Apple wants to help parents, teachers get over distance learning hurdles

Apple wants to help parents, teachers get over distance learning hurdles

Apple Event demo room Tim Cook

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, tested one of the demos at the company’s training event in Chicago two years ago.

James Martin / CNET

Education during a pandemic does not look like we are used to. But this chaos has opened the door for technology companies Development of distance learning tools, including Apple.

The iPhone giant has started a remote learning resources site, created a new educational video series and introduced coaching sessions to give educators (and parents) tips on teaching. In addition, iCloud collaboration features have been improved to allow users to share entire folders, and features have been added to iWork software such as: B. the ability to edit offline.

And soon Apple plans to update some of its educational tools, including the second generation School work app. This software, launched two years ago, enables teachers to manage tasks and information (called handouts by Apple) through the cloud. You can review student progress and exchange teaching materials without actually being near their students.

These updates come at a complicated time for training. Schools across the country are closed to curb the spread of the novel corona virus, and it is unclear when they will reopen – or what they will look like when they do. Teachers develop distance learning plans, children choose zoom classes, and parents monitor coursework between work meetings. However, this new dynamic has impacted working parents, teachers who are not used to distance learning, and families who do not have reliable Internet what some call a possible educational breakdown.

In response, Apple plans to update software used in schools, such as: Classroom app, for times when students can actually go back to school. With this technology, teachers can start or monitor the same app on every student iPad at the same time, and what students are doing on their devices.


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Apple designed Schoolwork 2.0 to include features that are included in other features iPad OS Apps like files and to speed up navigation in the software. There is a new handout library with a list of sources on the left that makes it easy to navigate to different classes or to the student library with drafts and favorites. On the right are cards with memories of an excursion or a math problem.

The company has also redesigned the handout detail view for homework so a teacher can quickly see what percentage of the student has completed a task, how long it took, and whether someone was an outlier. This allows teachers to quickly identify students who may have fallen behind or who find it difficult to work.

Now that students are all working remotely, Apple Schoolwork has added an important new feature – the ability for a teacher to immediately send a message or call a student using FaceTime. In this way, an educator can quickly contact a student who may need additional help. (However, these icons are not shown on the app’s student’s page. Communication is one-way, so teachers don’t get bombarded by calls or messages.)

Apple’s history lesson

Apple has a long history in the education market. Macintosh computers have been used in schools for decades, and Apple is still giving students and teachers discounts on its products. It started in 2007 iTunes U. Providing free content such as lectures, language courses, and lab demonstrations from U.S. colleges such as Stanford University and MIT. Schools quickly bought iPads and adapted their curriculum to use more Apple products.

The company almost owned the education market, but things were falling apart. Schools found that iPads didn’t do exactly what they needed, and it was expensive to distribute to all students. With its affordable Chromebooks and Internet-based technology, Google soon became the preferred provider for schools around the world.

Apple didn’t give up. The company presented an ambitious plan two years ago to revise its educational offerings. Apple stopped a flashy and funky event at a Chicago high school where it introduced an $ 329 iPad and a set of tools to make it easier for teachers to use Apple technology in their classrooms.

“At Apple, we value education because we love children and teachers,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at the March 2018 event. “We know that our products can help bring out every child’s creative genius bring. “

While it’s probably too early to tell if Apple has made great strides in education, its cheaper devices have proven popular with users. And it continues to update its software to respond to educators’ requests.

With the Classroom app updated this year, classes created using Apple School Manager are automatically synced with a teacher’s Apple ID, so these courses are available as soon as the teacher signs up. The app also offers improvements such as the ability to zoom and share class information with AirPlay on an Apple TV.

And Apple has made some changes to iPads that are shared in a classroom. In the past, students had to log in to an iPad using their Apple ID to see all of their personal coursework and information. However, this was often not necessary for young students who had to take a quick lesson.

Now students can set up temporary work sessions. You don’t have to have Apple accounts and can go to class much faster. When you sign out, all data will be removed from the iPad.

Apple will shortly be introducing updates to schoolwork and classrooms on the App Store.

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