Apple has long led the pack in education technology, but with Microsoft's latest discounted tablet promotion for schools, Apple is making sure that iOS 7 will be the ultimate operating system for educators. Kaylene Hong of TheNextWeb reports that Apple is doing everything to make the latest iOS more accessible to students as they have released their initiatives for schools to easily buy, manage and distribute apps to students with its new version of iOS due to release this fall.
Apple is releasing a new feature to the app store called the Volume Purchase Program. It will allow students to receive app licenses on their own personal Apple IDs. The school wil purchase the license to the program and then use their mobile device management (MDM) to assign apps they have purchased to students, teachers, and staff. Students will simply log in with their Apple IDs and the apps will be installed automatically or be available for a self-service download.
Schools will also have a program to facilitate Apple obtaining verifiable parental consent for personal Apple IDs for students under age 13, the company said.
VPP allows schools to provide iOS apps, Mac apps and now books, making it simpler for students to get the materials they need.
MDM has received an update with iOS 7 that allows teachers more control. They will be able to ensure students are on the same app at the same time by having the power to lock and unlock all apps on the iOS devices. They can also control which accounts and apps can open certain documents through a wireless feature.
A new feature called AirDrop allows users to transfer videos, photos, or documents between iOS devices, making it easier for students and teachers to collaborate. The user will simply have to tap the share button within an app and select the user they want to share it with.
With new options available on Apple TV, teachers can prompt students to project their screen on a large screen for the class to see using MDM.
Last year marked Apple's big push into education, with Apple's Phil Schiller saying: "Education is deep in our DNA, and it has been from the very beginning." In January, Apple launched a textbooks initiative in partnership with major publishers that would put digital versions of expensive textbooks in the store for around $15 or so, and in October iBooks 3 was released.
According to a report form Apple in January 2012, 1.5 million iPads were already being used in educational programs. Just recently Apple signed a deal with Los Angeles School Board of Education that will put $30 million of iPads into the hands of students and teachers in the district.