Apple is facilitating the Community Education Initiative (CEI) by supporting teachers with a coding and creativity program especially designed for remote learning.
The CEI was designed by Apple particularly to help teachers work with communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the field of technology.
Birmingham City Schools fourth grade science and social studies teacher Portrice Warren […] is one of nearly 500 educators who participated in a massive virtual coding academy this summer as part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative.
Apple facilitates and supports CEI programming in 24 cities and regions across the US, 21 of which predominately serve majority Black and Brown students. As part of CEI, Apple also recently announced an expansion of its partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The purpose of this year’s coding academy was not only to help educators learn the tools to code and teach coding, but to do so in an environment in which remote learning is considered the new norm.
While the Everyone Can Code and Develop in Swift curricula are also very important, the CEI is not just about coding.
Tapping into the technology and resources supported by CEI, Warren and her Teacher Fellow peer Karita Sullen partnered with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to start a program called Cultivate Change, which helps students navigate racial tensions and communicate their feelings in a world where they are facing both a public health pandemic and systemic racial injustice.
“We wanted to give students a safe space because you don’t just learn about history in textbooks,” says Warren. “If in the midst of face-to-face confrontation they can apply some of the strategies they’re learning through these courses to problem-solve and survive some challenging things in their communities, then I think it’s all been worthwhile.”
Throughout the summer, the teachers hosted weekly remote meetings where students could voice their feelings and find support.
Remote learning is one of the most difficult challenges that have come along with the Coronavirus pandemic and Apple is doing its best to support teachers in the cause.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple also launched the CEI Learning Series, whereby hundreds of teachers from around the country can meet virtually to share best practices on remote learning. Warren is already applying the tools and strategies she’s learned through Ed Farm and the CEI Coding Academy, and is looking forward to attending CEI Learning Series events scheduled for this fall. After more than 30 years of teaching, she recognizes the importance of this moment, and her mission.
“Ten years from now, I want my students to look back and see the powerful impact remote learning had on them, and that it was a positive transition,” says Warren.