTunes U 3.0. To give students the best experience, administrators need to update to the latest version of iTunes U before including new course features. The main users of the iTunes U platform include students, instructors, colleges, and K – 12 district schools. Also, universities can join the platform by signing up on the Public Site Manager. This enables them to give out learning programs and collect education content from the students.
With iTunes U, teachers organize all the materials needed for the course in one place, while the integrated grade booklets track grades and assignments of their students and store them at one place. The homework hand-in lets students submit their work directly to the instructor and allows the instructor to attach multiple supporting materials to an assignment and let students choose how they express their creativity. Annotation tools enable the students to use either their fingers or a stylus to mark up a PDF without leaving the iTunes U platform. Also, the students can play video or audio lectures, read books, participate in individual or whole-class discussions, and hand-in homework by using the iTunes U platform.
The iTunes U is a free app, but to gain more users, Apple advertises it on iTunes U platform itself, this is, each institution or instructor on iTunes U is required to insert the word “iTunes U” on all marketing and promotion materials to promote the platform.


On November 17th, 2016, Apple introduced Apple Teacher, which is an online professional development program to help educators learn how to use Apple products for teaching, learning, comparing notes with peers, and earning badges to mark their progress.
On March 19th, 2018, Apple and IBM entered into a partnership to integrate education with artificial intelligence, data, and mobile services to make better education applications for use. On March 27th, 2018, Apple announced another initiative regarding the education space. It announced that ‘ebook publishing’ would author and publish features into its Apple Pages app for the Mac and iPad. Also, on the same date, Apple revamped the Apple School Manager to make iPad deployments less of a headache and allow communal use in the classroom by allowing any student to log in to the application using any Apple device and work without losing the saved work. Additionally, Apple has added additional book-design capabilities on its Apple Pages App such as collaboration which allows teams to work together on the same document from anywhere. Apple updated the Apple Pages to boost teachers’ enthusiasm for ebook creation with fresh templates along with Apple Pencil support for those wanting to add custom illustrations.
On June 26th, 2018, Apple introduced the Apple Schoolwork, an educator app, to help educators create curricula, distribute student assignments, communicate with students and their guardians, and much more. On March 28th, 2018, Apple announced that it had revamped the Apple Classroom and introduced the Mac-based version of Classroom besides the iPad to teachers who want to keep tabs on how their students are working. Also, on the same date, Apple introduced Every One Can Create curriculum feature to enable teachers to integrate activities like film making, music, photography, among others into their existing lesson plans for any subject to make the lesson more fun.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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