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Lock Screens and Manage Students Devices in Classroom [Video Tutorial]

20th January 2024

Jacob Woolcock


In today’s video, I delve into the transformative capabilities of Apple Classroom for managing student devices in an educational setting. As a teacher, this tool can be indispensable for maintaining focus in the classroom. I’ll guide you through essential features such as closing active apps to redirect students’ attention, locking iPad screens to eliminate distractions, and effortlessly creating dynamic groups for targeted teaching. Whether you’re dealing with younger students who require a bit more guidance or older pupils working in collaborative groups, Apple Classroom offers a flexible and efficient way to manage technology in your classroom. Join me as I share practical tips and firsthand experiences to help you make the most of these features, ensuring your lessons run smoothly and your students stay engaged.

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Apple Classroom lets you actually take control of students’ devices, and you can manage them yourself in your classroom to ensure that learning is happening in the way you want it to happen. In my class, I like to make sure I’ve got all of my students’ attention before we deliver the next stage of our input. There are two different ways I can do this; there’s a ‘Col’ normal version and a slightly more drastic version.

The first way is to simply close the app they’re currently on, which puts them back on the home screen. This then makes them kind of think, ‘Oh, I plan to move on.’ I can do that simply by pressing the eyeball on the top toolbar, which will hide any active apps on the iPads and take everyone back to the home screen. But sometimes, and particularly with younger students, you need a little bit more than just going back to the home screen. That’s where the ability to lock devices remotely comes into its own.

So, on the top toolbar, I can simply press on the padlock icon, and that will immediately lock all of my students’ devices. There’ll be a little message saying it’s been locked by your teacher. Then, when you’re ready, you can press the unlock button again to go back to your learning activities. This ensures the children can focus on what you’re saying without being distracted by that device. Do be aware, though, that if you don’t unlock the devices as soon as you need to, the children will definitely let you know about that. I’m speaking from experience, so make sure you press the unlock button when you’re ready to start using the iPads again.

The other thing that we can do in Apple Classroom at this stage is we can actually make groups of different devices. So, on the top toolbar, if I press ‘Select,’ I can then tap on whichever students I want to, and I can press a new group on the bottom left-hand side. I’m going to make a ‘Group One’ out of these three students, and then I’ll make a new group, ‘Group Two,’ out of my other three students simply by selecting those iPads. This then means that you can quickly apply things like the lock, or you can quickly get to the home screen on just a certain subset of devices. In the past, I’ve used this for different tables in my classroom, so perhaps two tables go back to the home screen, the other ones can carry on learning. But you could use it whichever way suits you in your class. These groups are really easy to change on the fly. All you have to do is swipe sideways and press delete, and that group is gone. It won’t delete any of your students, so don’t worry, but then you can make changes as and when you need to.

There are lots more things Apple Classroom can do for you in your class, and I’d encourage you to check out the playlist on the end screen to learn a bit more about it now.

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