Greater access to education gives everyone more ways to realise their potential. That’s why Apple is committed to providing people around the world with more opportunities to learn through partnerships in over 100 countries and regions.
Education moves learners, leaders, innovators, communities and everyone forward.
Higher learning within reach.
For most of Amanda Quintero’s childhood, going to university wasn’t an option. As the daughter of immigrant parents who weren’t familiar with higher education, the expectation was that she’d find a job once she finished school. It wasn’t until the last term of her final year that a substitute teacher first encouraged her to apply to a university. That chance encounter changed her entire trajectory. It was the moment she began to believe she had what it took — that she belonged.
Today, Dr Quintero dedicates her career to ensuring that other first-generation university students have the same opportunities she had. A leading content expert on Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and recognised student success innovator, Dr Quintero currently serves as the Senior Advisor to the President for Inclusive Excellence and as the Equity Innovation Officer of the Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub at California State University, Northridge. The Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub, launched in partnership with Apple, will make a significant impact on first-generation university students throughout the US, connecting diverse talent to opportunity. With Dr Quintero’s visionary leadership, this initiative will work to transform HSIs nationally to increase student success and equip Latinx and other minoritised and historically excluded students with skills for careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics).
“This partnership with Apple is going to help us be bold and innovative about blurring the lines between the physical space, which is the hub, and the virtual space,” says Dr Quintero. In addition to the technology and grants, Apple is providing experts to help design the space and the programming, which will be essential to position learners for success in university and in the workforce.
The goal is to move the needle on equipping a largely first-generation student population with the educational experiences and skills they will need to become first-generation professionals in STEAM fields. The Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub will do this by connecting HSIs to resources, thought leaders and one another, sharing what works to accelerate educational equity, and leading to a more inclusive and diverse future workforce. “Diverse talent is an asset that benefits us all,” says Dr Quintero. “It’s a full circle of giving back, investing their talent with the very communities that many of the students come from to disrupt intergenerational inequity.”
“The first time my family ever stepped foot on a college campus was the day of my graduation,” Dr Quintero says, “and I don’t want that to be the experience of other students.”
The Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub signifies a shift in the paradigm from what students must do to be successful to what HSIs must do to serve students intentionally. It puts the onus on leadership to shine an equity lens on their structures, policies and practices. It empowers students, teachers and staff to transform institutions, which Dr Quintero says is key to an effective equity-centred approach to education. The other imperative of the programming is to engage the families of first-generation university students, who are often disconnected from campus life. “The first time my family ever stepped foot on a college campus was the day of my graduation,” she says, “and I don’t want that to be the experience of other students.” Whole-family programming and outreach to students and their families will ensure that access to higher education and the completion of a degree doesn’t happen by chance.
A culture of creativity and innovation.
Hollyhill, a suburb of Cork in Ireland, is home to Apple’s European headquarters. It’s also the home of Terence MacSwiney Community College, a Cork Education and Training Board School serving students aged 12 to 18. In 2015, the school’s leadership entered into a partnership with Apple.
As part of this collaboration, Apple volunteers began working alongside teachers at the school to help implement the Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curriculums, aimed at increasing student engagement through coding and creativity. Additionally, Apple provided the necessary funding and technology so the students could have hands-on learning experiences.
The partnership was a positive spark for the community. The students at Terence MacSwiney were now being exposed to the latest in technology and creativity. And from working with Apple volunteers, they started learning about careers that many of them didn’t know existed. “These very interesting people came into our school and opened the students’ minds to possibilities and dreams for themselves,” says Eva Corbett, a post-primary teacher at Terence MacSwiney Community College.
“A lot of the kids don’t think they’re creative until they come to the Everyone Can Create class,” Corbett says. “But they start drawing on their iPad and end up discovering a new world of innovation.”
Corbett, who teaches Apple curriculum-based courses, has witnessed the impact of the partnership first-hand and has numerous anecdotes of student success. One of these stories comes from an Everyone Can Code class, where students developed an app prototype called Food Fund. “The app was designed to assist with the management of a social action project, also created by students, to reduce food waste in local schools, redistribute food to a local charity called Penny Dinners, and raise awareness of food needs in our community,” says Corbett.
Another story that Corbett shares is about a group of girls who wrote an original song called “Live Out Loud” in an Everyone Can Create class. The anthem they composed was so powerful that it was selected to be part of a government-led national campaign to celebrate LGBTQ+ young people. The group is now using GarageBand and iMovie to produce their own music and videos. “In terms of how it will impact their future, it’ll give them confidence to try new things,” says Corbett.
Ultimately, Corbett says, the partnership with Apple has brought a culture of creativity and innovation to Terence MacSwiney Community College. “A lot of the kids don’t think they’re creative until they come to the Everyone Can Create class,” she says. “But they start drawing on their iPad and end up discovering a new world of innovation.”
Languages lead the way.
For many immigrants and refugees in America, joining a new community can be an overwhelming experience. Language barriers often become an enduring challenge, especially when seeking job opportunities or continuing their education. In Idaho, the Onramp initiative’s goal is to build the state’s workforce by developing Idaho educators and expanding opportunities for students. This state-wide programme is a unique partnership between Apple, Boise State University, the Idaho Digital Learning Alliance and the College of Western Idaho (CWI). For CWI instructors like Sarah Strickley, helping immigrants and refugees develop more English communication skills enables them to feel closer to their communities and empowers them to make a difference. “For equity to happen, we need to educate leaders that look like the world,” Strickley says.
CWI’s English language learner (ELL) and English as a second language (ESL) programme offers free English and digital skills classes to non-native English speakers. With support from Apple’s Community Education Initiative team, this programme incorporates the Everyone Can Create curriculum, an introduction to Develop in Swift and devices to support digital skills acquisition. Strickley has been teaching ELL for over 10 years, and she designed a course within the programme that teaches English through code and vice versa. She works with more than 150 students across 30 countries of origin, with more than 31 languages spoken. Students have varying educational levels and experience with technology. Some have never interacted with an iPad before, while some have advanced credentials from their home country. What they have in common is a communication barrier that limits potential job opportunities. Strickley says, “The goal is a sustainable programme that every student is able to touch, no matter where they are on their educational journey.” Her approach to teaching both language and code reinforces the unique strengths and skills within every student.
Strickley says, “When you braid creativity, community and coding, that’s where the magic happens because technology stands up and fills in those language or learning gaps for students.”
Strickley believes that creativity plays a major role in bringing people closer to their community. She incorporates Challenge-Based Learning — an approach to leveraging technology to solve real-world problems — which often becomes the first interaction and connection for many of these students to their communities. They’re actively learning to make connections and creatively solve problems, while simultaneously building self-confidence and valuable social capital. Immigrants and refugees often arrive in Idaho without a network or support system, and Strickley’s efforts with CWI ultimately empower them to find their own voice and build their place in a community they now call home.
Strickley says, “Every one of us is a bundle of knowledge, regardless of our language, accent, background or circumstance. And education helps us share that knowledge with each other towards more understanding.” For Strickley, technology is an equaliser that helps everyone get on the same page. With devices in hand and newfound technological knowledge, every community member has the potential to find or even create their own success.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Code that reaches new postcodes.
Katleho Letshae lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. When a friend told him about the Apple Coding course being offered at Wilberforce Community College, he jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s rare to find courses like this in developing countries,” Letshae says.
The course was made possible by HBCU C2, an initiative by Tennessee State University in partnership with Apple to empower Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to bring coding and creativity opportunities to their home campuses and surrounding communities. HBCU C2 promotes innovation and education equity, and it aims to address community challenges using app design and Apple’s Swift programming language.
Apple helped launch the programme and is involved at various levels, from providing the grants and technology needed to scale the initiative to designing the curriculum and course content. Additionally, the Apple team has helped prepare instructors to teach the classes using the Apple Teacher Training curriculum.
To date, the programme has spread to 46 HBCUs, all of which have committed to serving as a Centre of Innovation in their communities. Part of this commitment includes establishing an “Innovation Team” to implement the programme locally, devising at least two courses each academic year with C2 (coding and creativity) strategies, and offering out-of-school learning experiences for all students as well as after-school and local community organisations. This shared commitment has been instrumental in creating opportunities that are diversifying the tech and creative workforce and bridging the digital divide among under-represented minority groups.
HBCU C2 has been so successful that it has recently expanded beyond the United States to three schools in Africa, serving students in school and in two-year and four-year higher education institutions. This includes Wilberforce Community College, where 88 students have gone through the programme in the first year.
One of those students was Letshae. In the course, he designed an app called Seasons, which will allow people to control the temperature of their electric blankets via Bluetooth using their iPhone. While taking the course, he looked for problems he could solve in his community, and that’s how he came up with the idea. “I wanted to create an easier and safer way for people of all ages to use electric blankets,” says Letshae. While the app is still in the prototype stage, he hopes he’ll see it come to fruition one day. Meanwhile, Letshae is planning his next steps. He has continued to learn about coding beyond the course, just by being curious and researching online, but he is considering returning to education for a degree in computer science or information technology. “Education sets a foundation to elevate myself to achieve my goals.”
Detroit. In development.
Ohio native Telayne Keith says, “I believe in my students so much and what they’re capable of doing. Whether they see it or not, I see it.” Keith brings a passion for education and community everywhere she goes. She’s one of many talented individuals in Detroit who are paving new paths in today’s tech-driven world. She was a facilitator in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM), teaching the principles of human-centred design and app prototyping.
In July 2021, Apple teamed up with BGCSM and Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) to build a programme for students to develop skills for job opportunities and higher education. The six-week Code to Career programme brought together a cohort of 20 students aged 18 to 24 to take on community challenges in sustainable fashion and mobility.
As a facilitator, Keith incorporated Apple’s Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) — an approach to leveraging technology to solve real-world problems — and guided groups of students to identify community needs and develop creative solutions. Keith says, “We can’t build on what we already have without expanding what we know. Curiosity is so important.” Her students were able to realise their inner creative potential and how they can each make a difference. Keith reminisces about her own upbringing and how her mother used methods similar to those of CBL to encourage finding answers through research and field trips to museums.
Keith says, “Education isn’t necessarily four walls and a book, it’s what you learn from the people around you who don’t look or think like you.”
Even though her students didn’t have coding experience, they were confidently presenting their app prototypes to judges and Michigan legislators by the end of the programme. Students were able to take their problem-solving skills and collaboration experience and impact their communities. Other students continued on to join the Apple Developer Academy Foundation Program — a month-long programme and intro to coding and design — or even apply to the academy’s year-long programme.
The Apple Developer Academy is a powerful engine of growth for Detroit. It’s a hub of entrepreneurship and creativity that provides training for students to be part of the iOS app economy. Keith’s passions led her to join the academy as a user experience and user interface (UX/UI) design mentor to guide and inspire students towards new opportunities in technology. She carried this drive to Kent State University in Ohio, graduating with a master’s degree in UX/UI in August 2022. From the BGCSM to the Apple Developer Academy, the transformational power of technology is helping to champion even more talent in Detroit.
Keith believes, “There’s always a way to carve out your own way through life. And education makes that possible.” Keith and the Apple Professional Learning Specialists in the BGCSM are fostering a cycle of positive development across communities in Detroit. Apple Developer Academy students are returning to their schools and universities to share their journeys and inspire younger generations. GDYT intends to adopt and organically expand BGCSM’s six-week Code to Career programme into a year-long engagement for school students. For Keith, “Education is truly power”, and education empowers each and every community member to develop an even greater Detroit.
Resources from the source.
First Nations history was, until recently, virtually absent from curriculums in Canada. The historic and ongoing regulations of the 1876 Indian Act — which attempted to assimilate a vast, varied population of First Nations people into non–First Nations society — and the impact of residential schools that had suppressed 150,000 children from expressing their culture for generations, were often overlooked. The last Canadian residential school closed in 1997, further fuelling the movement towards teaching more First Nations culture and history today.
In 2015, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) gathered First Nations education leaders across Canada from coast to coast to coast. The AFN showcased a collection of artefacts, residential school maps and other materials to help educators teach Canadian history through a First Nations lens. Demand for this collection was overwhelming.
Apple was inspired to kindle a partnership with the AFN to increase educational access for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Renee St. Germain, AFN’s Director of Languages and Learning and a member of Rama First Nations, says, “Teachers and students struggle for reliable resources around culture and history.” She’s part of the ongoing project with Apple to make available digital resources related to First Nations history. The result is a downloadable resource providing hands-on educational tools on First Nations’ rights, culture and history. The free It’s Our Time: The AFN Educational Toolkit includes a growing collection of interactive Apple Books that support Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators in embedding new perspectives into their classrooms and fostering a spirit of cooperation, understanding and action.
St. Germain says, “Education is fundamental in addressing large issues, eliminating systemic racism and discrimination. We all go through education and the system needs to be changed to properly support today’s society and cultures.”
Apple has helped the AFN develop 15 Apple Books in English and French. Today, the combined efforts of Apple Distinguished Educators, Apple’s Community Education Initiative, pedagogical experts, Indigenous education leaders and advocacy organisations continue to empower educators in teaching First Nations history. St. Germain believes, “There’s no bad time to start the conversation for all people, regardless of age.” Teachers are finally able to integrate First Nations into curriculums effectively and spark more dialogue around this sensitive history. She says, “Equity is at the forefront of everything the AFN does, and the toolkit is First Nations–led.” She emphasises the importance for First Nations students to see themselves accurately represented. “There are First Nations students in almost every classroom.” Systemic change is growing across Canada and the toolkit is building more momentum to make education more equitable for First Nations students and future generations.
St. Germain now works on partnerships with school governors to expand the toolkit’s reach. Because First Nations people are diverse, Apple and the AFN continue to work with First Nations education leaders to develop region-specific editions of the toolkit to better reflect respective traditions, languages and cultures.
According to St. Germain, there’s more work to be done for First Nations people — from housing to equal rights to cultural safety for students and teachers. Education is part of the process. As she says, “If we can’t find equity in education, where else can we find it?”
Tradition meets technology.
Ya’an in Sichuan is home to the earliest tea plantations ever recorded in written Chinese. The city’s four rivers and surrounding peaks form an ideal environment for growing tea. And its world-renowned home-grown tea is soon to be matched by its invaluable home-grown talent.
In 2015, Apple began supporting the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) to help organise farmers into cooperatives to train them to sell their products more efficiently. Cooperative leaders help develop farmers’ skill sets and promote entrepreneurial growth across China’s e-commerce ecosystem. And in 2020, Apple supported the CFPA in establishing the Mengdingshan Cooperative Development Institute to support digital skills training for more than a thousand farmers’ cooperative leaders every year.
Cooperative director Ying Wang learned how to utilise technology and devices like iPad to farm smarter. She says that everything used to be done with paper notes, and iPad made it easier to learn the information and skills needed to improve tea production. Many of the farmers who enter the institute have never seen or used tablets before; leaders like Wang motivate them to learn because she believes technology is empowering for the community.
“Cooperative directors are like seeds in communities, taking root and sprouting,” Wang echoes her teacher’s words when considering the impact of education. The institute incorporates a wide-ranging curriculum — from seasonal produce efficiencies and supply chain knowledge to marketing and ultimately how to better sell products. Farmers and entrepreneurs are able to leverage their newfound digital skills to grow even better tea for export and thrive in their local economies. Wang continues, “We’re in the age of technology and information, it’s not the traditional agricultural era anymore. Training our talents helps us achieve transformation.” Before the institute, many young people in Wang’s village typically left for the cities in search of opportunities. Now they’re choosing to stay in their villages because of thriving industry standards, access to innovative technology and more practical training. Wang is thankful that young people are staying, and she’s hopeful that new talent will arrive in the village to help build a more prosperous community together. The CFPA is expanding the scale of the institute’s best practices to rural areas in more provinces.
Wang says, “Education has an influence on every step we take on the journey of our life.”
As cooperative director, Wang studies and researches ways to better manage her cooperative and unite members. As a result, income for cooperative members has increased and their digital skills are continually improving the quality of product. Ya’an’s reputation for tea is growing more and more because of each and every talented individual. Wang believes, “When we are born, everyone is the same, nobody knows anything. It is only education that brings you the ability to create who you are. Then you are safe enough to swim around and enjoy your own journey.”
Communities on the rise.
There’s a saying, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now.” And in Birmingham, Alabama, Ed Farm intends to grow digital skills and talent across the tech field for generations to come. In early 2020, Apple partnered with Birmingham City Schools, the Alabama Power Foundation and TechBirmingham to launch Ed Farm to foster educational equity and develop the workforce of tomorrow. Opportunities and technology are now more accessible in this community-driven education ecosystem.
Birmingham area residents of all ages can participate in Ed Farm in a variety of ways. The Teacher Fellows programme, with the support of Apple Professional Learning Specialists, develops educators who are passionate about innovations in learning and helps them integrate Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum into their lesson plans. The Student Fellows programme cultivates skills in students aged 12 to 18 through Challenge-Based Learning, an approach to leveraging technology to solve real-world problems. And the Pathways Program is a free course on Apple’s Swift programming language that also promotes the attainment of credentials beyond school. Ed Farm connects to Birmingham in a unique way as it’s supported by and for the community, all to reimagine education through technology.
“You’re never too old to learn something new. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing,” says Nikia Hackworth, a Pathways Program participant.
Hackworth found Pathways to be a life-changing experience for her and her family. After a long career in the financial industry, she discovered information about Ed Farm on social media, and it piqued her interest. She says, “You can’t go wrong with learning something new” when describing her Pathways experience and how she gained more knowledge about code and technology. She began to apply these digital skills towards a new career as a business analyst. Hackworth’s role isn’t rooted in writing a coding language; it’s to speak the language that involves code as she works as a liaison between technology and business teams. Ed Farm doesn’t just teach people how to code, it demonstrates awareness that the tech field has multiple paths — from product owners to project managers to business analysts like Hackworth, and more. She firmly believes that “Education will help you grow. The more you know, the more you grow.”
Ed Farm’s impact spans schools, higher education and the workforce — helping to transform Birmingham into a southern Silicon Valley. This partnership shines a light on opportunities Birmingham residents may not have known existed and opens new doors for growth. According to Hackworth, “In order to grow, we have to get out of the small box we might find ourselves in, and go into another box where we could blossom to be the big tree that we’re supposed to be.”
Our education story doesn’t end here.
Building a future where every girl can learn and lead.
In 2018, Apple partnered with the Malala Fund to help scale the organisation’s work for girls’ education and equality. In providing support for Malala Fund grants, technology, curriculum and research, Apple is accelerating progress towards a future where every girl can access 12 years of free, safe, high-quality education.
Apple technology helps educators bring out students’ creativity with powerful products, support and curriculums for magical learning experiences.
Powerful and compatible with everything you need for higher education and more. Apple devices work together so you can focus on what matters.
Apple powers innovation across every part of university — from cutting‑edge research and sports to daily student and teaching life.