Apple’s Community Education Initiative (CEI) brings “coding, creativity and career opportunities to learners of all ages, and to communities that are traditionally underrepresented in technology,” the tech giant said in a new feature story about its outreach success in Houston.
The article focuses on programs including TechConnect, which gives iPads to kids in various training projects. It joined the initiative in 2022.
Apple’s CEI helps TechConnect and other programs teach at-need kids
October is Hispanic Heritage Month. Apple noted CEI has reached thousands of students through 150 partners in 99 countries and regions and in all 50 states since it started in 2019.
In addition to hardware, Apple provides financial support, scholarships, educator resources and access to Apple experts. They work with organizations to enhance learning experiences through technology.
As for TechConnect, here’s more description of that Houston program:
TechConnect was created in 2016 by Houston City Council Member Karla Cisneros to introduce advanced technology skills like coding to kids that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.
Juan Marquez has been involved with TechConnect for the past year — and has been part of Apple’s CEI programming in Houston from its inception, mentoring thousands of students and interns with Apple educational resources like Everyone Can Create and Everyone Can Code. He also teaches high school computer science, and has used Apple technology to enhance subjects as varied as reading, social studies, and science since he moved from his native Mexico to teach in the U.S. in 2015.
User-friendly learning materials
“If you follow Apple’s learning materials, they are very user-friendly for teaching young people critical learning skills that can help in every area,” Marquez said.
“There are always examples of things you can try that, right away, you see results. And I think that’s important because once students hit a roadblock — and this is especially important in programming or coding — they can get frustrated,” he added. “And with the iPad, you don’t have that.”
Apple noted a new wrinkle in the program, too:
One of the resources Marquez has used is Apple’s Challenge for Change Learning Series, which encourages students to solve real challenges in their communities using technology as a tool. Today, Apple released a new installment in which Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai encourages learners to use storytelling to create positive change. Marquez is excited to introduce this new material to learners in Mexico and in his community in Texas.
“This program is mind-blowing,” Marquez said. “Especially coming from Mexico where it’s difficult to find resources, it became so important for me to bring this level of opportunity and learning to kids who have almost no access to technology. I believe that all students can do anything, you just need the right tools, the right coach, and the right connection.”