As schools wrap up their school year and prepare for a summer of new deployments, network upgrades, and backup plans for distance learning, Apple has begun to release updates to their K-12-focused iPad app. The Classroom app and Schoolwork app have now been updated with some new features and workflows to assist teachers and technical directors.

In version 3.2 of the Classroom app, the following features were added:

  • Automatically access classes set up through Apple School Manager by signing into your device with a Managed Apple ID
  • Use AirPlay to project class details to Apple TV when inviting students to join a teacher-created class
  • Easily adjust the size of students’ screens by pinching to zoom in or out

In version 2.0 of the Schoolwork app, Apple has added a number of nice features along with a new design.

New design

  • Easily switch between Handouts and Students views with new tab-based navigation
  • New sidebar gives you instant access to current classes, recents, favorites, drafts, and archived Handouts with just a tap
  • Streamlined options for adding content like app activities, photos, videos, links, and documents during Handout creation
  • See which apps have enabled student progress, and view rich activity previews when adding app activities to your Handouts

Apple Schoolwork app iPad

New features

  • New Handout options including locking Handouts, marking as “viewed,” requesting revisions, returning files
  • Insights into overall class and individual student progress including completion rates, time spent, incomplete, and reassigned activities
  • Notifications to teachers when Handouts are due or ready to be reviewed
  • Notifications to students when new Handouts are assigned, Handouts due tomorrow, weekly summary of past due Handouts, or when a teacher has requested to try again
  • Teacher library that organizes drafts, favorites, and copies of Handouts from archived classes
  • New Handout archive stores Handouts from classes after they end, making it easy to reuse activities
  • In-app and Spotlight search for classes, Handouts, and students

9to5Mac’s take on classroom and schoolwork app updates

I am glad Apple is updating these apps now over early August. By updating them now, schools can test them over the summer and I expect to see a few more bug fix versions throughout the summer. I am still concerned that Apple’s approach to classroom management is flawed when compared to something like Google Classroom. Google Classroom is an end-to-end solution that has setup existing sync systems with school information systems to pass grades back into the school’s database. As I mentioned this weekend, FaceTime missed having its Zoom moment during COVID-19. I’d like to see Apple build upon what they had with iTunes U, add it group FaceTime inside the app, and build an end-to-end school solution similar to Google Classroom.

In looking at the goals of these apps, these updates are much appreciated and add some much-needed features.

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About the Author

Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.

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