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Open Apps and Control Student Devices in Classroom [Video Tutorial]

20th January 2024

Jacob Woolcock


In this informative and practical video, I delve into the advanced features of the Apple Classroom app, focusing on controlling student iPads in a classroom setting. I demonstrate how to open apps and websites remotely on student devices, a feature that greatly enhances classroom management and learning engagement. By creating groups of students, I showcase the ability to launch specific apps like AR Maker, either across the entire class or group by group, ensuring a tailored learning experience. The video also covers the “Lock In App” function, which restricts students from exiting an app until the teacher unlocks their devices – a crucial tool for maintaining focus during lessons. Furthermore, I explain how to send links and open books in the Books app, simplifying the process of directing students to relevant online resources and educational content. With real-time screen viewing and the ability to AirPlay student screens to the class, this video is an essential guide for educators looking to leverage the power of the Apple Classroom app for more dynamic and controlled digital learning environments. Join me in exploring these features and more, and don’t forget to check out the complete beginner’s guide to using Classroom in the playlist at the end of this video.

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In the last Apple Classroom video, I created some groups of students in my class based on the tables they’re currently sitting at. These groups are really helpful because we can use them to control the iPads in the class. Now, we can actually control all the iPads in the same way at the same time. But for this example, I’m going to do it group by group.

So, I’ll tap onto Group One on the left-hand side. Then, when I tap the “Open Up” button, I can open an app on my student devices. On the menu on the screen, I can select any app from my iPad. As long as it’s installed on the children’s devices, it will open on their devices as well. I’m going to go for AR Maker, and when I tap on that, it will automatically open on all of those devices that I’ve selected in my group.

The nice touch is that with one tap, I can open it on my iPad as well, which makes teaching a little bit more seamless. Now, when I go back to all of my students, I can see that three of them are in AR Maker, and the other three are not at the moment. So, let’s go into Group Two, and we’ll open the app there as well. But this time, we’re going to use the “Lock In App” toggle before we select the app we want to open. That means that the students can’t leave the app until I, as the teacher, unlock their devices.

When you’ve used that toggle, you’re then going to select the app, and I’ll do AR Maker again. That will open the app on those students’ iPads, but this time they’ll be locked. If I go back to all students, I can now see that all six of my demo students are in AR Maker. But if you look closely, you’ll see that James P. Sullivan, Mike Wazowski, and Sheriff Woody have all got the padlock icon next to the word AR Maker underneath their names. That means that those students can’t press the home button to leave the app, like the other three can. To release this lock, all we need to do is tap the padlock on the top toolbar. When the padlock is showing an unlocked padlock, that becomes the unlock button, and by tapping on it, we’ll unlock any restrictions on the iPads you’ve got selected. So now the students can press home and do whatever else they need to do in their lesson.

Of course, it’s not just apps that I can control on my students’ devices. I can also send them a website via a link or open up a particular book in the Books app. I’m going to send a website, and the simplest way to do this is to tap on the Safari icon at the top of your Classroom app. Then, navigate to your favourites folder. You need to make sure that you’ve saved your website as a bookmark or into your favourites folder in the Safari app before you deploy it to your students; otherwise, it won’t show up on this screen.

I’ve bookmarked my own website,, and I’m simply going to choose that from my favourites folder. Here, I can also choose to lock my students’ devices into the Safari app if I wanted to. Then, when you deploy that website, it will open up in Safari and load on all those devices. For me, this means it’s so much quicker than getting all the students to type in a URL or to find the page through Google. I can simply do it in a couple of taps. Just like with the app, I can also open it on my iPad.

On that last screen, if I tap onto one of those thumbnails, I can then get a new screen of options. From here, if I tap onto “View Screen,” I get an almost life-sized version of their iPad screen that I can see in real time. So, I can check in on what they’re doing and how it’s working for them. But I could also AirPlay their screen to my Apple TV or my projector by simply tapping on the AirPlay option here. That then means that we can share excellent learning or some really interesting discoveries with the whole class using AirPlay in Classroom.

The ability to open apps, websites, and books onto your students’ devices remotely from your own device really gives you a lot of control in your classroom. If you want to see what else Apple Classroom can do, check out the playlist on the end screen now, and I’ve got a complete beginner’s guide to using Classroom.

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