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On Tuesday, Apple held a special education event where the company announced new iPads, updates to iWork, GarageBand, and Clips, and much more.
At the beginning of the event Apple CEO, Tim Cook, spoke about how education is important to Apple because of their love for kids and teachers. “We know that our products can help bring out the creative genius in every kid,” says Cook. According to Cook education has been a part of Apple for 40 years.
In 1978, Cook explains, Apple brought computing to everyone—including students and educators. Cook touted Wheels for the Mind—a 1980s Apple program—as the “first program for university educators to share ideas and best practices.” Additionally, Cook touched on Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow: A decade-long study that began in 1985 to study the outcome of computer-driven classrooms.
Furthermore, Cook assured the audience that Apple’s dedication to education lives on across the organization. Cook says they’ve created a new learning program based on Swift Playgrounds called Anyone Can Code. It’s fun to use and helps anyone learn to code; at school or at home. Cook also spoke about partnerships with over 40 organizations to help bring coding and modern education to the masses.
Mr. Cook invited up Kathleen Richardson—who works on the Apple and ConnectED program—to discuss her experience with Apple’s products and services in the classroom. Richardson relayed a story illustrating how educators can empower and engage with students through technology.
Greg Joswiak was up next with great news for the entry-level 9.7” iPad. He explained all the reasons kids love iPad and asserted that learning today happens everywhere—not just in the classroom. Joswiak also told the audience that there are over a million apps that are made for iPad and that 200,000 of them are education apps.
Before getting to the new products, Mr. Joswiak welcomed Cassey Williams to the stage. Miss Williams is from the Woodberry Down Primary School in London and is an Apple Distinguished Educator according to her Twitter account. Williams specifically talked about learning about agriculture and geography with iPad. She also talked about the difference iPad makes in academic performance.
Joswiak then showed a new ad for iPad, where an iPad is drawn using Apple Pencil and the new iPad. The new 9.7” iPad is similar to the previous model, but now it has support for Apple Pencil. Additionally it has an A10 Fusion chip, 8 mega-pixel camera, and comes in a new gold finish.
Pricing and Availability
iPad is available to order now and will start shipping this week. iPad is available starting at $329; $299 for schools. iPad is available with 32GB or 128GB of storage and comes in gold, silver, or space gray.
Apple also announced updates to iWork. Now Pages and Keynote support Apple Pencil so you can draw on your documents and annotate images and text. You can choose from a handful of writing and drawing tools, including a pen, a pencil, and a crayon. You can also choose the color and size of your selected tool.
Apple also gave us a sneak peek at its upcoming Smart Annotations which will allow teachers to annotate documents. Unlike normal annotations, Smart Annotations are anchored to the word that was annotated. So even when changes are made, the annotation stays in the correct place.
For awhile now, authors could create ebooks and publish them to iBooks using iBooks Author on Mac. Now Pages has templates for digital books and can also export to EPUB for iBooks publishing. This will allow users to create books from their iOS devices as well.
Apple has been making a big push in augmented reality (AR) lately, and their education event was no exception. Joswiak showed off three education-based AR experiences that take advantage of the iPad’s cameras, the A10 Fusion chip, and ARKit capabilities.
The first is Boulevard AR which allows students to view priceless works of art closeup. You can use the iPad to view details such as individual brushstrokes, giving kids the opportunity to see artwork just as it is in the museum from the comfort of their home or classroom.
The next app, by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is called Free Rivers. Free Rivers allows users to view an interactive landscape on a flat surface. They can make changes to the landscape to see what impact changes make on the environment. They even showed off virtual waterfalls at the edge of the table.
Lastly, Froggipedia by Designmate, lets students place a virtual frog on their desk. Using Apple Pencil students can virtually direct a frog, or using the camera they can get a better understanding of the frog is 3D augmented reality.
Updates to iWork are available now.
With Shared iPad, students can now pickup any school iPad, tap their name, and instantly have access to their data and files. Apple School Manager lets system administrators create and manage Apple IDs for students. Administrators will now be able to bulk create accounts (up to 1,500 at a time) in less than one minute. Additionally, it integrates with existing student management software to create and delete accounts as student join or leave the school.
200GB of Free iCloud Storage
Apple also announced that managed Apple IDs will now have access to 200GB of free iCloud storage. Giving students even more storage space for all of their content.
Joswiak took a minute to introduce us to a new keyboard case from Logitech and a low-cost drawing tool called Crayon. Crayon is similar to Apple Pencil, however, it doesn’t have pressure support. Additionally, Crayon will not work with iPad Pro. It has propriety wireless connectivity to make it easier for students in a classroom to quickly connect a Crayon to an iPad.
Susan Prescott was invited to the stage to talk about what Apple has in store for teachers. Prescott calls teachers the “heart of the classroom” and highlights their importance to children’s education.
Classroom and Schoolwork
The Classroom app on iPad lets teachers assign work to students and see what their students are doing on iPad in realtime. They can even check on individual students and give guidance when necessary. Previously Classroom was only available on iPad. Starting in June, teachers will be able to use a beta version of Classroom for the Mac.
In addition to Classroom for macOS. Prescott announced a new cloud-based app called Schoolwork. Schoolwork lets teachers easily manage classes, handouts, and assignments. Schoolwork will also let teachers tell students about apps and assign activities within apps. Students can tap a link to be brought right to that activity within supported apps.
Privacy and Insights
While Schoolwork also lets educators get insights into students’ work and progress. The data stays private. Although teachers can see students’ information, Apple and others cannot.
Apple also talked about coding concepts for kids (Everyone Can Code), Apple Teacher, teacher guides, and more. Kasia Derza—an elementary school teacher from Chicago—talked about her experiences helping kids learn how to code.
The education event came to a close with a video of kids thanking educators for helping them to learn everything they need to know in life. Tim Cook took the stage once more to express his excitement for all the ways Apple is making the learning experience better than ever before. As always, Apple highlighted the importance of the intersection of technology and the liberal arts. Finally, Apple closed with a fantastic short film showcasing how kids can have fun doing homework with iPad.