One App to rule them all

Make tech integration easier, with Apple Classroom.

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Image: Apple support

My good friend Ciaran and I have done a couple of presentations recently on the power of Apple Classroom. A free, utility App from Apple that can really make the use of Apple technologies in the classroom a LOT less stressful.

Classroom disruption is a common theme for why teachers are reluctant to use devices. Effective use of technology allows us to revolutionise how we teach and the expectations we have of our kids. As well as the expectations they have of us. Providing the children with opportunities to present their understanding in different means can be made that much easier through the use of Apple Classroom, and here’s how and more importantly, why.

Start with the ‘Why’?

One thing we know is that technology isn’t going anywhere and if we are to remain in education with young children, we need to be able to cater for their ever changing needs. When the children leave primary school this year, they won’t begin their working life for another 10 years approximately. Now to put that into context, ten years ago (2008) Apple had just released their first ever iPhone and the iPad was still a blueprint. Considering how incredibly quick technology has evolved in the past 10 years, in another 10 years, we are going to be dealing with a completely different beast. As I say to my kids, by the time they tell their children that they used iPads in class, their kids will laugh at them for using such an ancient device. It’s a bit crazy to think back 10 years and to see now how smart phones have played such a huge part in our lives as we know today.

It is with this in mind, that reiterates the importance of educating children on digital literacy and the ability to use technology as an education tool, is as important as teaching them how to write. For the teachers that find these challenges daunting, use technology with young children or fear the behavioural issues that may arise in class, have the assistance of Apple Classroom to help.

‘How?’ – Getting started

Home screen

Your home screen on Apple Classroom allows you to add children to your class and put them into groups. As you can see, you can have multiple classes set up, perfect for specialists or secondary teachers too. The children sign up to a class with a unique code that you give them. It’s really as simple as that.

Orientation

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Once you have your children signed up to your class, you can see them all on your dashboard. If you look at the little App icon by their picture, you can see what application each child is on in real time. There is also a screen view that you can use to view each of the children’s screens as they are working on their device. Need their attention? No problem, just press the ‘Lock’ button in your toolbar, and all of the children’s devices will lock and you have their attention. Fantastic for younger children.

What’s really valuable for teachers working with younger children is the navigation button. This allows you to direct the child to a particular site or app that you want them to work with. What’s more, you can lock the child on the site or app so that they will remain on the task on hand.

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Distribution of tasks and projects can be easily done with airdrop to all of your class members and to fine tune this further, you can place your children into groups within a class. This allows for easy differentiation of activities without the children even being aware of what other children are up to. This is one of my favourite features.

To conclude…

To be honest, I’m not a massive user of Apple Classroom as I’m fortunate to have a class of children that have had iPads in their hands for the past 18 months. They are incredibly efficient in completing tasks and are digital leaders for many others. However, I believe Apple Classroom is an incredibly powerful tool. Whether you’re a teacher less confident in integrating technology, your children are beginning their digital learning journey or you simply want to have a tighter grip of technology use in your class, Apple Classroom ticks all of these boxes and more. It really is simple to use and can be started right away. With the recent announcements of the Schoolwork¬†app coming very soon, should enhance user experience even further.

On the 23rd April 2018, myself and Ciaran will be presenting and demonstrating Apple Classroom at BETT MEA in Abu Dhabi. It’s something we know teachers love as the feed back has been just great. It’s thankfully, encouraging teachers to make more of an effort with technology in class with an added air of confidence.

If you would like some more information or help on the matter, or anything else tech for that matter, please do get in touch. Here are some links that might help:

Apple Classroom User Guide

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