Apple Unveils ClassKit API Framework for Teachers, Developers

As expected, Apple used its most recent event to unveil ClassKit, a framework that allows developers to weave education-facing tools into their own apps.

ClassKit is the API framework housing a suite of tools Apple introduced for teachers and administrators this week. Within it are two apps: Classroom (an in-class admin tool for teachers; also available for the Mac), and Schoolwork (a homework assigning tool).

When a developer weaves ClassKit into their app codebase, they’ll essentially make their app usable for Classroom and/or Schoolwork. An app utilizing Classroom allows teachers to monitor progress in the classroom, so they know students are learning in the app instead of watching Minecraft videos on YouTube. Teachers are also able to deploy lessons and assignments to the class via Classroom.

Schoolwork is more macro. It’s billed as the “new home base” for students and teachers. It’s where students see what assignments are due, and teachers dock graded work and monitor the progress of larger initiatives (such as student progress with a reading assignment). Educators can also assign new work via a Handouts feature.

While Apple is making its case for schools to fall in love with its platform(s), developers with education apps stand to win, as well. It keeps teachers relying on apps for curriculum, which in turn means steady usage metrics for developers. We don’t expect Apple will make drastic changes to ClassKit any time soon, either, leaving a lot of room for developers to build their own products atop it.

Unfortunately, ClassKit isn’t yet widely accessible. Apple isn’t making it available until iOS 11.4 rolls out later this year, but has opened a portal for developers to plead their case for testing the framework.

Apple also introduced a new, low-cost 9.7-inch iPad with schools in mind. It supports Apple Pencil, as well as a new stylus from Logitech named ‘Crayon.’ This was expected (and all but confirmed when Google and Acer announced an inexpensive Chrome OS tablet earlier in the week, a move clearly meant to preempt Apple).

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