Tuesday, March 27th is a day that will hopefully long be remembered as the moment Apple said: we want to be the device of choice for schools across the world. Apple held its first education-oriented event since 2012 at the Lane Tech College Prep High School, in Chicago, to announce new capabilities and features for schools. Many news outlets were predicting an even cheaper iPad but in true Apple fashion they instead focused on reminding everyone the value that you get out of a $299 touchscreen device.
Handwriting facilitated by the Apple Pencil support to the budget iPad You could argue that for basic tasks such as note taking a Chromebook is more economical, maybe true. However, research shows that it’s better to handwrite your notes instead of type them. Further research also suggests that handwriting activates parts of the brain typing doesn’t and supports brain development.
Apple was very wise to bring Apple Pencil support to the “budget” iPad because now students are able to choose how they consume their knowledge, present their information, and display their creativity. No longer will they be confined to a keyboard but with Apple Pencil they will have the freedom to do as they please across all of the Apple productivity apps and beyond.
An update coming to Pages on iPad that will allow the creation of an iBook like product and takes advantage of the under represented collaboration feature in iWork is going to be amazing. There is so much rich content that can be produced from an iPad so being able to put it together in book form and share out will be incredible.
Imagine a high school creative writing classroom producing an original fairy tale and then sending the digital book to the local elementary school for the students to enjoy.
For schools that are taking advantage of Apple School Manager (ASM) and Managed Apple ID, a happy dance done March 27th. 200GB of cloud storage for free is a tremendous value given that the power of iPad centers around creativity and content creation.
Schools not using ASM will certainly want to start looking at Managed Apple ID, now is a great time to think about a strategy to move students over in August. NOTE: they will not have the ability to download any apps on their own from that point forward.
Flexibility is a teacher’s best friend so the option of being able to mirror their iPad and manage their classroom 1:1 using their Mac is really great. Often times I had to pause my projector to then check my Classroom app and continue so this will save me a little time and give me the option to manage the class from either device.
Now since they are not bringing the Classroom app features to manage Macs I did want to point out that using mobile device management (MDM) solutions like Mosyle Manager can give you control of your class set of Macs including: shared Macs, viewing screens, taking screenshots, and viewing a timeline of applications used in one session.
June will be an important month for tech directors and teachers alike, the Schoolwork App is set to make its debut and this represents a new age in digital workflows. The ability to assign PDFs, applications, and if developers use ClassKit API within their apps being able to link specific parts of an app to an assignments are going to certainly speed up the workflow in the class, especially with younger learners and novice users.
Apple has done a tremendous push to get curriculum out there like the “Everyone Can Code” initiative and now they are going for a broader audience with “Everyone Can Create”. This is fantastic because now even the least tech savvy teacher or student can take advantage of the rich curriculum and not feel intimidating by the idea of computer programming. Also, teachers continue to receive a great resource with the Apple Teacher program, almost one million badges have been awarded, feel free to check it out here if you aren’t already an Apple Teacher.
Any of us who have taught with iPad and understand that you need to redesign your lessons to unlock the full potential of a portable, multi-touch device know that all of these updates go above and beyond the value making them a big win for teachers and an even bigger win for students.
About the Author: Federico “Fredy” Padovan is Chief Inspiration Officer at Mosyle MDM. Fredy is the former Dean of Innovation and Technology at Immaculata-La Salle High School and began their 1:1 iPad program iLearn@ILS which is recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program since 2012. He has worked with schools and districts around the world to help develop their technology and learning environment initiatives. Fredy is a member of the ADE Class of 2013 and recipient of the National Catholic Education Association Education Excellence Award and is a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
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