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Upcoming Changes in iOS 11 That Could Affect Your Classroom

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 -- Scott Sterling

As is tradition, Apple recently held its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which is used as an opportunity to introduce a few new products, such as this year’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro and an astounding iMac Pro (starting at $4,999!). But, the bulk of the time was spent previewing the operating system that runs mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, iOS. This year’s is version will be iOS 11, and it includes some interesting new features that could help students do more on their devices come fall.

Siri translation

Apple is perpetually working on its personal assistant, Siri. You may not use the voice capabilities a lot in the classroom now, but that could change. Apple will be adding a translation function for Siri in iOS 11, allowing phrases said in English to be repeated in languages such as Spanish and Mandarin. This has the potential to provide quick and effective student support in world language and ELL classrooms.

Screen recording

Although there are already third-party apps that offer the ability to record your screen as you perform a function, Apple is making it a native feature in iOS 11. This could prove to be a favorite of teachers who use a flipped learning approach and often make instructional videos.

Files app

Finding saved files on an iOS device can be difficult, as its file system doesn’t really behave like that of a desktop computer. That’s changing with a new app, Files, that will behave like the file managers you may be used to, including folders, tagging, and previews.

iPad overhauls

For people who stick to light productivity tasks like writing, reading, taking notes, or watching videos, the iPad has provided enough functionality as a primary device for a while now. But, with each release, Apple tries to make the iPad into more of a laptop and less of a content consumption device. New features that will be available in iOS 11 (depending on the age and abilities of your iPad model) include multitasking for more than two apps, a customizable Dock like the Mac that shows the most recently used apps, and drag-and-drop functionality to move text and pictures between apps.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) is one of the fastest-growing spaces in edtech. Apple decided to fully support developers making AR apps through a new framework and some homegrown functionalities that should help the space expand exponentially. Picture students interacting with historical figures or investigating biology specimens without the need for safety goggles.

Not an Apple classroom? Check out these 5 Tips and Tricks for Google Drive in the Classroom!