What it is: Apple announced a March 27th educational event at a Chicago high school.
On March 27th, Apple will reveal a new education related product and that product will likely be ClassKit, a framework that lets teachers monitor the progress of students through an iPad. By using iPads, a teacher can follow a student’s progress and keep the student from doing anything else on an iPad. This lets a teacher quickly see how well certain students are doing and which students need more help.
Such a tool will let teachers rely more on iPads to monitor student’s progress and do so quickly and easily in ways that aren’t as easy to do with today’s Chromebooks or Windows PCs. The eventual goal is to give schools reason to buy iPads instead of much cheaper Chromebooks.
Whether ClassKit does this or not is debatable. At Apple’s last education event, they revealed iBooks Author to give teachers the ability to create digital textbooks. While this feature is still handy, it hasn’t changed the classroom much since its introduction. Schools are still wasting money on expensive textbooks and students are still largely ignoring these textbooks anyway.
Besides introducing ClassKit, Apple may also introduce a new version of iBooks Author as well. This could keep iBooks Author in the public mind and further encourage schools to consider buying iPads instead of Chromebooks or Windows PCs. The more tools apple can provide to make the iPad useful in the classroom, the greater the incentive to buy iPads instead of cheaper Chromebooks.
Right now, Chromebooks have the sole advantage of being cheaper than iPads. If Apple can negate this price difference with truly useful features like ClassKit and iBooks Author, then it’s possible that schools will choose iPads over Chromebooks. But given the vast price difference, schools will simply look at cost and purchase Chromebooks whether they’re helpful or not.
Whatever happens on March 27th, you can be certain it will be geared to help sell more iPads to schools. Now we just have to wait to see if Apple’s software features are compelling enough to make an iPad more enticing than a cheaper Chromebook.