So Apple recently had a huge Keynote in Chicago that shared some great updates to both software and hardware to support education.  The updates included a new iPad that supports the use of Apple Pencil as well as some major updates to Apples apps such as Keynote and GarageBand.  All of this is firmly aimed at supporting education and shows a huge commitment and understanding of what is needed in schools.

Beyond the app updates there was also the release of a new curriculum to again support teachers and students in the classroom.  Everyone Can Create now sits alongside Everyone Can Code as a great resource to provide everyone with ideas for uses and to provide the skills to be creative in learning.

Being lucky enough to attend the event in Chicago, here are some of my initial thoughts about the products.

New iPad

I personally switched to an iPad Pro to utilise the great Apple Pencil, making hand written sketches and notes whilst still being able to share and collaborate on documents is such a great way to stay productive.  Having the ability to be creative in a range of ways on a mobile device is great.  Now that the new iPad has support for Apple Pencil, even more learners can have access as the iPad is reasonably prices for the education markets.  Now learners can annotate their work and really develop a personalised and creative way to demonstrate understanding.  The real win though is the update to the iWork suite of apps.

Pencil support for Keynote, Numbers and Pages.

These apps have always been great tools, especially when you look beyond the obvious application of the tool, for example, Keynote is great for animation, not simply for creating presentations. Now that the Apple Pencil can be used within the app though, it transforms it even further. The ability to personalise presentations with your own handwriting or add drawings or annotations adds another layer to both the creativity and personalisation of learning in the classroom. It makes for a more engaged process of sharing knowledge. For example, in Numbers, learners can create a science investigation, create data to support findings and then annotate their thoughts and add drawings of their observations, all of this in addition to the already powerful use of video and images.

In Pages their is also some great new updates to support the uses. You can now opt for presenter view, this will turn the created text into a teleprompt that scrolls through your text automatically. You can also add annotations to a Pages document, nothing new here, until you add in additional text and you see that all of the annotations move with the text. I am saying this is just magic as I can not work out how this is possible.

Everyone Can Create

Something that will really support learners and teachers is the addition of a new curriculum focused on creativity ion the classroom. With the addition of great tools for teachers, some may feel they do not have the skill set to use the tools. This resource provides ideas and a full support package to guide people through how to use these tools to enhance learning in the classroom. I was fortunate enough to be in one of the classrooms that provided a hands on experience for this. Clips was shown as a tool to support the learning of maths, creating a Clips project that used photography and sound to look at the Fibonacci sequence, then created a poem using the Fibonacci sequence. GarageBand has also received some new Live Loops. Seen as just a music tool traditionally, there are amazing opportunities to now have learners create their own royalty free music that can support presentations and add depth to their work. The Toy Box sounds range from Space to Animal Noises.

Amazing updates and this only really scratches the surface of how they can be used in the classroom, looking forward to developing ideas around how it can enhance learning opportunities or provide brand new ones.