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Apple has conferred the status of Distinguished School on Gallaudet University, in Washington D.C., in recognition of its work including teaching American Sign Language.
According to Technica.ly, this new designation, which runs from 2022 to 2025, follows the many collaborations between Apple and the university, including Gallaudet's extensive use of Apple hardware and software.
"Technology can be a 'great equalizer' for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind," Dean of Faculty Khadijat Rashid told the publication. "In particular, video technology allows deaf people to communicate with one another over long distances, and to communicate with hearing people with supports such as sign language interpretation and automatic speech recognition."
"Apple has been especially attuned to the importance of providing access," continued Dean Rashid. "This partnership with Apple through its Apple Distinguished Schools program allows us to continue to innovate for impact, consistent with our mission and strategic vision."
The status does not appear to necessarily lead to further collaboration with Apple, but rather to be an acknowledgement of academic accomplishment brought about by leveraging Apple technology.
At the same time as recognizing Gallaudet University, Apple awarded the Distinguished School status to its K-12 program, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.
In his commencement speech, Cook stressed how technology is meant to help people, not to become their focus.
"What does it take to build a life that provides meaning and fulfillment?" said Cook in the May 2022 speech. "No one can answer that question for you, and that includes me."
"There is no iPhone feature that can come to the rescue," he continued. "AI is good, but it's not that good."
"Still, I have one important piece of advice I want to share — so important, that it's the only piece of advice I'm going to share today," said Cook. "And that is this: whatever you do, lead with your values."