This week Apple held their developer’s conference and made a number of exciting announcements about iOS 8. We at the Book Creator team have picked out some of the key updates coming with iOS 8 – the ones that will change the way iPads are used in the classroom.
Apple announced major updates to their operating systems, which will launch in the Fall. iOS 8 will be released for iPads and iPhones, and OS X Yosemite is the latest update to the Mac operating system. These updates bring with them many exciting features which are good news for teachers, students, and classrooms.
We often recommend Dropbox or Google Drive for saving and backing up documents to multiple devices (Edudemic, March 2014: 10 Ways To Start Taking Advantage Of Cloud Storage). With the introduction of iCloud Drive, this is a platform to rival all the other cloud services. Safely store any document (including ePub files) in iCloud and access it on any Apple device – and even a PC.
iCloud Drive will make sharing files across apps easier too, which increases the opportunity for AppSmashing.
With 5GB of free storage, Apple are competitively placed, and they’ve lowered their prices for extra storage too.
Apple has clearly been thinking hard about building an eco-system that works, particularly for schools who will have multiple pieces of hardware.
Not only do we now have iCloud Drive, but Apple has also improved AirDrop to quickly send files from iPad to Macbook, and vice versa. What’s more, OSX Yosemite will allow you to screencast your iPad or iPhone straight to a Mac, which will be great for showcasing students’ work, and is an improvement on the screencasting method we suggested on Edudemic last year.
iBooks allows you to read digital books on your iPad or iPhone, and there are many interactive ebooks out there that can improve student learning. In the classroom, teachers will have control over what books appear on each iPad with improved mobile device management (MDM) tools.
If you’re new to the world of ebooks - have a look at some examples of the many books made in classrooms by students on this Pinterest board.
Quick type is a predictive text update that is incredibly smart, and works in 14 different languages. Although clearly aimed at people who send lots of messages on their iPhone, it has a wider application in EdTech, and may be particularly useful to students in the special education classroom.
Perhaps even more exciting, Apple have finally opened up their keyboard to developers, which could have huge potential for the classroom – how long until we see education-specific custom keyboards to help with special education, or maybe even maths notation?
Swift is a brand new programming language for creating iOS apps, and Apple insists it’s easier and more expressive than other programming languages.
Expect to see apps appearing soon that teach kids to code using Swift. Before long students will be publishing apps on the iTunes Store like they already publish ebooks on the iBooks Store!
Last (but not least!), it’s always a bit nerve-wracking when Apple make major software announcements. It can be hard for schools to keep apace with the upgrades to hardware required to run new software.
This time, Apple have made sure iOS 8 will run on the original iPad Mini and most importantly the iPad 2 (even though they no longer sell these anymore). Good news for schools.
So, that’s my round-up. Have I missed anything? Where do you see the benefits for schools? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.