John Couch: Apple Inc.’s first vice-president of education

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Our special guest is John Couch, Apple Inc.’s First Vice President of Education. He is also the author of the book Rewiring Education: How Technology Can Unlock Every Student’s Potential.  Apple’s iconic co-founder Steve Jobs had a powerful vision for education, employing technology to make an enormous positive effect on the lives of millions of students. The man Jobs tapped to realize this vision was John D. Couch, a trusted engineer and executive who had a passion for education. Couch believed learning needed to be personal and collaborative. He argued the real purpose of education was to help children discover their uniqueness and empower them to reach beyond their perceived potential. However, changing a system that has notoriously resisted change for the past century proved to be no small task, even for an Apple vice president.

Now, though, technology is increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives, rewiring our homes, our jobs, and even our brains. Most important, a rewiring of education is finally beginning to unlock the potential of our schools, children, and society.

In Rewiring Education, Couch shares the professional lessons he’s learned during his 50-plus years in education and technology. He takes us behind Apple’s major research study, Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT), and its follow-up (ACOT 2), highlighting the powerful effects of the Challenge-Based Learning framework. Going beyond Apple’s walls, he also introduces us to some of the most extraordinary parents, educators, and entrepreneurs from around the world who have ignored the failed promises of memorization and, instead, utilize new science-backed methods and technologies that benefit all children, from those who struggle to honor students.

Rewiring Education examines the future, looking at the most promising of the emerging technologies, and how we, as parents, teachers, and voters, can ensure our children are provided with opportunities and access to the relevant, creative, collaborative, and challenging learning environments they need to succeed both today and tomorrow.

John D. Couch is an Executive Advisor to, and former Vice President of Education at, Apple, Inc. A former UC Berkeley graduate student, HP engineer and manager, and Cal State University lecturer, John was recruited by Steve Jobs in 1978, becoming Apple’s 54th employee. He left in 1984 and spent ten years using innovative technology to transform a struggling K-12 school in San Diego, which is now a National Blue-Ribbon school. At Jobs’ request, John returned to Apple in 2002, tasked with bringing education into the digital age. He has been a vocal proponent of personalized learning and was Apple’s representative to President Obama’s National Education Technology Plan and ConnectEd initiative. In 2017, John funded the establishment of a new Student Learning Research Fellowship at Harvard University, designed to support cutting-edge research for improving student learning and motivation. Visit John’s personal website for info on his other endeavors, including Eden Estates and Eden Inspirations.

 

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