iOS 7 and Education (initial news)
Yesterday (June 26th), Apple posted information about iOS 7 and education, going into far greater depth than at the WWDC keynote several weeks ago. You can see Apple's iOS 7 page here.
I won't pretend to understand all the device management issues with an iPad rollout (although I'll be learning soon), but here are a few of the features that are mentioned and how they can impact education:
- App distribution: it appears that apps can be assigned to students–even individual student accounts–and be withdrawn later. In other words, an app purchased by the school district under the volume purchase plan can be reclaimed by the institution to give to another student. This is wonderful for schools, as they will only need to buy one set of copies of an app for an on-going iPad project. In the past, the VPP allowed schools a discount of 50% on apps (provided that the developer allowed it), and that was a good deal in and of itself. Now a school will only need to purchase one set of the iWork suite for their iPad project. It is unclear if previous VPP apps will have the same features.
- iBooks and Mac Apps are also a part of the volume purchase plan.
- Teachers will be able to use device management features to lock students into an app. This will do wonders for class management issues, but it is unclear how the teacher would control this, particularly in a secondary school where students change classes from hour to hour.
- AirDrop will allow the transfer of files from one iPad to another. This will simplify the distribution of materials in classes…but could lead to great challenges during testing (which is where #3 above will come into play).
- There will be a way for students under age 13 to have a verified Apple ID.
- AppleTV will allow teachers to use devlice management to invite students to project their iPads on the AppleTV (Currently, the last device to connect projects, provided there is no password or the student knows the password.
With the exception of Flash (if your website is still Flash-only in 2013, there is something wrong with your vision and desire to reach an audience), these features seem to address most of the major issues that educational experts have broght against the iPad (with, perhaps the exception of multi-user sign-ins, which is unlikely to occur). What still needs to be seen is how these features function in person, and how easy they are to execute (if reclaiming an app is a ton of work, who would do it?).