iOS 11's Best Education Features

It’s now been a few days since Apple released iOS 11 for iPad. As the header image indicates this is a “monumental leap for iPad.” While Apple likes to attach amazing adjectives to their promotions, this update is significant, particularly in some ways that are education focused. If you’re an avid follower of iPad news you may already be aware of this update but I wanted to take a moment to highlight the features I think have the most potential for use at the Academy.

The video above demonstrates most of the features described below.

Hovering and Splitscreen Apps

In addition to the iOS 10 allowance of spit screening apps, iOS 11 allows a “hover over” feature that essentially lets an app hover in a small window over a fullscreen app (see video). As you can imagine it can beneficial if a student needed to follow along with Scripture or a narrative and take notes simultaneously.  The floating window can be moved all over the screen as well.

Screen Recording

Students and teachers have the ability to record their iPad screens directly from the device.  This opens up the door for them to make tutorials that can benefit other students and enables teachers to give assignments that involve students showing how they accomplish certain types of work.  The videoabove was screen recorded on an iPad!

Drag and Drop Files

Users can now move files directly from the apps they’re in to other places (like iCloud Drive or Mail - some Google Apps have rolled this feature out recently too).

Augmented Reality Support

Augmented Reality is a feature apple has enabled on iOS 11 that essentially lets you place objects in the “real world” through the camera. A good example of this is how Ikea’s app now lets you see how that chair will look in your space but the potential applications for education here are wide.

Document Scanner for Notes

The Notes app now includes an option to scan paper documents into digital format.  They can then be annotated with markup and emailed or otherwise shared with others.  Students can create digital versions of handouts and store them with their own notes in class folders to aid in their retention of material throughout the years.

Annotations for Photos

Photos can be annotated just like scanned documents by utilizing the markup feature of the iPad in supported apps.  This feature also has potential in education. For example, students can tag their photos with text in order to show how it illustrates a class concept or submit a photo story of how to accomplish a process in a particular course. Photo annotation also applies to screenshots.

The Quick Access Doc

As referenced in the video above the dock (the bottom row of icons) is now different in iOS 11.  


The vertical line between OneNote and Photos in the above example divides permanent residents of the doc (on the left) from recently used apps (on the right). The recent apps are very helpful should a student want to enter either hovering mode or split screen. A swipe up to reveal the doc, followed by the dragging up of any icon on it will enable the hover effect, and a slide up on the hovering window will put it into split screen mode (in supported apps).  The app switcher also now remembers split screen app pairs (photo below). 


Finally please note that some of the previously used school apps are no longer compatible with iOS 11 (Whack-a-Bone for example). The administration is aware of that and will be installing alternatives where necessary.  To make my point in one statement: iOS 11 is a great update; go ahead and install it on your children’s iPads (simply navigate to Settings, General, Software Update to grab it)!  Please feel free to reach out me at if you run into any issues installing it.

Note that iOS 11 is only available for iPad Mini 2 or newer and iPad Air 1 or newer.