The Best Reason to Start Using iOS Apps in Your Classroom

Have you ever been excited by something you didn’t even know you wanted? Earlier this week, Apple Excited Catmade me feel like my birthday came early this year. They released some updates to Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. Some of you are thinking, “What is the big deal about an update to some iOS apps that I barely use?” Others may be thinking, “What is Pages, Keynote, and Numbers?”

Let me Explain

First, let’s tackle the second question. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are Apple’s solutions for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. They are part of their iWork suite. If you have used Mac computers mostly, you probably have seen them before.  You may be more familiar with Microsoft’s products: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint if you have been using Windows devices. Admittedly, I have been using Microsoft products most of my life. My first Apple device was an iPad, however, I never used the iWork suite. Mostly because I just used Microsoft or Google for productivity. The cost of the apps was another factor in my decision. Each of these apps was $9.99 for iOS devices ($19.99 for Macs). I already had access to Microsoft so downloading and using the Microsoft apps wouldn’t cost me anything.

Pages, Keynote, Numbers on an iPad
Pages, Keynote, Numbers on my iPad

Things began to change after the fall of 2013. If you purchased a new iOS device, you were able to download these apps for free. This was great however, some quickly learned that there were parameters around this. It only applied to the first Apple ID associated with that device. Basically, if you purchased your device second hand, or if you reset your device and gave it to someone else, your Apple ID wouldn’t be eligible for the free download. You would be prompted to pay for it. This past April, Apple made Pages, Numbers, and Keynote free for anyone with an Apple ID. Even if you have an older device. Therefore, you should download these apps if you haven’t already!

The Big Deal

Now that you know you can download the iWork suite here is what you need to know. This past week, Apple included some updates to these apps. Several improvements were made overall. (Click here to learn about all of the updates.) One of the updates prompted this blog post.


Pages - 500 icons
   Some of the icons as seen in Pages for Mac.
Keynote icons
    Some of the icons as seen in Keynote for iOS.


Apple has added 500 professionally drawn icons to the shapes library.  Click or Tap the Shapes menu to access the tool toolbar. This is the + symbol on iOS devices. The icons are organized into categories. They are listed on the left in the Shapes menu on Macs. Swiping left will allow you to navigate through pages on iOS devices. They are fully customizable as you can change the size, color, and outline to meet your needs.

iOS For Classroom Usage

Boy with Basketball in the Grass
     I made this quickly in Keynote on my iPad.

If you are using Apple products in your classroom, this will be something you will appreciate. I like to keep things as simple as possible especially when working with younger students. With over 500 options in the shapes menu, students will easily be able to create background scenes for their reports and presentations. Also, think beyond the typical reasons students might use this software.  First. students could create books with Pages. (Did you know you can publish ePub books with Pages?). These additions will reduce the number of times students are searching for objects on the internet to place in their work.

If you have Apple products and are not using these apps, you should check them out. Students (and even you) could create great presentations, spreadsheets, and word documents with ease.

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