Today, I signed up for an Apple Education Apple Teacher training program. I cannot really comment at this point on the content of the program because there must be some type of process to approve my application. I tend not to trust business sponsored certification or recognition programs. I will try to reserve judgment – there is a difference between pushing the brand and providing support for those who need to learn how to use specific products.
I use multiple Apple devices daily, but the only Apple software/service I use is iTunes. At this point, I do not regard the Apple software/service as competitive or as having limited value because of the proprietary nature of the product. I use their hardware because I can afford it and the hardware has always proven reliable. I use this hardware to reach the Internet where I do nearly all my work or to launch applications I prefer and could run on other devices if needed.
I make a distinction between tools and tactics in writing about classroom applications of technology. I am participating in the Apple training program because tactics are cross-platform. No matter what your area of practice there is always the opportunity to collect some new ideas. The issue for me will be the cost|benefit ratio in gleaning these nuggets.
The badges? No one cares if I earn badges. Are there settings in which the badges might indicate something of value (aside from a possible personal sense of accomplishment)? Perhaps. I can imagine a setting in which a school has made a 1:1 commitment to iPads and has limited resources to offer professional development. Administrators might appreciate proof of understanding based on meeting badge requirements. Now, if the school’s 1:1 initiative involved chromebooks, would badges indicate a competency of value? Possibly. As I suggested, tactics tend to be cross-platform. I guess my opinion on this second possibility will have to be delayed until I have had the opportunity to participate and see what I think.