Apple In Education

Apple In EducationWould you dare to predict what the classroom will look like in twenty years time? So many factors can shape and change the future of education, and in technology these factors change on a daily basis. With the high pace change we see in Tech, there are not many individuals or companies that are able to able to foresee twenty days ahead, let alone twenty years.

One company that is renowned for astoundingly accurate crystal ball gazing is Apple. Their ability to spot trends and understand their market makes it no surprise to see Apple as one of the leading companies in the world today.

From the rise of the GUI, personal music, tablet devices and cloud computing, Apple have been ahead of their time with many products over the last twenty years. But how have Apple’s predictions in the future of education fared? Take a look at these three videos created by the iconic company and see what you think.


Future of Education: Classroom of the Future – 1988

This video features a student explaining the intricacies of volcanic eruption using a conceptual Apple device. The first thing that strikes me watching this video is the similarity to this device and Nintendo’s DS . Both sport the clam-shell style, featuring controls on one half and display on the other. Although not touch screen as many mobile devices now are, the student is still able to control the view for his teacher zooming through 3D space.

Secondly to note is the uncanny resemblance between the the mapping program and Google Earth. The student pans and zooms around the 3D mountain in a manner very consistent with how students currently use Google Earth. The student then takes this information and displays it for the class on the interactive whiteboard just as we would now.


Apple Knowledge Navigator — 1988

The Apple Knowledge Navigator was a conceptual product described by former Apple CEO John Sculley in his 1987 book, Odyssey. The video demonstrates the technology with a professor returning home to his own digital assistant on a tablet style device. Using advanced voice recognition his bow-tie wearing software associate is able to update him on latest news and take requests for a variety of  tasks.

The amusing (spooky) part about this video is that it was set in September 2011, just one month before Apple released ‘Siri’, the iPhone voice activated personal assistant. Watching the video and comparing it to the marketing material Apple released for Siri is a fascinating journey into how Apple takes their direction.


Apple Technology Integration Into Education – 1995

The most obvious prediction from this video is the introduction of tablet like devices. We see a teacher conversing with her colleague via her tablet in a Skype like interface. We also see another scene where students are collecting data and images on small portable touch screen devices. Both are very similar to what Apple have now introduced all over the world.

What I find most interesting in this video is the hints of early social networking, where teachers and students are sharing ideas and media via their devices. The video talks about the global information space where we are delivered more text, sound and video than ever. In discussing how to “navigate with purpose through that seas of information” it is interesting to draw parallels with current networks such as Facebook and Twitter.


What other companies do you think have made accurate predictions in the future of education? And what are some examples of getting it totally wrong?


Image courtest of Flickr, gothick_matt


  1. That’s amazing… kind of scary how accurate these videos are. I wonder what things will look like in the next ten to twenty years!

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