In order for us to become an Apple Distinguished School, one requirement was for at least 75% of teachers to gain their Apple Teacher status. Apple Teacher is an online learning tool from Apple that celebrates the skills and knowledge educators have in using Apple technology for learning inside and outside the classroom. As the Greenwich Apple Regional Training Centre, we put on courses after school throughout the year, covering all the different badges needed to get the Apple Teacher status (intro to iPad, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie and GarageBand). Because the after school training was onsite (and included lovely biscuits and tea!), teachers were happy to come along and get any support they needed in learning more about the different apps and then passing the quizzes. That, and some friendly competition between year groups, meant we hit our target by the end of the school year in 2019.
Support staff in school had been asking about whether they could do Apple Teacher too, but there never seemed to be the right opportunity to provide the training. So when the schools closed at the end of March due to COVID-19, we decided to set our Teaching Assistants (TAs), Early Years Practitioners (EYFPs) and Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) the challenge of completing their Apple Teacher status whilst on lockdown and now working from home.
It was quite a tall challenge in many ways as they would have to work through the materials on the Apple Teacher Learning Centre by themselves rather than attend any specific training. At the same time, we had been assigning our support staff an iPad ever since we went 1:1 iPad and so they were used to using Apple technology to support children with their learning in the classroom.
We posted some instructions on how to navigate through the Apple Teacher website to start learning and earning the badges, and quite quickly we had support staff coming back to say that they had finished! I normally celebrate with a certificate in staff meeting everyone who get their Apple Teacher status, but this will have to wait until lockdown finishes and we return to school. 14 so far and counting…
I think it’s a good way to help our support staff learn that bit more about the educational technology they are already using every day, but also to recognise and celebrate their successes.