Opinions on the New Apple Classroom Software

Lizzie L, Journalist

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 New software that came with the mac Mojave OS update was an advanced Apple Classroom. Apple Classroom is a software that allows your teachers to be able to monitor your screen thoroughly and shut it off. Some benefits that teachers believe this software brings are that they can make sure everyone is working on something for their class, and if the teacher wanted to have everyone on the same screen, he could change it to that. The way that Apple introduced the software was that it was a way to “guide learning, share work, and manage student devices.” Along with everything else, teachers can mute the sound on a student’s laptop if the sound becomes distracting.

From a student’s point of view, this software could quickly come across as invasive or unnecessary. A student should be able to have a student-teacher trust bond, and this demolishes that. One student said, “None of my teachers use Apple Classroom, but I know of a couple of teachers who do, and I think it betrays trust between the teacher and student, and I think it is a bit too far, and it makes me uncomfortable. There are no pros to this software, in my opinion.” Said Harrison, and 8th grader. These results are what I would imagine the majority of the student population would say or agree with. 

From a teacher’s point of view, it makes more sense why someone would want to use this software. The teachers don’t view this as an invasion of privacy, more so a way to keep students on task and prevent them from gaming, shopping, or doing anything else distracting. An in-depth interview with one teacher gave us more insight into the app. 

Do you use Classroom? “Occasionally, I use it. I prefer to watch screens from behind in the back of the Classroom, but when I can’t, I use it.” 

Is the software an invasion of privacy? “It depends on how you use it. If you use it in a way that is similar to standing behind the students and watching the screens, no it isn’t, if I were to watch your screen when you aren’t in my class, then yes I would see it as an invasion of privacy.” 

Why would you use it? “Mainly, I would use it to make sure my students are on task in class. My job as a teacher is to provide the students with the best learning environment, and when the students are off task, they don’t have that learning environment, so it helps to monitor the student and helps the students to self-monitor.”

What are some pros of this? “Other than monitoring for a test, if there is something we are doing as a class, I can push that out, and everybody will be looking at the same screen. You can make sure students are only looking at their test, and that’s it.” 

What are some cons of this? “There is a fine line between monitoring and invading privacy. The idea of when it becomes a tool for teachers to “catch” students doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, then that can be a potential misuse of the program. The key to using it is the communication between the students and the faculty. The students and the teacher need to communicate about how the software is being used for both parties. Trust is a big part of this app.” The interviewee was Mr. Mackey an 8th-grade journalism teacher.

In conclusion, this software can be an excellent addition for the students and teachers when used correctly. If the trust bond is broken, things can quickly go awry. There should be a contract enforced almost a type of RUP to implement the rules of this app. With the ability to see absolutely everything that is being done on the computer, a standard has to be put into place. One rule should be that the teacher has to agree to turn off the monitor after the period is over. From interviews, the students think it is ok for the teachers to use it in class, as long as that is entirely it. Although the software has some complications, this can be an excellent way to keep the course on task.