A Teacher reviews the latest iPad updates

08 Jun 2018

A Teacher reviews the latest iPad updates 


2018 has been a big year for iPad for Education. Since the iPad launch in March, there has been great excitement in the Apple teaching community. Many schools will be using the new sixth generation iPad for the first time in September 2018. There are a significant number of changes for teachers to embrace to enhance their teaching.


iPad 6th generation 


Apple Pencil 


A big game changer for iPad for Education with the 6th generation iPad is its ability to connect with Apple Pencil. Students can now use the Apple Pencil. There is amazing scope here for student creativity. Students can take their revision to another level using sketch notes. There are many apps that can help students create useful and beautiful sketch notes including the inbuilt iPad notes app.

Why not draw a diagram for a recent science experiment using the new Numbers templates or create wonderfully detailed animations using their own uniquely drawn shapes in Keynote.

Price Point 

The major drawing factor for many educators and schools is the new attractive price point of the sixth generation iPad. I'm really excited about this, as it means that iPad is becoming more accessible to more educators and students than ever before. 



2018 Updates


Next, I'm going to take a look at all the latest updates which are beneficial for educators and students using iPad. These are/will be available on all up-to-date iPads running iOS 11.4 or later.



I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of Schoolwork. Schoolwork is teachers' equivalent of waiting for the arrival a Hollywood blockbuster to hit the film screens. Schoolwork will enable teachers to distribute and collect assignments, monitor student progress and collaborate. This will then link into Classroom, iWork and any app that has enable a schoolwork connection to create a powerful yet simple workflow for teachers. It can provide instant feedback for students. This positions iPad to further break down the four walls of the classroom, flip learning on its head and help students develop 21st century skills.


Everyone Can Create: 

You can preview Everyone Can Create's new curriculum on the iBooks store. Plus, you can see what people are already creating in their classroom using the hashtag #everyonecancreate. Everyone Can Create's curriculum gives students foundational skills in video, photography, music, and drawing.  Students can then transfer these creative skills into other areas of their school work and life. It has many cross-curricular applications. Everyone Can Create is a fantastic resource, especially with the presence of e-Portfolios in the Junior Cert curriculum. Look out for the official launch this autumn and the #EveryoneCanCreate twitter hashtag.



The latest iWork updates have further enhanced Pages, Keynote and Numbers. These are already key educational tools for iPad teachers. The iWork updates include an audio button, drawing capabilities, new creative shapes, new templates and more.  All these updates can make significant enhancements to student creativity and communication.


Audio buttons:

June 14th came with a surprising but amazing update to the iWork apps. Students and teachers now can easily record, edit, and play audio directly on a page, slide or sheet. I'm especially excited about this update as a teacher because of it makes the curriculum and assessment more accessible for learners. A teacher may have a student who is a reluctant writer, but who can express themselves brilliantly and show deep levels of understanding when conversing. Allowing them to add audio to their work can allow them to show their understanding and meet the success criteria of the lesson.


Pages updates: 

Out of all the iWork apps, Pages has had the most additions. Placing pages as the app that has the most potential to improve teaching and learning. These include: 


Smart Annotations: This allows the marking up of a Pages document. Unlike 'Drawing', (in which you insert the whole image) the annotations will move with the text just the same way a paper document would be annotated. If we pair Smart Annotations with all the other new feedback tools available in Pages (audio, video, text), teachers get a landscape where they can differentiate their feedback to the learners preferred style. For example, imagine a teacher marking students' English essays. They are trying to explain a complex concept such as the symbolism in William Butler Yeats' 'Easter 1916'. For one student, they know that the student will assimilate audio comments rather than written ones. To speed up this feedback to the student, the teacher can use a mixture of Smart Annotations and audio feedback for the student. This gives them faster, comprehensive and lasting feedback.


Presenter Mode: This turns a document into a simple teleprompter like format with only text appearing. This is another brilliant application to help with students' presentation skills. For example, students can work collaboratively to build a script together and then use presenter mode to read the lines whilst being filmed. 

Book Template: The new Pages book template allows students to make multimedia books using text, drawings, images, shapes and audio. Students can also export their books as an iBook. 


Jamie Johnston is an expert at using iPad for Education. Follow him on Twitter to follow his tips and tricks for using iPad in the classroom.