With the introduction of Apple Classroom this summer, our iPad deployment at school became a lot smoother and manageable for teachers.
For a long time we have relied on Guided Access in the Accessibility settings to manage learning in focus groups. Triple tapping the home button on each iPad was commonplace in our early years setting, locking in apps for particular tasks during the day. Now with Classroom, the whole process of teaching and learning is more robots. From the teacher iPad we are able to open, lock and view the screens of every iPad in our classroom.
This is really handy when using iPad 1:1 with our young learners. Even though our desirable outcome is for children to select and use apps for a purpose, when teaching a skill in Maths for example, Classroom really does count!
A Closer Look at Classroom
This is a view of my teacher iPad running the Classroom app. You can see I have 5 iPad devices locked in to the Number Frames app. Each of the 5 iPad devices has a live view of the iPad screen in real time. I can tap the Lock icon at any time to freeze the iPad devices and I can launch any other app, book or website I want the group to use.
You can also see that I am managing different groups of iPad devices. There are 29 iPad devices all using Number Frames in the class and I can tap this group to see what each child is doing on their iPad. I know where and when to intervene just from glancing at Classroom at any time.
In these examples you will see children using the free app “Number Frames” and “GeoBoard” from the Math Learning Center (published by Clarity Innovations on the AppStore).
In a traditional classroom, there would be teacher modelling and some level of child participation where they help to count out objects for a given total. Imagine giving every child in the group 20 counters each. Do you have enough counters to begin with?
Now think of the capabilities of Classroom. I have 23 children working 1:1 with iPad who are learning to count up to 20. They have access to unlimited counters, which they can design as anaimals and colours. I can see each iPad screen from my teacher iPad so know at a glance who is struggling. On my large class screen I use Reflector 2 to mirror my teacher iPad. This means I can model the counting, with every child practising at the same time. If I need to gain the full the attention of all of the children, or groups of children, I can use Classroom to momentarily lock the iPad devices.
This really is a talk-less teaching session! The children lead the learning, showing what they know the entire time and they are always practising their counting skills. It’s like giving each children a wipe board and pen, but with many more interactive features built in.
In these linked lessons, children progressed from counting out 10 to adding 1 more and investigating different ways of making 10. You’ll see below how children progressed with access to this resource during focus groups:
This practise has continued with addition and subtraction practise, sum writing, shape drawing on GeoBoard and even pattern making.
The heavy lifting is managed lightly with Classroom. At a single touch I can open the app we need on every iPad, lock the children in to it and also lock their screen so they are looking and listening to me as I demonstrate next steps for particular children.
Find out more about the Math Learning Center apps here: The Maths Learning Centre collection
Learn more about Apple Classroom and deployment of iPad in education here.