Apple has a part of the education market from the early days of Apple. All the way back to 1978 to be exact. Today Apple has reinforced their education commitment. Apple held their education event at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. The event is focused on education and they have delivered in a big way.
Being in Chicago, Apple provided a couple of tidbits about Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Public Schools is working with Apple to teach more than 370,000 students how to code. Alongside this, the venue for the event, Lane Tech College Prep, has had more PhD graduate from there than any other school in the country.
Many questions why Apple would hold an education event at the end of the school year, but this is the perfect time because now is when schools start buying for next year. So this is the perfect time to hold an event.
Tools for Educators
Apple has released some new tools specifically for the K-12 market. These include Shared iPad Support, Classroom app, and Schoolwork.
Shared iPads is not a new feature, it has actually been around for a couple of years, but it is worth reiterating because it can be an invaluable feature for classrooms so that every student does not necessarily need their own dedicated iPad but can indeed share amongst many students. Students can login to any iPad and get all of their data within minutes.
The "Classroom" app was introduced in 2017 with iOS 11. Classroom allows teachers to keep an eye on what their students are doing. If a student is not following along, they can get the student back on track by bringing up the necessary application or website. Similarly, if a student needs some assistance, the teacher can help the student and guide them to where they need to be. There is a new feature for Classroom, Classroom is coming to the Mac.
All of the same features that are available on iPad will be available on the Classroom app for Mac. This will be available as a beta in June.
Schoolwork is a free web-based app, that allows you to give handouts, provide progress, These handouts can include web links, PDFS, and other documents. Additionally, educators can not only send students a link to an application, but they can now send a link to a specific activity within an application. The ability to send a specific activity will help teachers be able to direct students to exactly what the teacher hopes to be able to assign.
Assigning is not enough though, Schoolwork will also allow teachers to check on the progress of students. At a single glance a teacher can get a quick overview of how all of the students are doing. If they tap on any student, they can then get a detailed view of how the student performed on that activity.
With students using technology for an ever increasing percentage of their work, an area for concern is how to keep that information safe. As one can guess, Apple takes privacy very seriously, and the privacy of student data even more seriously than most. Teachers are the only ones that can see how a student is performing. Apple cannot, nor can anyone else.
These activities are not just going to magically appear, they will require developer support and developers have a new framework to help create these activities, it is
Schoolwork will be available in June.
Apple has also introduced a new resource specifically aimed at teachers themselves, it is called Apple Teacher. Apple Teacher is a free web-based tool to help teachers build their skills as a teacher.
Apple Teacher Learning Center is where you can get learn to get the most out of Apple's technologies as well as providing new ideas to bring creative ideas to the classroom. Apple Teacher is available at https://appleteacher.apple.com/
One of Apple's core beliefs is that having everyone learn to code is an important part of today's education. This is not only to provide a path for future developers, but also because it can teach other skills like critical thinking and problem solving. This is a great idea for those interested in coding.
Everyone can code has guides for teachers, including rubrics, keynote presentations and more. Everyone can code is not new, but it is a resource that is available on apple.com. Apple is also working with ConnectEd and 40 STEM organizations, including App Camp for Girls.
Apple has ideas that go beyond coding. Apple is building a new curriculum to augment the coding, this one is based around any subject. This is focused on four skills areas. These areas are: music, video, photography, and drawing. There will be student guide as well as teacher guides available. It is available for <a href="https://www.apple.com/education/everyone-can-create/'>preview now. With more coming in the summer to be prepared for the fall semester.
While many of these resources are not new, they are resources that many, including myself, may not have known about. It is imperative to allow teachers help students learn and develop new skills that will benefit them beyond the classroom.
Every Apple ID gets 5GB of storage for free, this includes education accounts. This 5GB limit is quite restrictive for everyone, but is particularly hard on schools particularly if students want to be able to store a video. Apple has increased the storage limit on all accounts that managed through the Apple School Manager software. Instead of only having 5GB of storage, each account gets 200GB of storage.
Besides the new tools that Apple has provided for educators they have released the sixth generation 9.7-inch iPad. The 9.7-inch iPad has some new internals, specifically the A10 processor, and Apple Pencil support. The support for Apple Pencil is the same as the iPad Pro.
The A10 Processor allows users to use Augmented reality applications, just like the other iOS devices. The price remains the same at $329 and is available to order now and arrives later this week.
Apple has updated their iWork suite to support the Apple Pencil.
There is an additional set of features for Pages. A new feature called "Smart Annotations". Instead of needing to manually print out and mark up a student's homework, a teacher can now add note for the student to adjust. These notes are not just standard annotations, but will remain with the text.
This is not just for the device versions of iWork, but these features also work on the iCloud.com version of the iWork applications as well.
Digital Book Creation
One of the strategies for Apple is the creation of digital books. Apple has built-in some new features to Pages that will help with the creation. These features include:
- Image Galleries
- The ability to have video with sound, and can even record directly on an iPad
- Drawing support built-in
Books created with Pages meet ePub standards for books. While some of these features are similar to Apple's iBooks Author application, it does not negate the interactivity and features of an iBooks Author.
Even though they are not the same, the ability to create ebooks directly on the iPad is a huge benefit, not just for writers, but also for educators and students to be able to create books that they want.
I think Apple's focus on education is an important one, not only because education is a huge part of the overall market, but because it is the foundation that will help students of all ages. This is valuable because they will be the ones who help move society forward, they are the ones who will be the next astronauts, teachers, and scientists. Without education, and in particular teachers, we would not be able to move forward.
Providing the resources for teachers is what Apple is all about when it comes to education. Whether it is using the Classroom app, the Schoolwork app, and even the iPad with Pencil support will all allow the next generation to keep everything going and moving the world forward.