Apple explores how students, teachers used its devices during the pandemic

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Apple has highlighted the various ways that students and educators used products like the iPad and Mac to support remote learning and graduation ceremonies during the pandemic.

In a feature published on Wednesday, the Cupertino tech giant took a dive into remote learning projects and initiatives carried out by high schools and universities across the globe during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

Students and teachers at Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, New York, for example, used Apple devices to debut an online production of the musical "Is There Life After High School?"

After the musical was cancelled because of coronavirus, drama and film teacher Anthony Stirpe imagined a way to use iPhone, iPad, and Mac to shoot and edit the musical. Even before production started, students auditioned for parts using iOS devices.

"Without this technology, there is no way we would have been able to do this. The time I've spent doing the musical this year helped me open myself up in a way that I've never done before, and it's given me a skill set I can take forward into my future," said cast member Noah Massey, 17.

After the performance, Stirpe even received an email from the original writer of the Broadway musical, Jeffrey Kindley.

"You created something spectacular in our year of lockdown limitations: You found ways to use the intimacy of iPad and Zoom to focus on private moments and make them instantly relatable. It's odd to be moved by your own words when you wrote them four decades ago, but it happens when talented people bring them to life again," Kindley wrote.

Apple also highlighted how teacher Scott Anderson used the company's products to teach history remotely to students in Glasgow, Scotland. Anderson learned how to use iMovie and GarageBand to create virtual lessons using archival photos, video clips, and sound effects.

"I think during the lockdown period, remote teaching became slightly repetitive, so I think it's good to vary the teaching style. iPad and its built-in creativity apps made it so easy for me to do that quickly and virtually. And to be honest, I would certainly say the pupils are outshining me in the technology department now," he said.

Students at the school, Castlemilk High School, also had the opportunity to use GarageBand to create their own podcasts covering key events and elements of history.

Apple also featured how Professor Francine Edwards, the dean of Delaware State's College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences, used Apple products to work on a completely virtual graduation ceremony. Delaware State University is an Apple Distinguished School and a Historically Black College and University, the company said.

Dr. Edwards eventually created a two-and-a-half hour virtual ceremony that included messages from many celebrities and politicians, including now-President Joe Biden, Delaware's governor, and both of the state's U.S. senators.

"We got so many messages in — we even heard from parents who used their student's iPad to record their video. It came together so fluently because almost everything was shot with Apple devices, and I edited on my MacBook Pro and iPad and created graphics and transitions using Keynote. Even our chaplain recorded the benediction on her iPhone," said Dr. Edwards.

In 2021, Dr. Edwards also used the previous year's model to create a hybrid set of ceremonies. Even though some of them were held in-person, they leveraged virtual elements throughout — something that the college is considering on doing in the future.

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