Just a couple of weeks ago it was hard for me to justify paying nearly double for the newest generation of Apple TV for classrooms compared to the previous generation. In my living room tons of great entertainment apps make the difference well worth the money. In the classroom there have not been many reasons to not just buy the cheaper model since Airplay is really the feature most want.
My thinking is starting to change now that educational entities are starting to code for the TVOS platform. There is still a lot of space for growth but three key players are charting a course through these open waters.
Epic – Think “Netflix meets Childrens Lit.” This great site is full of the latest children’s fiction and non-fiction and is 100% free for elementary teachers and librarians. These aren’t poorly made ebooks; they are digital versions of some of the most-loved and newest books on the market. With the AppleTV app teachers can display the book on the big screen and read it aloud to the class. No more sore arms and no more hearing, “I can’t see,” as you try to read a picture book aloud to the class. Several books even have a “read to me” feature.
BrainPop Jr. – Movie of the Week – BrainPop has been producing great non-fiction animated shorts for years and now has brought its K-3 focused “Brain Pop Jr. Movie of the Week” to TVOS. Check out a different one each week with included educational activities. BrainPop Jr. subscribers can also login and access even more content.
Seesaw – This digital portfolio suite is taking classrooms by storm and now it comes to the Apple TV. Teachers can log in to their classroom accounts and share on a big screen examples of student work or create slide shows and galleries. Think of how cool that would be to have playing during conferences or parents’ night. Parents can log in to the app at home and then be connected with their child’s individual portfolio. Now there is a great way for kids to show off some accomplishments the next time grandparents come to visit.
There are other non-education-specific apps too that could lend themselves to the educational setting. Word Girl and Super Why are great programs available through the PBS Kids app and a number of virtual planetariums are now available on TVOS.
Let’s hope that more educational entities continue to write for Apple’s newest platform, further bolstering an argument for choosing the newest generation of Apple TV over the previous generation.