The coronavirus pandemic has radically reshaped the education landscape. While remote learning has salvaged at least part of the school year, it isn’t a perfect solution. Technical difficulties for both teachers and students make it difficult (and in some cases impossible) to carry out typical instruction.
Fortunately, some of the world’s brightest tech leaders are working on ways to address this problem. Apple is one of those companies. It is working to roll out the second generation of its Schoolwork app to aid educators in the coming months.
New Look for Education
The updates to Apple’s Schoolwork app couldn’t come at a better time. Education is currently battling with a host of unknowns and the unique software is basically designed for remote learning.
Apple originally rolled out the app two years ago to help teachers manage assignments and student information via the cloud. Educators are able to monitor student progress and share class materials from anywhere. Now that distance learning is the new normal, Schoolwork may be more helpful than ever.
As of now, no one knows when schools will reopen. Until the coronavirus pandemic is firmly under control, traditional classrooms won’t be operating. Even if schools do partially reopen using social distancing guidelines, remote learning will still be an integral part of education.
Apple’s new Schoolwork app aims to streamline virtual instruction and give both teachers and students one innovative location to work in. Schoolwork 2.0 will be available for both iPad and Mac. A new Handout library will make it easier for teachers to navigate between different classes and content folders. The app will also include a section with reminder cards for things like assignments and field trips.
Educators can now see quick statistics on things like what percentage of students have completed an assignment, how long it took, and which students may be falling behind.
Finally, Apple is adding some key communication features to Schoolwork 2.0. In the new update, teachers will be able to send messages and calls to a student with FaceTime. This will help decrease reliance on software like Zoom and Google Meet.
Learning from the Past
Apple is no stranger to the world of education. Its Macs have been used in schools for decades and it has a long-standing tradition of giving teachers and students a discount on its hardware.
The use of Apple products in class doesn’t just happen in K-12 schools, though. Some colleges—especially in the United States—have bought iPads for their students and adjusted their curriculum to use Apple’s solutions.
Recently, Google has made waves in the education space thanks to its inexpensive Chromebooks and cloud-based Drive infrastructure. Those things make it an attractive competitor for schools looking to save money on their education-related technology.
It appears that Apple is taking a lesson from the past and is looking to get back on top with its new Schoolwork update. Indeed, in the months to come the ed-tech space will once again be up for grabs. It will be interesting to see if Apple can entice teachers and students with its redesigned software.
Schoolwork 2.0 is currently available in beta and will soon be added to the App Store.