Apple, through the Apple II, served as the gateway to computing for me; my third grade classroom had two Apple IIs neatly tucked away in metallic lock cases. With them, I was exposed to word processing, printing and, most importantly, Carmen Sandiego.
Education is deeply ingrained in the Apple ethos. During his keynote at Macworld 1997 -- where he made his return -- Steve Jobs, in a not so understated way, said that "Apple is the largest education company in the world" and that this provided the company "an incredible foundation...and legacy to build off of." This legacy lives on, as Apple, through its retail stores, offers a variety of mediums to teach kids about and expose them to computing and content creation.
Last week, Apple opened up spring registration for field trips to its retail stores. Breaking with the tradition that students are to bring apples to their teachers, Apple provides a way for teachers to their students to the Apple...store, that is. During these field trips, K-12 students can create a variety of digital masterpieces: a photo album using iPhoto, an edited video using iMovie, or a song in GarageBand, among them. When complete, students can showcase their creations with others in the store. Now that's a class act.[hat tip to The Loop]
Unlike field trips, in which those up to 12th grade can participate, Apple Youth Workshops are geared toward a younger crowd and toward specific applications. Kids ages 6 to 13 can participate in workshops in which they can work on photos, music, movies, and even presentation skills. You can check which workshops that are being offered at a particular retail store at the Apple Youth Workshop page. From my checks of various stores in California, there were no upcoming workshops scheduled at this time.
Lastly, there's Apple Camp. Like Apple Youth Workshops, Apple Camp is geared toward younger audiences (8 to 12 year-olds). Campers get to make movies, put together iPhoto photobooks, and compose songs at the Apple Store. At the end of the day, their keepsakes include a spiffy free t-shirt and a DVD of their creations. The Apple Camp site is currently not up, but Apple says that it will open up registration beginning in May.
To learn more about Apple's youth programs, visit the Apple Youth Program site here.