Seattle Public Schools

New Classroom Tool

Summary: New tool on SPS Devices will help educators build positive learning environment during their classes.

Technology’s Helping Hand 

New Digital Learning Tool Takes Teaching to New Level 

Seattle Public Schools uses an array of digital learning tools to keep students engaged and ones that help teachers support different types of learners in the classroom. Starting this spring, a new tool on district devices will help educators build a positive digital learning environment by keeping students focused on their assigned tasks.  

Apple Classroom is a digital learning tool for PreK through 2nd grade teachers. It’s designed to transform the way educators manage their classrooms and enhance the learning experience for students learning with iPads. It empowers teachers by providing them with a suite of features to guide instruction, limit distractions to students, and foster a more engaging and productive learning environment.  

SPS will introduce a similar learning tool for students in grades 3-12 in the coming months. Both systems include features that allow teachers to:  

  • easily launch a specific app, website, or textbook page on all student devices simultaneously. 
  • send and receive documents from students and share student work on a classroom display. 
  • gently guide students back to classroom activities, ensuring a distraction-free learning space. 
  • enable a secure online environment that adapts to the needs of each class or educational session. 
  • Create a collaborative learning atmosphere through digital messaging and screensharing. 

First grade teacher Madison Russell was part of a cohort of teachers who tested Apple Classroom in its piloting stage. She said it has enabled her to support her students in more intentional and meaningful ways. 

“With an Apple Classroom, you have the option to create reading groups or separate groups, and I’ve done that based off skill levels so that I can launch students into a task that is just at their level,” Russell explained. “By doing that, there’s no wasted time with logging in or trying to find the app that students can just begin with their material right away. And I know that each set of students or each individual student is beginning work that is at their level.” 

Being able to control tasks through their iPad allows teachers to move quickly and efficiently, leaving little time for students to get distracted or go off task. 

“There’s obviously only one of me and lots of them, and for first graders, sometimes it is a big barrier just to have the initial task of getting signed into an app. Sometimes that takes a long amount of time, and they’re losing productive time that could be used to engage in a task,” Russell said.  

These new tools are designed with student privacy in mind. Devices automatically disconnect outside school hours and when the device is off school premises. The tool can only be accessed when students are physically present in school. 

Read more about the SPS use of Apple Classroom and GoGuardian Teacher.

You may also be interested in

Two student teachers stand before elementary age students at a map of the world

Classroom AV Equipment Refresh Project

SPS is working to refresh classroom audio and visual (A/V) equipment such microphones, projectors, and speakers.
A collection of laptops with SPS stickers are stacked together in boxes on a table

SPS Student Devices

Seattle Public Schools provides student devices to support classroom instruction.

Franklin and Eckstein Teachers Selected as Future Engineer Ambassadors 

Two SPS Educators have been chosen for the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher Ambassador Program.