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Apple's classroom productivity apps receive major update

By Nick Forrester
Thu 28 May 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Apple has released extensive updates to two of its most popular productivity apps – Classwork and Classroom, offering new features and design overhauls as schools around the world continue their curriculum throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes as remote collaboration tools for working and learning see surges in demand. Apple’s two education apps prioritise simplicity and productivity, with the recent updates catering to the specialised needs of a remote class while also bringing versatility to physical classrooms, to which students are slowly returning.

Here are some of the key features of the updates:

Classwork

This iPad app enables optimum teacher/student collaboration by streamlining the assignment of work, making it easier for both parties to keep track of what needs doing.

Assignments appear automatically within the app when distributed, and can be organised by class and due date.

Apple’s new update features an all-new design, with a new sidebar function granting instant access to current classes, recents, favourites and more within the Handouts tab.

It also allows users to switch easily between the Handouts and Students view, and includes a streamlined menu for adding content like photos, videos and links during Handout creation.

Users can now lock Handouts if desired, and can also request revisions and mark them as ‘viewed’ within the Classwork app.

Enhanced visibility of student progression is integrated into Classwork, with completion rates, time spent, incomplete and re-assigned activities now introduced as viewable metrics within the apps.

Notifications have also become more intuitive: teachers are alerted when Handouts are due or ready to be delivered, and students are notified when they are assigned, due tomorrow, or when a weekly summary of Handouts is available.

A Spotlight search is also now integrated into the app, allowing users to find assignments or features with ease.

Apple has collaborated with ClassKit, a developer making it possible for teachers to select specific content within other educational apps, like Duolingo, and easily share this content with students on the Classwork app.
 

Classroom

This app acts as a teaching assistant, leveraging its features to help teachers manage lessons and keep students focused on the task at hand. The app also streamlines information sharing between teachers and students, integrating AirDrop into its infrastructure.

Users can now automatically access classes set up through Apple School Manager by signing into a device with a Managed Apple ID.

The update integrates AirPlay, which allows teachers to project class details to Apple TV when inviting students to join a teacher-created class.

When engaged in a video call with students, users can now adjust the size of participants’ screens by pinching to zoom in or out, and teachers can lock students into a single iPad app or mute audio on certain student devices.

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