A little over a month ago, I received my Apple Teacher certification through the official Apple Teacher program. While I am not a teacher, I do have lots of readers who are teachers and spend a lot of time in education-related spaces. And since I love to learn new things that can help to support students with visual impairments in the classroom, the Apple Teacher certification program was the perfect fit for me to learn more about Apple products and applications. Here are my tips for using assistive technology with the Apple Teacher certification program, and how to become an Apple Teacher for free.
What is the Apple Teacher certification program?
The Apple Teacher certification program is run through Apple Teacher, a free professional learning program designed to introduce educators to ways they can use Apple products for teaching and learning. The program can be used by people who have never touched an Apple product and want to learn how to use them, as well as people who are great with Apple products and are looking for new ways to use them in the classroom. Upon successful completion of the Apple Teacher certification program, users receive a digital badge and certificate.
Requirements for the program
The Apple Teacher certification program is a self-paced and web-based program which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so users can choose to start it at any time. In order to achieve the Apple Teacher certification certificate, users must pass all of the modules in either the “earn badges for iPad” or “earn badges for Mac” categories. While it’s highly recommended that users have access to the device they are learning about, no additional purchases are needed.
Who can benefit from an Apple Teacher certification?
While the Apple Teacher certification program is designed for people who teach in a classroom, other people who work with students or in the education space can still benefit from the information shared in this program. Some examples of people who can benefit from participating in the Apple Teacher certification include:
- Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs)
- Students who are blind or that have low vision and that use Apple products
- Assistive technology specialists
- College students who use Mac computers/iPads
- School educational technology specialists
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How to set up a free Apple Teacher account
Users can set up a free Apple Teacher account by doing the following:
- Go to the Apple Teacher website- https://www.apple.com/education/apple-teacher/
- Create an Apple ID or sign in with an existing one. Users must have their own personal Apple ID for the program, and not a managed ID that is assigned by the school.
- Accept the privacy statement
- Select what grade(s) you teach from the list
- Select what subject(s) you teach
- Write your school name and where you teach, or just include your city, state, and ZIP code
- Choose your experience level with Apple products and desired language
- Accept the terms of service
Once users login to the program, they are taken to the Apple Teacher Learning Center, which is filled with many different resources for teachers. For this post, I’ll specifically be focusing on the “Earn Badges” modules since those count towards the Apple Teacher certification.
Within the modules, there are 6 different sections that focus on specific apps and device characteristics. Each section is filled with text-based information and visuals about different skills and how to use them, and users can click on icons to get to different content areas for the section. At the end of the section, users must pass a short quiz in order to receive credit for the module, though they can take the quizzes an unlimited number of times to pass.
What’s in the modules
Here is a breakdown of what is in each of the two modules. Users need to pass at least one module to become an Apple Teacher certification.
- iPad device overview
- Pages for iPad
- Keynote for iPad
- Numbers for iPad
- iMovie for iPad
- GarageBand for iPad
- Mac device overview
- Pages for Mac
- Keynote for Mac
- Numbers for Mac
- iMovie for Mac
- GarageBand for Mac
- Low Vision Accessibility Settings For MacBooks
- How To Make iPad Accessible for Low Vision
- How To Find Accessibility Emoji In iOS 13.2
Browsing the Apple Teacher certification program with screen magnification
For some reason, the Apple Teacher website did not allow me to use the pinch-to-zoom gesture on my iPad through the Google Chrome browser. For this reason, I recommend using the built-in Safari browser, which supports the pinch gesture. If I came across an image, I would open it in a new tab in my browser or save it to my device so I could zoom in- since the images were in a high resolution, this was not an issue.
When taking the quizzes, I used a lens view for Zoom with an inverted display filter, as the text was somewhat difficult for me to see due to the font not having much weight. I prefer using the lens view as it is easy to reposition and move across the screen.
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Using VoiceOver with the Apple Teacher certification program
As expected, the Apple Teacher certification program works wonderfully with VoiceOver. The program itself doesn’t give a ton of information about how to use VoiceOver though, so users will need to know how to use VoiceOver prior to starting the program. Users can still gain valuable information about how to use different apps and features even if they are unable to see the screen. Most pictures do not contain alt text, however this is because the pictures are for decorative purposes only.
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Things I learned from the program
Some examples of interesting things I learned from the Apple Teacher certification program include:
- Different keyboard shortcuts and settings for Mac computers
- Tips for how to use iMovie more effectively when I am working on videos
- How to use transitions in Keynote, something I had previously struggled with
- Collaboration tools for different apps, which is great for school projects
- Finally figuring out how to use the multi-tasking view on iPad, which I hope to write about more soon
- How To Make Keyboards Easier To See
- Choosing Wallpapers and Backgrounds With Low Vision
- How I Use My Phone As Assistive Technology In Class
The Apple Teacher certification program helped me tremendously with becoming more familiar with Apple products and apps, and I love having the information in an easy-to-access place so I can easily refer back to it. I’m also interested in exploring the new “Learn Skills for iPad” and “Learn Skills for Mac” modules so that I can become even more familiar with how to complete certain tasks efficiently, instead of just texting my friend who loves everything Apple and asking them what they would do. Overall, I highly recommend that students and teachers should check out the Apple Teacher certification program, as it is a great way to learn more about these popular products without a ton of pressure or confusing terminology.