This past Monday Apple had their annual World Wide Developer Conference, also know as WWDC! I believe this was one of the most exciting keynotes in many, many years. Asan educator there is one piece I would like to focus on in this post and that is the new iPadOS. I am one of those early adopters that braves the bugs of the beta version and I upgrade all of my devices. I like to have time to learn about the changes so when it pushes out to public release I can pass along anything of usefulness in the classroom. So Monday evening I loaded up iOS 13 on my phone, iPadOS on my iPad Pro, and macOS Catalina on my MacBook. Overall it has been running really nicely, a few quirks here and there like normal but nothing that prevents me from doing what I need.
The introduction of iPadOS in my opinion was the largest announcement and will have the largest impact in the classroom. In the state of Maine we have what is called the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) which gives all schools the ability to bring in Apple devices for all junior high students and related staff. There is a lot more to it but that is the synopsis of the program. Some of our options is we can go with an iPad for students or we can choose a MacBook Air and our district chose to go with the MacBook Air. When the option was presented to us a few years ago I spent many hours researching the pros and cons of using and iPad and MacBook in the classroom. I love the multimedia and collaboration ability of the iPad but the MacBook for us won out. We are a G Suite school and Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides is horrendous and just about unusable on an iPad.
One of the biggest additions to iPadOS is a desktop browser experience on the iPad. In the few days I have been using the latest update G Suite through the browser has been working just like it does on my MacBook Pro. In my daily routine I just between my servers using web host manager (WHM), cPanel, WordPress Admin, and G Suite which all of them were very difficult to use in the past. The past few days I have made sure to use those sites as much as possible and found it just as easy to use on my iPad under the new iPadOS as it was on my MacBook. Using Safari on iPad now is such an enjoyable experience.
Apple added quite a few of improvements to the Apple Pencil but I don’t believe the pencil is a great idea in a classroom unless it is controlled. If students are one-to-one on iPads I wouldn’t hand them an Apple Pencil. Instead I would give each classroom enough pencils to hand out as needed and then collected after their usage otherwise students would be losing or destroying them constantly.
A few other big updates added was the ability to bring widgets on the side of your home screen, better and more multitasking abilities, mouse support, and a number of other features which would make this post way too long! As I started this post stating I believed the iPad was not a viable option in the classroom with older students I am now reversing my position. With the introduction of iPadOS I believe the iPad is a very versatile tool that can easily give students the ability to do traditional classroom work like research, writing papers, and taking notes in a much more efficient way then in iOS 12 and before. As I dig in more on iPadOS over the coming weeks I will do some follow up posts on my experience using it more as my daily driver. If you have any questions about any of the new updates Apple introduced please comment below and I’ll get back to you!