ClassKit: Everything you need to know

ClassKit — like SiriKit, HomeKit, and HealthKit — is a framework that developers can use to add new education-based features to their apps. Adopting ClassKit lets developers create apps that work with Schoolwork, giving teachers the tools they need to assign activities and students the tools they need to report their progress.

Here's everything you need to know about ClassKit.

April 2, 2018 - Apple releases ClassKit documentation for registered developers.

Registered Apple developers looking to use ClassKit for their educational apps can check out the documentation regarding Apple's new framework. The company has now published the developer documentation, providing an overview and several topics regarding ClassKit.

You can learn how to incorporate ClassKit, test your ClassKit-enabled app, use the framework's various classes, and learn how to handle errors.

ClassKit is currently in beta as part of iOS 11.4.

Back up a second — what exactly is ClassKit?

To understand ClassKit, you need to know about Schoolwork, Apple's new app for education. Schoolwork gives teachers a tool to distribute and collect assignments, track student progress, and collaborate with students. The app gives students a place to turn in assignments, track their own progress, and collaborate with their teachers. ClassKit is a framework that lets developers create apps that work with Schoolwork.

Neat, so what can developers do with ClassKit?

Developers will be able to guide students and teachers through their educational apps by defining and displaying assignable content.

Here's how that would play out:

  • a teacher assigns an activity from a developer's app
  • the student sees the assignment in their own Schoolwork app
  • the student taps on the assignment and is taken directly to the activity within the developer's app

Apps will also be able to track and report student progress. As a student completes an activity, the app may report time spent on the activity, percentage of completion of the activity, scores, etc.

That's pretty cool! What does that mean for privacy, though?

Apple has baked in privacy protections for Schoolwork and ClassKit. Here's what the company says regarding student privacy:

Schoolwork only receives and displays student progress data for activities a teacher explicitly assigns, and only when students use the Managed Apple ID that was created for them by their school on their device. If your app already uses a student account to enable certain features, ClassKit does not associate that account with the Managed Apple ID that the student uses.

Got it. So when can developers start using ClassKit?

Soon. Apple says developers will be able to build apps that work with Schoolwork (i.e. adopt the ClassKit framework) with the Xcode 9.4 beta and iOS 11.4 beta. It doesn't stop there, though. You'll also need access to Apple School Manager and a beta version of Schoolwork for testing. If you create apps for schools, Apple has a contact form set up where developers can express interest in ClassKit. The company says it will notify developers when resources are available for testing.

Does that mean it could be awhile before we see apps that work with Schoolwork?

Nope! There are already several apps that are using ClassKit. Teachers can assign activities from these apps using Schoolwork and track student progress.

Thoughts? Questions?

Anything else you'd like to know about ClassKit? Be sure to leave your questions in the comments and we'll do our best to get it answered for you!

Mikah Sargent

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.