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OU Assistant Athletic Bands Director Receives Apple Distinguished Educator Award

Brian Wolfe




NORMAN – University of Oklahoma Assistant Director of Athletic Bands and OU alumnus Brian Wolfe has been named an Apple Distinguished Educator, a prestigious and competitive award honoring highly innovative educators.

Wolfe, who also teaches courses in conducting and music education in the OU School of Music, joins a select group of instructors from around the world as an Apple Distinguished Educator. These educators embrace new ideas and opportunities through Apple technology and collaborate — in person and online — on solutions to the global education challenges of today and tomorrow.

As an Apple Distinguished Educator, Wolfe will collaborate with other innovative educators and policy makers. They will serve as ambassadors of innovation, participating in and presenting at education events around the world.

Theresa Cullen, current Apple Distinguished Educator from the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at OU, said that another award to the university community allows it to expand its influence and tell its story about how technology can change the student experience at a university.

“The Apple Distinguished Educator community has been an important part of my professional development and professional network,” Cullen said. “I am so excited to have another member of the OU community to participate with me and share our university’s story and push us forward through working with other higher education technology leaders around the world.”

Beginning in 2015, all members of the Pride of Oklahoma marching band were given an iPad that compiled their drill charts, sheet music and recordings of the full band in one device. 

Since OU Athletic Bands began the iPad program, the Pride and the Sound of the Sooners basketball band have been able to greatly reduce teaching and learning times overall. The students have the ability to access real-time information “at their fingertips” for all athletic bands while also being able to use the iPads in their daily classes.

Wolfe and the Pride staff encourage students to use the iPads outside the marching band to study other academic coursework, stay organized and collaborate online with classmates.

“Success builds success in the Pride of Oklahoma; where we pair instruction with the iPad, our students are able to experience a deeper level of learning in less time,” Wolfe said.

By using the iPad to push music and drill evaluation to the individual student, direct communication lines are opened between the instructor and student. The information provided by the instructor allows students to continue their performance self-evaluation through a recording of their music and marching performance.  

Future course development in the band’s iPad program includes using apps that provide quick feedback to students during music and drill rehearsals.

Additionally, the Pride is exploring ways to streamline logistics associated with managing a collegiate band program with the iPad. Uniform and equipment inventory for tracking purposes, as well as maintenance logs, will be implemented this summer to increase the longevity of inventory throughout the program. 

The Apple Distinguished Educator Program began in 1994, when Apple recognized K-12 and higher education pioneers who are using a variety of Apple products to transform teaching and learning in powerful ways. Today it has grown into a worldwide community of more than 2,000 visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. To learn more about this group of innovative educators, visit

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