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Rewiring Education

By John Couch and Jason Towne


The first VP of Education at Apple, Inc. provides an insider’s look at the roles innovation and technology have played, and continue to play, in the field of education and how these factors change the way we teach our children.

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Publication Date: May 2018

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“At a time of accelerating technological change, our education system must learn to adapt to the needs of the future. In Rewiring Education, John D. Couch explores important questions about education—not only how we teach but also what we teach—to open the debate about modernizing the school system.” —Hadi Partovi, cofounder of

“Through Rewiring Education, John Couch has certainly earned his spot as the ‘father of modern education.’ His life and experiences portray true reflections on the need for change and how the world can achieve it. A deep and serious thought fantastically woven into a beautiful piece of literature that undoubtedly will be the ‘scripture’ for all educators in the days to come!” —Radhika Lee, founder and director of the Nairobi International School and author of Rainbows In My Clouds


What if we could unlock the potential in every child? As it turns out, we can.

Apple’s iconic co-founder Steve Jobs had a powerful vision for education, employing technology to make an enormous positive effect on the lives of millions of students. The man Jobs tapped to realize this vision was John D. Couch, a trusted engineer and executive who had a passion for education. Couch believed learning needed to be personal and collaborative. He argued the real purpose of education was to help children discover their uniqueness and empower them to reach beyond their perceived potential. However, changing a system that has notoriously resisted change for the past century proved to be no small task, even for an Apple vice president.

Now, though, technology is increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives, rewiring our homes, our jobs, and even our brains. Most important, a rewiring of education is finally beginning to unlock the potential of our schools, children, and society.

In Rewiring Education, Couch shares the professional lessons he’s learned during his 50-plus years in education and technology. He takes us behind Apple’s major research study, Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT), and its follow-up (ACOT 2), highlighting the powerful effects of the Challenge-Based Learning framework. Going beyond Apple’s walls, he also introduces us to some of the most extraordinary parents, educators, and entrepreneurs from around the world who have ignored the failed promises of memorization and, instead, utilize new science-backed methods and technologies that benefit all children, from those who struggle to honor students.

Rewiring Education examines the future, looking at the most promising of the emerging technologies, and how we, as parents, teachers, and voters, can ensure our children are provided with opportunities and access to the relevant, creative, collaborative, and challenging learning environments they need to succeed both today and tomorrow.

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About the Authors

John  Couch

John D. Couch is Vice President of Education at Apple, Inc. Recruited by Steve Jobs as Apple’s Director of New Products in 1978, Couch became the then-fledgling company’s 54th employee. Prior to Apple, he earned degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California Berkeley, and then became a software engineer at Hewlett-­Packard, a lecturer at Cal State University, and the author of a popular textbook.

Couch is an active leader in the personalized learning movement, widely regarded as one of the most forward-­thinking people in education. His influence extends beyond Apple, as well. He was a technology advisor to President Bush, and later advised President Obama on the initial National Education Technology Plan. Most recently, Couch partnered with Harvard University, funding an ed­-tech research initiative at the school’s Crowd Innovation Lab.

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Jason  Towne

Jason Towne is research fellow at Harvard University where he focuses on motivation, learning, and technology. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Conversations with America’s Best Teachers, in which he interviewed 18 National of the Year Award winners and nominees about what they do differently. Towne received his BS degree in Public Policy and graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Southern California in 2009. He earned his Masters degree in Education from Harvard in 2015 where he studied motivational psychology and education technology, co-directed the prestigious Harvard Innovative Ventures in Education (HIVE) program, and won the coveted Harvard Leadership in Education Award. Prior to Harvard, he was an executive for the YMCA overseeing youth development.

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Publication Details

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 1 in.

Weight: 2 lbs.

Format: E-book (epub)

Publication Date: May 2018

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