The View from Apple Classroom

Valerie Wu, Features Editor

Ever noticed that blue bar up at the top of your screen? That’s your teacher watching you.

It’s less creepy than it sounds. This new tool, which has been implemented throughout many of the classes at Pres, is called Apple Classroom. Apple Classroom is a modern-day “teaching assistant” that allows teachers to supervise student activity and share work. Using the device means that teachers have full access to a student’s iPad and are therefore able to manipulate its capabilities.

The use of Apple Classroom has caused much controversy among students and teachers. While some students believe that Apple Classroom hinders the relationship of mutual trust, others believe that iPad rules are essential to learning, and can help students avoid distractions.

Junior Miranda Long says that while she often feels “trapped and wary” when she sees the blue bar pop up on her screen, she can also acknowledge the advantages of using Apple Classroom. “I think having iPad rules is a benefit to the classroom,” Long said, “It helps keep everyone focused and on track.”

According to Long, knowing that off-task behavior in class will be noticed compels her to pay attention to what the teacher is saying. Her newfound awareness–a product of being caught once by Ms. Ursin–has in fact served her well when it comes to avoiding distractions.

However, other students believe that designated iPad rules are an unnecessary infringement of privacy. Junior Arathi Ranga finds the blue bar invasive as a student in French teacher Monica Stampfl’s class, well-known for its constant usage of Apple Classroom.

“I think that Apple Classroom is a good idea, but I don’t think it should be used 24/7,” Ranga said. “For example, while taking quizzes or tests on Socrative and Canvas, teachers should definitely use Apple Classroom to make sure students aren’t cheating. However, during normal lectures, I think it is kind of unnecessary and definitely an infringement on our privacy.”

Apple Classroom may seem like it shines a negative spotlight on students, but according to Stampfl, its purpose is quite the opposite.

“I like using Apple Classroom because it helps me see which students aren’t on task and also helps follow the progress of each student in an assigned task and see who is behind,” said Stampfl. “If students are doing particularly good work on their iPads, I can Airplay that for the whole class too.”

According to Stampfl, technology is a beneficial tool to have in the classroom because it not only allows her to monitor the applications used in the classroom, but also assists in shining a spotlight on each individual student. While some students may argue that it can be irritating to know that there is always a teacher watching, Apple Classroom is used not as a censoring device, but an educational one.

This is especially helpful for games like Kahoot, where students compete against one another. “Through using Apple Classroom for Kahoot, I can look at the scores for individual students and see what I need to focus on more in class,” Stampfl said.

Whether Apple Classroom is a push for productivity or a nuisance remains to be seen.