What is an Apple Distinguished School?

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A definition

An Apple Distinguished School is a school that has been officially recognised by Apple for innovation, leadership and educational excellence. Apple defines them as being “centers of leadership and educational excellence that demonstrate our vision of exemplary learning environments.”


But what does that actually mean? This blog post aims to teach you a little bit more about what Apple Distinguished Schools are, what they do, and what the requirements are of becoming one.

Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking

Apple Distinguished Schools are schools that use Apple products, such as iPad and Mac, to inspire student creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Students find iPad extremely engaging, so it is a great way to get children to enjoy what they are learning.

For example, an Apple Distinguished School is likely to incorporate the use of an iPad into most of their lesson plans, no matter what the subject is, using a number of the 170,000 educational apps available for iPad. Another great resource used by Apple Distinguished Schools is iBooks, which are interactive books on almost every subject, offering students an engaging and interactive experience.

Watch how a school has become an Apple Distinguished School

Models of innovation

Many people are involved in the creation of a great Apple Distinguished School. All of these people, from the school leaders, faculty and the extended community, have a clear vision for how their use of technology supports student learning goals. And this innovation is always developing.

Apple Distinguished Schools have established elements, with the purpose of supporting their school’s vision and ensuring continuous innovation. These include, culture, team, capacity, community, finance and measurement. Being an Apple Distinguished School requires careful planning, practice and frequent improvements.

Activities of Apple Distinguished Schools

Throughout the two – year designation, Apple Distinguished Schools have to share their experiences with other schools by publishing their stories and working with Apple education teams to host school visits.

The aim of these events is to share their vision for their program and showcase how they best use Apple products to create powerful teaching and learning experiences. School leaders also share how they are using Apple products and services to support innovation in learning environments by creating a Multi-Touch book.

Read about an Apple Distinguished School that received a visit from Apple CEO, Tim Cook

Activities of Apple Distinguished Schools

To become an Apple Distinguished School you need:

1. A one-to-one Mac or iPad programme for students and faculty in place for more than two academic years.

2. Ability to demonstrate how best practices in teaching and learning are continuously evolving with Apple technology.

3. Teachers are highly proficient in the use of Apple products, with 75% of teachers recognised as Apple Teachers.

4. A deep integration of Apple creation apps, educational apps, iBooks and learning materials in iTunes U into the curriculum.

5. Evidence of student success documented through school-based research practices measuring improvement and sustainability.

Activities of Apple Distinguished Schools

Apple Distinguished Schools have the responsibility to be willing to:

• Engage in Apple-hosted school site visits.

• Publish the school’s success story in the form of a Multi-Touch book.

• Engage with like-minded Apple Distinguished School leaders worldwide.

• Share best practices and evidence of student academic success.

How we can help

Whether you are just starting out with iPad, or your school is looking to take their use of iPad to the next level, we can help.
As Apple Solution Experts in education and with over 30 years experience, we can offer you the support and training you need. Contact our education team >

Resources & Examples

Want to see what it takes to become an Apple Distinguished School? 

Albion have supported a number of Schools, including:
Tomlinscote School, RGS and Surbiton School on their ADS journey.

Read Tomlinscote’s Book
Read RGS Worcester’s Journey

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