Introduction to Apple Classroom
Apple Classroom is different from Google Classroom. The former is an app that helps you manage student devices; the latter is an LMS (that is to say a Learning Management System). If you are not familiar with Google Classroom, I suggest you read the introduction guides.
To give you an example, with Google Classroom, you are going to assign an activity or send a document to your students. While this is possible with Apple Classroom, you’ll want to use it to monitor a student’s iPad: is the student working? Is he or she playing a game or doing something else?
Let’s get started
You don’t need to create a class. The IT department already did it. So all you have to do is to select your class. You’ll find all your students.
⚠️ In order to work properly, it is required that Bluetooth’s is on.
While we are at it, I always ask my students that their iPad is on silent mode, that Do not disturb is on and of course that the Bluetooth is on. Thanks to Shortcuts all of this can be automated. More on that later.
So you have your classes. Select one of them and you’ll see that you have seven options.
When selected, you can open an app (say Books) on all the iPads of your class at the same time.
You have one option:
Lock in app after opening, which means students can’t do anything else. This aims to help them keep focused.
⚠️ Be careful! Students know a way around this restriction. All they have to do is to restart their iPad. So go check once in a while.
You can launch a specific webpage. So there is no need to share a URL or display a QR Code. However, to do that, you need to bookmark the page on your own browser.
As above, you can
Lock in app after opening.
Hide button simply does what it says. It hides the app or the website you launched.
If you see that a student is not paying attention or is doing something else, you can lock the student’s iPad.
Don’t forget to select the locked student iPad and to unlock it when needed. Anyway, the student will remind you or will restart the device.
💡 When you want students to listen, ask them to put their iPad upside down.
You can mute an iPad. Of course, this is not necessary because the student would already have done it. 😃
This is probably my favourite feature of Apple Classroom. It feels a bit like being CCTV but it’s very convenient. In every class, you know that there are always students who need extra help to keep focused on what we are doing.
⚠️ As you watch, the status bar on the student’s iPad will turn blue so he or she knows you’re watching.
Classroom lets you create custom groups within your class. It’s pretty handy if you want to differentiate and give a specific task to a specific group of students.
Just tap the Group button, select a group of students, then name the group.
Even if you don’t see it when you open up Apple Classroom, you still have some interesting features.
Be notified if students exchange docs
The first I’d like to mention is that when a student send something to another student using AirDrop, you are notified and you can see which document has been unduly sent. I can assure you that it may be funny.
This is not a hidden feature properly speaking. It’s rather an invisible one because it relies on drag & drop. So here’s the thing: you can share files with your students (spreadsheets, presentations, videos, anything you want).
- Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to bring up the dock. Touch and hold the Files app to see recent documents. Then drag one of them to one or several students.
- Or, if you prefer, use split view and then drag and drop your doc from one app to another.
- Tell your students to accept the document you are sharing.
Using the Dock
Using Split View
Share student work
Thanks to a projector and an Apple TV, it can be very useful to display a student’s screen.
- Select your student.
- Select AiPlay to project a student’s screen.
- Select the appropriate Apple TV from the list.
The last feature is the report you end up with when the class is over. It’s a summary of everything that has been done during your student’s activities.