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Apple Invents a Modern Framework for Progress Tracking in a Classroom Setting

1 Cover Apple Education client server architecture


In March 2018 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Delivered a Passionate Keynote to Educators Today while introducing a new iPad with Apple Pencil & Specialty Software." Apple's CEO Tim Cook opened his keynote in Chicago on education by stating: "We love creativity and curiosity and we know that our products can help bring out the creative genius in every kid. That's why education is such a big part of who we are as a company, and has been for 40 years." The day before the keynote, Apple kick started their next decade in the education market with a major patent application regarding a new software framework for progress tracking in a classroom setting to assist educators.


Apple's patent application begins with an overview of what they're invention is to correct in the education system. Apple states that ever since the invention of audio visual (AV) devices such as televisions, projection systems, and tape decks, school districts and instructors have been incorporating materials into their lesson plans that utilize these devices to provide information to students in new and engaging ways. Instructors were not merely limited to textbooks, lectures, and written assignments. With the advent of the information age, the Internet has opened new horizons in the classroom. Instructors can now draw from a nearly unlimited resource of information in order to create interactive lesson plans that are engaging and productive.


However, the tools available to instructors when developing these lesson plans are limited. For example, a Wikipedia article may provide useful background material on a particular subject. Nevertheless, the instructor may not have a good option to share the article with their students.


The instructor could print out the article on paper hand-outs, which was the traditional way to distribute such materials to students. However, this method is wasteful and loses some of the interactive elements (e.g., animations, hyperlinks, etc.) of the article as presented online.


Alternatively, the instructor could email a hyperlink for the article to each of their students to view on a computing device at home or provided by the school. While such methods allow the students to view the article within the proper context to interact with the interactive elements embedded within the article, there is no way for the instructor to track whether each student clicked on the hyperlink or even whether each student actually read through the entire article.


Apple's invention in short relates to a client-server architecture that enables progress tracking related to assignments generated by an instructor.


A hand-out can include attachments that specify placeholders for hand-ins and/or activities to be performed by the student as part of the assignment. Some activities can be performed using third-party applications that implement at least a portion of a software framework that causes the applications to generate progress tracking information provided to a daemon executing in the background of a client device.


The daemon and/or a client application interface with one or more network services to enable an instructor to utilize the progress tracking information. The network services can include a hand-out service utilized to generate hand-outs assigned to a group of students. The network services can also include a progress pipeline including a number of services configured to process progress tracking information received from a plurality of client devices.


Apple's patent FIG. 2 below illustrates a client-server architecture implemented to enable progress tracking for client devices in the classroom setting.


2 x Apple school system fig 2


Apple's patent FIG. 3 below illustrates a graphical user interface of the client application.


3 apple school system figs. 3  6a  b and 6c


Apple's patent FIGS. 6A-6E (partly above and partly below) illustrate a graphical user interface of the client application.


4 Apple Schools figs 6d  6e


Apple's patent FIG. 7 above illustrates a client-server relationship between the hand-out service and a number of client application(s) and/or daemon(s) associated with a plurality of students in a class.


Apple's patent FIG. 9 illustrates a client-server relationship between the hand-in service and a number of client application(s) and/or daemon(s) for a plurality of students in a class.


5 Apple System Figs 9 and 12


Apple's patent FIG. 12 above illustrates the progress pipeline.


Apple's Commitment to Privacy


Apple is a committed Industry leader when it comes to privacy issues and Apple extends this philosophy into this new education system.


Apple notes in their patent filing that the present disclosure contemplates that the entities responsible for the collection, analysis, disclosure, transfer, storage, or other use of such personal information data will comply with well-established privacy policies and/or privacy practices.


In particular, such entities should implement and consistently use privacy policies and practices that are generally recognized as meeting or exceeding industry or governmental requirements for maintaining personal information data private and secure.


Such policies should be easily accessible by users, and should be updated as the collection and/or use of data changes. Personal information from users should be collected for legitimate and reasonable uses of the entity and not shared or sold outside of those legitimate uses.


Further, such collection/sharing should occur after receiving the informed consent of the users. Additionally, such entities should consider taking any needed steps for safeguarding and securing access to such personal information data and ensuring that others with access to the personal information data adhere to their privacy policies and procedures.


Further, such entities can subject themselves to evaluation by third parties to certify their adherence to widely accepted privacy policies and practices. In addition, policies and practices should be adapted for the particular types of personal information data being collected and/or accessed and adapted to applicable laws and standards, including jurisdiction-specific considerations. For instance, in the US, collection of or access to certain health data may be governed by federal and/or state laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); whereas health data in other countries may be subject to other regulations and policies and should be handled accordingly. Hence different privacy practices should be maintained for different personal data types in each country.


Apple's patent application 20190297155 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q1 2019. Previous work on this dates back to March 2018, the day before Apple's education keynote in Chicago.


For educators wanting to drill down into Apple's patent filing for more details, click here. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.




John "Jake" Baumgarten: Engineering Manager .Mac / iCloud / School-ClassKit / Apple Pay

Sugam Jain: Senior Manager

Leo Lee: Engineering Manager, iOS, software development, management, education.

Pavel Dudrenov: Senior System Applications Programmer

Marin Eubanks: iOS Engineer

Saman Ghili: Data Scientist

Sam Vafaee: iOS Engineer & Designer

Jennifer Song: Ex-Engineering Manager, left for employment at Slack


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