Upcoming iOS 9.3 Update a Potential Game Changer for Teaching with iPads


Those of us who use iPads in education were excited to hear about some new features in the upcoming iOS 9.3. It looks like Apple is making an effort in improving how iPads work in the classroom. A common complaint about iPads in schools was that they are difficult to share amongst multiple classes. Now, with 9.3, administrators and teachers will be able to have a lot more control over their student's individual iPads. Managing a class set of iPads has never been the easiest task. With this update, it should become a much better experience. Also, students will be able to “share” iPads in a much better and “cleaner” way. Individual profiles can be created so that multiple users can use the same iPad.

Image source: Apple.com

Here is a list of some of the many improvements coming soon:

  • A much-awaited ability to have multiple user profiles on iPad;
  • Students work, documents will be saved individually to their own profiles, therefore other students will not be able to wipe out (by accident or not) others work;
  • Even if not every student has his/her “own” iPad, the iPad will become a true 1:1 device while that student is using it, as compared to a shared set of iPads;
  • HManagement of the iPads will now be foolproof, as teachers can select a students image and push apps and documents onto individual iPads;
  • Teachers can also reset passwords, so no need to contact the IT guy (IT guys rejoice!);
  • Teachers will be able to beam via AirPlay any of the student iPads from the teacher iPad;

I definitely appreciate the effort that Apple is putting forth in making things easier for teachers who have the privilege of teaching with iPads. However, bottom line is that iPads still are a very expensive device. Being in Canada myself, I anticipate a harsh exchange rate to be reflected in the prices of the upcoming iPad Air 3, and this will make iPads even more “out of reach” for a lot of people (and schools, for that matter). If Apple really wants to make a dent in the education sector, it needs to re-evaluate its pricing. I don't think prices (of new devices) will drop, but I would argue that everyone would be very pleasantly surprised if they did.

I don't think a BYOD setting will be able to take advantage of these new features, as a “manager” will not have any control of students' own devices.

Read more about the educational features of iOS 9.3 from the official Apple website.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Look forward to the release of something beyond 9.2, release of 9.2 killed our ability to manage 3/4 of our iPads via our MDM (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205654). The new features look awesome and plan to begin using many this school year still.

  2. Kris says:

    I have been immersed in the world of iPads since 2010 when my daughter received one for communication. While I agree iPads are expensive there are ways to find them cheaper. The majority of the iPads I have personally bought have been refurbished from either Apple or Cowboom.com (Best Buy’s refurbished site). They come with a warranty and have had no issues. I know that people are throwing iPad1’s out the window. They, too, still have lots of function especially in schools. Many of the teaching apps do not change I.e. Grasshopper Apps, TeachMe Math, and Phonics. Students can still use them for learning, music, writing, recording, etc. I am excited for this new update as I have a cool science app (Crack the Books) and would like it to be easier to use as a group.

    1. Thanks Kris for the comment. I find older devices won’t be able to install some of the apps though. Appreciate this.

      1. Arnold Gill says:

        Nor the OS upgrade needed for the separate profiles. We still have two _original_ iPads at home, which work great, but with restricted updates. But if it is just being used as a Movie and Kindle device, it is still great.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Students don’t need the newest iPad. The price of the latest model is not relevant.

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