I’ve spent the day reflecting on Apple’s education event, held this morning in Chicago. While there definitely are things to be excited about (the biggest company in the world holding an event about how they are trying to make my job/education as a whole better is a positive thing), I keep coming back to something I shared on my microblog this morning.
In order for me to be truly excited about what Apple announces today, they’re going to need a direction change in their education approach instead of just next steps on the current path.
I’m hoping since today is the first education event in 6 years, that’s what we see.
Today was a decent sized step down the same path. I wanted to see Apple take some risks and try new things. In the end, that’s not what we got, and that’s disappointing.
That being said, I am genuinely excited about a few things.
As a parent, my kids have one of my old iPad minis they use to watch movies and play games on when we travel. As they get older and need access to devices for homework and school, an iPad in this price range with Apple Pencil support looks amazing.
Also with the pencil, having iWork updated to work with the pencil and drawings is really nice. Microsoft announced support for this in Office back in 2015 when the original 12.9” iPad Pro and Apple Pencil were announced. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to add pencil support to iWork.
The addition of creating books in Pages looks promising as well. While it may not be an iBooks Author replacement, this looks like it could be a great way to share content with students and even a way to for them to create content.
Finally, the update to student iCloud accounts having 200GB of storage for free is fantastic. While we don’t currently use this at my school at all, it definitely helps schools who have large iPad deployments (especially using shared iPads).
Sadly, very little of this will be used in my classroom anytime soon. At a public school with a district going through major budget cuts, adding a fleet of iPads isn’t in the cards. That’s where the problem lies. I don’t blame Apple for the cost. I know Chromebooks often cost about the same. But state testing regulations still make those a more likely choice if we’re ever even given a choice.
So for the schools that can afford it, today was probably a good day. For many though, it was something we can only hope for.