As iOS 9.3 rolls out, one question remains in my mind: How will these updates change the way iPads are used in the classroom? While many previous updates have been geared towards benefiting the everyday user, iOS 9.3 is instead aimed to ameliorate usability in education. Although such updates are usually shipped around September or October of every year, the article iOS 9.3 and Education explains why this release is coming out now. Because many of the improvements are meant to help education applications, Apple decided to release it so that teachers and administrators would have time to learn the new features and master them before the start of the next school year. Many of these updates may in part be due to competition with Google Chromebooks for a spot in the education system, as explained in Apple is Uprading iOS for Education in a Major Way.
Sharing iPads Has Never Been Easier!
One of the most groundbreaking updates is the Shared iPad feature; this will allow students to simply sign into an iPad, and their apps and setting will automatically be downloaded. As explained in the article New Education Features in iOS 9.3 Include Shared iPads, New Classroom App and Improved Apple ID Management, some schools do not have the capability or the funding to go completely 1:1, but would still like to incorporate the benefits of iPads in education into their curriculum. If their iPads are assigned for a particular class, students may log in using photo-ID or a PIN system, making it easier for younger students to identify their iPad and log in. Although it does take time to load the content the first time a student logs in, a comprehensive caching system saves the information, and makes it easier to log in the next time
Apple Classroom in Your Classroom:
The updates that iOS 9.3 will bring to Apple’s brand new Classroom App and Apple School Manager will make a dramatic impact on the way that iPads are used throughout school. Apple Classroom will allow teachers to control all of the iPads in their classroom. When students are on the app, teachers have the ability to airplay their work, bring them to different websites or application, and allow them to interactively follow along with the lesson plan. If a particular class or student has difficulty paying attention, the teacher can even lock the iPad to prevent the student or students from leaving the app. School Manager allows administrators to have similar control over all of the iPads in the school. As explained in the article iOS 9.3 FAQ: Everything you need to know!, Manager also allows apps, books, and other educational tools to be distributed more easily.