How #iOS11 will help #iPad classrooms

It’s been a while since an iPad update has sparked my #EdTech senses, but new features offered by iOS11 offer built-in opportunities for key aspects of what you might call modern or student-centred learning. These features mean less talk about having or downloading the same apps core tools and abilities are now part of the device.


Although not a new technology by any means, to have a device that natively screen records (Windows computers and Chromebooks have never done so) at the touch of one button offers serious advantages to both students and teachers.

There are a couple of mistakes in this video below but you’ll get the point.

Opportunities offered by screen recording:

  • Students can now record reflections on any iPad work or project regardless of how it was made.
  • Students can now record lessons for other students to learn from, again regardless of what and where it is on the iPad.
  • Teachers can now record any kind of app or content as flipped lessons more easily (hopefully, in my opinion, for students to access at their own pace and not dictated by teacher). My colleagues have often understood the obvious advantages to videoing their core explanations but have not attempted it due to the difficulty of downloading and operating the right screen recording app. iOS 11’s one button approach will hopefully solve this.

All-round Annotation

Scanning Poster for Annotation

Being able to snap a picture/screenshot/document (the Notes app now has proper scanning built-in too) to take notes or explain something has always been available in various apps but now annotation (drawing, highlighting and text) built-in across the device (Photos/Notes/email) this will make many scenarios easier too.

  • Receive feedback on screenshots of work from both teachers and peers
  • Making notes on photos taken during activity inside or outside the classroom
  • Sketch-noting on to photos and resources
  • Document scanners also scan posters from walls

Less workflow – more progress

Not having to search for, download, open, and sending material from one app to another means more progress can be made. Less demand for technical skills and knowledge means more focus can return to what the learner is trying to achieve in the first place. This is what Apple’s philosophy has always been – “let the artist be an artist and the writer be the writer, while Apple worry about the tech.” The simpler and more natural the tech, the more human beings can get done (another reason I’m quite happy to move on from using keyboards for entering words into machines – see video above).

Another iOS 11 bonus:

The built-in camera now reads QR codes without the need for any app.