Vice president of Apple Education speaks at Power in Partnership breakfast

Published 11:34 pm Thursday, September 19, 2019

SALISBURY – Students must be taught to work as a team and create community-based goals if they’re going to be ready for the working world they will be entering, an Apple Education executive said at the Power in Partnership breakfast Thursday.

The breakfast was sponsored by the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce at Trinity Oaks.

The speaker was Sue Meyer, vice president of Apple Education’s U.S. development team in Cupertino, California, who works with school leaders to leverage innovation and technology to transform learning.

The development team is a teaching and learning team, Meyer said in explaining her role.

“Everyone on this team has come from a background in school leadership to come to Apple because we’re passionate about what happens at the intersection of learning and technology,” she said. “All of my team members have years and years of experience as principals, tech directors (and more).”

Meyer had audience members and discuss ideas and answer questions she posed, such as, “What is the first device you’ve ever touched that you would define as a computer?” She asked about specific apps or technology that people use to help in “removing friction” and helping people them time in their day-to-day lives.

“We are living in a world that is more mobile, connected and global than we have ever been,” she said. “When did this happen to us?”

Meyer said there is no right or wrong answer, but suggested the year 2007, when the iPhone was introduced and other innovations began to gain steam.

Meyer said change is necessary in the education system.

“Every one of us is sitting in a seat in here because you have been successful in your life,” Meyer said. “We need to shift the educational system to respond to the economy that we are in.”

Meyer posed a rhetorical question about how to prepare students for the modern world. She addressed specific skills that employers are looking for in future employees.

According to Meyer, employers say skills such as analytical thinking, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving, being able to think outside the box, cybersecurity skills, leadership, hands-on learning and emotional intelligence are important for students to learn.

“Forty-four percent of employers say that kids lack those skills,” Meyer said.

Meyer said students follow different paths.

“Our learning needs to be personalized for that,” she said. “It needs to be collaborative. Everything in their schooling on up to graduation has been individually focused. … What will matter most to our children’s success is their ability to take something they are passionate about and to drive that forward.”