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Make collaboration and remote learning easier with Apple Schoolwork

One thing we know teachers could do with less of is paperwork. Thankfully mobile devices and apps are helping to seriously cut down on the paper trail, making paper processes more manageable and collaboration with students much easier, especially if they are home learning for any reason.

Apple Schoolwork, for example, is a powerful tool that lets both teachers and students work together more smoothly, whether they're together in school or apart. You can easily share content with students directly through the app, add tailored activities to complete in attached files or other education apps, collaborate and feed back on work, and view individual or class progress at a glance.

In this short guide, we briefly look at each feature, with examples of how they can be used in the classroom. You’ll need to have Apple School Manager before you get started, but more on that later.

Creating Handouts

No more printing and distributing hundreds of worksheets – Apple Schoolwork’s Handouts make it simple to send out updates to students which can contain everything from PDFs and documents to web links and links to activities in apps. They’re perfect for setting assignments, but also for sending out quick announcements and reminders.

Once you’re set up in Apple School Manager and Apple Schoolwork, creating a tailored Handout is easy. Within the app, tap + to create a new Handout, select the class you want to send a Handout to, and choose either the whole class or individual recipients. Choose a title, description and an optional due date, add the activity you want to be reviewed, and simply hit Post when you’re done. It’s as quick and easy as sending an email!

Any type of file can be shared with students, so they always have the materials they need. To add a file activity, tap Add Activity in a new Handout, then choose Files to browse your files, or even drag and drop files and URLs to your Handout from another app.

From a student’s point of view, they have a central dashboard sorted by due date to make it easy to keep on top of all their Handouts across all classes – safe from forgetful minds or hungry dogs. All they have to do is tap an outstanding Handout and follow your instructions to complete any activities within.

Collaborate with students

The great thing about Handouts in Apple Schoolwork is how you’re able to collaborate with students on activities in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. You can view, edit, add comments, and even record audio to provide feedback and guide them through in real time which can be really useful if you need to communicate with home learners. You can even start collaborating from directly within Pages, Numbers and Keynote by choosing ‘Share with Schoolwork’, which leads you to create a new Handout in Schoolwork.

It’s not a complete editing free-for-all though – each student works in their own copy of the file, and then clicks Submit when they’re finished in their copy. You can then open each student’s collaborative document to see how they’re progressing.

Add app activities to guide students

You no doubt have an arsenal of great apps you’re already using to teach with – such as iBooks, Kahoot!, Tynker, Duolingo and Swift Playgrounds – and Apple Schoolwork makes it easy for you to guide students to the right place in the app.

When creating your Handout, tap Add Activity then Apps. You’ll see a list of apps that are installed on your iPad, including those that can report student progress. Choose from the list of supported apps to find the one you want students to use or, as with adding files, use the Share menu from within the app to create a new Handout in Schoolwork.

All your students need to do then is click the link from the Handout to open the app activity at exactly the place you specified. Just remember that the teacher can only assign activities for supported apps already on their devices, and students can only complete activities in apps already on their devices.

View class and student progress

Schoolwork provides incredible insights into students’ progress, based on overall class performance, individual student progress and whole assignment performance. That means you can individually tailor teaching and assignments to any students who may need an extra help, or who may benefit from some more advanced activities.

Open any Handout to see aggregate class data for the supported app used in the assignment, including time spent on the activity, percentage completed, scores and more. You can then drill down into each activity to see individual data for each student by tapping on their name, as well as an overview of all work completed by the student. It’s a great way to see all progress information in one place and, as students can also access their individual profile page, they’re able to see their own progress.

Privacy provided across all work

With all that progress data being recorded by Schoolwork, you might worry about privacy. You needn’t. For a start, your school first has to opt into the feature using Apple School Manager (but you can still use Schoolwork without this feature if you don’t opt in). Also, student progress is only ever recorded for activities you specifically assign, and that are completed using a school-provided Managed Apple ID.

Students will always receive a notification to say progress reporting is active too. So you and your students get to see the great Handouts they’ve been completing and how they’re progressing, but Apple never will.

How to set up Apple Schoolwork

Apple Schoolwork does require a little IT help to set up and synchronise data between Apple School Manager and your school's MIS (Apple School Manager and Managed Apple IDs are required). We have built a whole service around doing exactly this, and have engineers who can set this up for you without the IT headache – get in touch to find out more.

Alternatively, these are the basic steps your IT department will need to go through to get you started, but for more detailed instructions, you can download this PDF from Apple.

  1. Enrol in or upgrade to the Apple School Manager portal.
  2. Create accounts (Managed Apple IDs) for teachers and students using a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) app to import .csv files from your Student Information System (SIS) to Apple School Manager using Setup Assistant, or manually.
  3. Set up Classes in Apple School Manager. These will be automatically updated with students, and teachers can edit who is in which class or even create new ones.
  4. Get the Schoolwork app in the Apps and Books section of Apple School Manager.
  5. Enable student progress for your organisation in Apple School Manager to see how students are getting on in activities assigned through any ClassKit-enabled app.

Hardware and software requirements

Schoolwork requires iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation or later, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 2 or later. You’ll also neediOS 12.0 or later, and teachers will need iPadOS 13.1 or later to create, edit and remove classes in Schoolwork.

Want to know more about Apple Schoolwork and the best devices for the classroom? Fill in the form below, or get in touch with our team on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For the latest news, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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