Apple, which just released iOS 9.3 beta 1, has also published a new website that previews new education-focused features that will be added in the upcoming update for the mobile operating system.
The dedicated website to iOS in Education promises that the best classroom experience is about to get even better with the pending release of iOS 9.3.
"With the iOS 9.3 beta, you'll find a preview of new features that will make it even easier for schools to put devices where they'll have the greatest impact – in the hands of students," the website states.
The new features highlighted in the iOS in Education website are shared iPad for students, the new Classroom app, the Apple School Manager and managed Apple IDs for school purposes.
The Shared iPad feature will be very beneficial for classrooms where a one-to-one student-to-iPad ratio is not possible, claiming that it will allow learning experiences to be personal despite the devices being shared.
Once students log in with their credentials on an iPad, they will gain access to their books, apps and documents. With intelligent caching, students that use the same iPad for a class everyday will be able to pick up where they left off.
Intelligent caching allows teachers to use the Photo ID feature for assigning shared devices easily and quickly. The students will find their device easily, as their pictures would appear on the iPad assigned to them.
For younger students, there is also the option of having them access their iPad with a simpler log-in requirement of a four-digit PIN.
The Classroom App
The Classroom app will serve as a digital teaching assistant, allowing teachers to launch, using a Remote Control, any app, page, or website simultaneously in all the iPads in class and guide the students on what they should be looking at.
Through the app's Screen View feature, teachers will be able to see what their students are looking at on their iPads. While for classrooms that have television sets equipped with the Apple TV, teachers can project the work of any student onto the screen with AirPlay.
The Classroom app will also let the teacher to reset student passwords in case anybody forgets the log-in credentials to their iPad.
Apple School Manager
The Apple School Manager, accessible through the PC or Mac, will serve as a central place for administrators to make Apple IDs, create courses, and access everything needed for the deployment of iPads as learning tools in school.
The Apple School Manager includes a setup assistant that will provide instructions on how to create Managed Apple IDs, enroll IT admins, acquire content, manage devices, and more. The software also allows for the secure creation of accounts for admins, teachers and students by connecting the school's student information system. The admins can also handle the MDM enrollment for all the school's devices.
Volume purchases and distribution of apps and books is also made easy through the Apple School Manager, with education discounts applied automatically. Courses can also be built and delivered with the software in conjunction with iTunes U.
Managed Apple IDs
One important note for the Apple School Manager is the creation of Managed Apple IDs. These Apple IDs function like normal ones, allowing users to store files on iCloud, participate in courses in iTunes U, and many more.
However, Managed Apple IDs are designed primarily for schools, with admins allowed to easily audit accounts, reset passwords, create IDs in bulk and create custom roles for the members of the school.
A Preview For iOS 10?
The Shared iPad feature caught the eye of Apple reporter Mark Gurman, who suggested that the feature, which will be first implemented in iOS 9.3 with educational purposes, is a preview of things to come for the mobile operating system.
A good assumption to make: multi-user education mode in iOS 9.3 is a preview of real multi-user mode for the iPad in iOS 10.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) January 11, 2016
A multi-user mode could possibly be on the way with iOS 10, and the Touch ID system could play a role in the feature as different fingerprints could open up different configurations for Apple devices.