• Gwen Hedden

What Educators should take away from Apple's 2018 WWDC

Here are 5 ways that Apple's new developments can transform your classroom!

Today Apple hosted developers from around the world to showcase their new releases relevant to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS.  While the entire presentation was mostly geared to developers, there were some amazing features that have a great deal of implications for all consumers.  Here, I will showcase the top 5 improvements that have amazing implications for educators:

  1. "Everyone can Code": Swift coding-- Apple's proprietary programming language-- has quickly become the fastest growing language, with over 350,000 apps already available for download on the App Store.  Apple offers "Everyone can Code" through their Apple Teacher Learning Center and iTunes U Store.  This new comprehensive curriculum helps to support teachers quickly learn the language using Swift Playgrounds, so that they can integrate coding into their lessons, and foster this pivotal skill with their students.  Studies show that students who are given the opportunity to code develop skills in critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving.  The WWDC showcased several young developers who were able to use Swift to develop apps and programs to solve real-world problems that they had been confronted with in their daily lives.

  2. Free Software Updates: Craig Federighi was proud to remind the audience that Apple set the bar for many of their competitors regarding updates.  Apple has always offered free software updates for their products so that their users didn't have to constantly replace their devices.  With the release of iOS 12, all devices dated back to 2013 will enjoy all of the amazing new features, including: Siri updates, AR, increased performance, increased app load speed, campaigns for tech-disconnect, and other improvements to native applications.  What does this mean for schools?  Well for schools on a budget, Apple continues it's commitment to reward their customers for a "dollar well spent".  A new fleet of iPads is not required to enjoy these software improvements, which is why, Federighi smiled, their customer satisfaction rate is as high as 95%!

  3.  Augmented Reality (AR): Craig Federighi excitedly showcased many amazing new features that will be native to all iOS devices relevant to their new focus on Augmented Realty (AR).  As he was presenting to developers, he was primarily focusing on how the new iOS will support users in developing applications and resources using their native applications.  PIXAR, Adobe, and Lego have all jumped on board with this new initiative.  Math and Art teachers especially should look for the new "measure" application, which allows users to take measurements of 3D objects with their camera so that they can determine depth, length, and volume of found objects and render them in applications, or analyze them with their iOS device.

  4. Tech-Disconnect: A topic that has raised a great deal of debate and interest lately was reflected in one of the main campaigns presented by Apple: Tech Disconnect.  Specifically, Apple is releasing three applications to support more balance in our lives!  With DND, Instant Tuning for Notifications, and Screen Time, Apple is showing that they are working to confront our addiction to technology.  DND is a feature to support a good-nights sleep and continued focus, by muting all notifications until the user chooses to view them.  Instant Tuning for Notifications allows users to customize what types of notifications they would like to see -- there is even now a stack feature, so that you are not overwhelmed with too many notifications at once!  Last, but certainly not least, is screen time -- a management application to support Technology Disconnect by setting limits and controls on the frequency and quality of device use.  This is especially important for parents and teachers, who can monitor and manage children's use of devices.  Using these applications we can better balance technology and reality.

  5. Activity App: The new watchOS supports healthy competition and activity.  For those teachers who want to encourage healthy lives and active students, the new activity app allows users to set collective goals and work towards them each week with their friends, classmates, and family members!

To check out the whole Keynote, click here!


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