Apple held their much-anticipated education event today in New York City.
They are targeting the K-12 market with a couple of initiatives.
The first initiative is iBooks 2, where textbooks will now be available alongside the rest of Apple’s ebook offerings. They have partnered with three major textbook publishers – McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The benefits of etextbooks – portable, affordable, interactive – are rather formidable. Textbooks will cost $14.99 or less at launch, just a fraction of current textbooks.
The overall affordability to replace a school district’s textbooks with iPads and etextbooks is questionable. Apple reportedly leases iPads to schools for $500 each for a 3-year lease. For a district with 2,000 students, that is a cost of $1,000,000 every three years. Textbook cost would be additional. That’s pretty steep, if not out of the question, for many school districts.
That being said, there are several advantages:
• More up-to-date textbooks. When new content is available, it could be easily downloaded to the iPad.
• More ways to learn – Students are no longer restricted to a physical textbooks. Etextbooks provide opportunities for student interaction as well as multimedia instruction,
• The ‘cool factor’ – Right or wrong, iPads are a sought-after commodity by many teenagers. It’s possible that by providing this technology in the classroom, more students may become engaged and interested.
• Better study aids – Highlighted text and notes can be extracted for studying. Glossary terms can be made into flash cards.
The second initiative is iBooks Author, a free app in the Mac App Store for authoring interactive books. With iBooks Author, you can very easily create an interactive book. Teachers could potentially use this to customize and present their coursework.
The third initiative is the expansion of iTunes U —- It’s not just for universities anymore. High school teachers will be able to post content there for their students — lecture notes, assignments, etc. Also, lectures can be streamed as well as downloaded.
For more details about today’s event, go to http://live.theverge.com/Event/Live_from_Apples_education_event_in_NYC?Page=0