Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How Apple TV should evolve into AppleClass.

Well it's been a while since I have blogged... too many reasons why... but time to get back into the saddle. 

I was using Reflector to application share my iPad screen during a virtual workshop last week and it got me thinking about iPad/iPhone/iPod integration into the classroom and how Apple has the ability to create the killer product for the connected classroom... one I am calling AppleClass. 

First of all AppleClass needs to have the functionality for Apple TV AirPlay to allow a teacher to present their mobile device wirelessly for projection to a TV or projector (HDMI output). It also needs to host educational apps like TED Education, YouTube, etc...

Then it needs the ability to have AirPort routing capability so that all wireless traffic in a classroom goes through AppleClass. It needs to easily allow a teacher to open the router for traffic or apply restrictions as needed for age appropriate material. Teachers may only want students to access one website only, or many for web quests, etc... but the teacher can control what is being accessed on the student devices, eliminating the need for the tech team to restrict it for the entire school. 

The AppleClass device needs to contain a classroom app into which students and teachers (with appropriate apps on their devices) would login. This app needs to give a teacher the following functionality: 1) To be able to see a tiled view of all student devices to allow a teacher to ensure students are on task in the class when using their device. 2) The ability to click and make any student device the facilitator device that is displayed on the screen/interactive whiteboard. 3) The ability to click and either take a snapshot or a video of what a student is saying and doing (with the internal camera showing the student's image) on their device and export to teacher's camera roll or cloud storage. 4) The ability to use a "whiteboard" and give students the ability to write on that whiteboard from their iOS device. 5) Teachers should be able to "push" open an app on to the class iOS devices for class use. For standardized testing, a teacher needs to lock the device to prevent wireless access as well as lock use to a single app... like a calculator for example.

Included in the teacher app (which will be more involved when compared to the student app) should be the ability to develop formative assessment items (or upload from ExamView/Publisher Test Banks) and push them to student devices for completion. The results should be able to be scored and exported in spreadsheet format to the teacher's device (or Dropbox/iCloud account). Being a math teacher it would have to have a math template.

I believe that the whiteboard functionality would need to import other whiteboard file formats in addition to the ppt and PDF files. The whiteboard files would need exporting after the class is done, to Dropbox/iCloud for storage and further access.

If number 5 were altered then this device could allow for android and other devices to be used by students with the appropriate student AppleClass app developed. 

This may sound like a sophisticated device/app ecosystem but I believe that much of the hardware is presently available, albeit in different devices. As well much of the software/app functionality is presently available in the App Store. I'm not so sure the device and apps are that far fetched. What are your thoughts Apple? 

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