Modernizing, personalizing—and a closer look at technology helping to make it happen.
GUEST COLUMN | by Sam Weiss and Dave Saltmarsh
As schools look to modernize teaching and personalize learning, it isn’t a matter of if technology is right for the classroom, but which technology is right for the classroom. While schools want to focus on learning and not the technology, the right technology can create the conditions for success. Students often prefer Apple for its ease of use and quality. And educators enjoy the more than 1.5 million apps available in the App Store that allow them to promote creativity, facilitate interaction and ultimately deliver a differentiated learning experience for their students.
All technology has its pros and cons, but it is important to have the facts. So let’s set the record straight on a few common myths.
So with all the benefits of Apple, why are some school administrators and IT staff hesitant to bring Apple devices into the classroom? All technology has its pros and cons, but it is important to have the facts. So let’s set the record straight on a few common myths.
Myth 1: Apple devices are difficult to manage
Apple mobile devices aren’t difficult to manage. When paired with a mobile device management (MDM) solution and Apple School Manager, users have access to zero-touch deployment and a streamlined configuration and implementation.
And with Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP), bulk app purchases and distribution through a customizable app catalog ensure teachers and students have what they need, when and where they need it.
Additional inventory capabilities also allow users to maintain accurate information about the device, installed apps and configuration details. And custom reports, alerts and manage app licenses provide consistent information, including which devices are ready for an upgrade.
Vicki Lyons, the director of technology at the School District of La Crosse said Apple devices are essential for the success of her district’s educators and students. “I believe in the functionality, durability and reliability of Apple. I wouldn’t use anything else.”
Myth 2: Apple devices are too expensive
Whether or not schools want Apple products in their classrooms, they often believe limited budgets make alternative solutions the logical choice. But the upfront cost is where that perceived value ends. Apple mobile devices have a longer lifespan, offer more functionality and provide a superior app ecosystem to the competition. So whether it’s through a 1-to-1 or shared program, users get a better overall experience and schools benefit from a greater value with Apple.
Myth 3: Apple IDs are a hassle
Don’t fear the Apple ID. Released with iOS 9.3, Managed Apple IDs provide schools with a simple way to create and manage the Apple IDs for all students and faculty—at scale. This makes a Managed Apple ID just as easy to administer as a school email address. Now, with Apple School Manager and the right mobile device management solution, schools can integrate their Student Information System to automate Managed Apple ID creation.
Myth 4: You can’t use Apple devices for testing
Mobile devices allow teachers to conduct both summative and formative assessments securely without assistance from IT. Using a combination of Apple mobile device management capabilities and apps, they can lock individuals, subsets of students or all students at once into a testing app. Students can be guided to content for smooth transitions and save valuable time for learning.
“By being able to pretest, we don’t waste time in the classroom,” said Trina Siegfried from Crane School District in Yuma, Arizona. “Instead of teaching an entire lesson before testing, a quick five-minute formative assessment informs educators if students are grasping the current concept. Then using that information, they can modify lessons to more appropriately meet the students’ needs.”
Upon completing an exam or assessment, the teacher uses their classroom management software to give students access to the full functionality of their devices and continue with the lesson – all without unnecessary disruption.
Apple mobile devices: the right choice for schools
Apple devices enhance the classroom experience for educators and students worldwide every day. Moving beyond the deployment aspects to the day-to-day agile learning experience is the true value Apple and MDM provide. In the same vain as SAMR, schools want to move above the line of basic implementation to a transformational experience.
Lyons can’t imagine her district without Apple in the classroom. She said, “You would never think of a classroom without a textbook. You would never think of a classroom without a teacher. There are just some staples that belong there. Today, and Apple device belongs there. Without them, we’d be doing a total disservice to our children.”
Sam Weiss is an Apple education evangelist and Dave Saltmarsh is a global educational evangelist and former classroom teacher at Jamf, an Apple management company.