So yesterday Apple announced how it will revolutionise education with iOS. The quick answer is by selling lots of iPads and taking commission on text book sales. This is marketing utopia. The focus of the product release was aimed at K-12 education - high schools / secondary schools. So how will Apple change the classroom for ever? By replacing the text book with the iPad, of course what else? What did you expect, maybe to replace the teacher with the iPad and have a new social network 'Ting’ answer any questions.
The solution to education is iBooks 2 which supports a new authoring tool from Apple which will be free. The text books will be submitted to iTunes in the same fashion as Apps, and go through a review process. Presumably for functionality not accuracy and correctness. No textbook can cost more than $14.99. Apple will take their standard 30%.
So how will an iPad actually change the text book? The solution supports rich media, note taking (although the demo of this looked awkward), search, and quizzes. This is a big ask from the publisher, how many text book authors have 3d modelling skills to demonstrate a concept, or video content to illustrate their point? I think its great, and if the content is created at a high enough quality then this could be a wonderful learning tool. In the UK it could change the textbook industry and boost the BBC / Open University to a premium position. They have heaps of rich media content and now have the opportunity to add text and wrap it up in a more compelling package.
But there are a few areas I believe are missing and clearly must come in the future. Perhaps the most obvious is the kindle feature of shared highlights between readers, or the ability for a class to socially communicate between each other around the textbook but limited to their class. It brings the text book half way to Internet generation.
A well as iBooks 2 and an authoring tool Apple are providing new planning tools to support schools. They are also extended their already successfully iTunes 2 so K12 level can have access.
Will this change education? If the teaching staff adopt it with the and embrace it as they did by adopted computers when I was a kid then - no freaking way!
But we have a younger generation of teachers now, who are IT literate and grew up with a computer. If this format is more to the pallet of pupils and we can reach a stage where kids consume the text book more rapidly or even in a different format within school then the impact could be huge. This is key so teachers have more time with the kids to overcome the areas that need support and to inspire.
The different format could really help those who suffer from learning difficulties, and greatly improve the experience for those with various impairments such as sight. The text book could be listened to.
I struggle to see this working to its max and with no prejudice across social class barriers, which in my opinion is a serious problem.
It does feel like a very clever marketing strategy to increase sales of iOS and generate millions of Apple FanBoys and FanGirls. We learnt yesterday that there were 1.5 million iPads in the education system. This really could establish Apple for a long time into the future.,
If at all successful this move will result in success for Apple at the University / College level. Students leaving secondary level bound to the iPad text book will not be pleased with a heavy, static, probably damaged, textbook. In addition Apple are under threat of various tablet innovations from the Android market targeting education. If they sit back and do nothing, school leavers may all be running around as Android fan boys.
I believe this can really have an impact on education, and as with ALL technology it will be down to the people who implement it. Apple need to run teaching training courses to ensure this solution has the biggest impact it can.
Will it revolutionise education, I who knows, but let's hope so. The hope is what makes it such a powerful marketing message.
I fully expect Apple will sell a LOT of iPads and text books. It's just too irresistible for a secondary school to not interact- assuming budgets allow. Apple should offer educational discounted iPads.
The education system is out of date, I would be keen to see a bigger change with focus on vocational skills, problem solving, social skills and project ability. My 9 year old is currently doing a class project which copies the young apprentice (a uk tv show with Alan Sugar). Through designing a company logo, a Product and calculating costs, profit margin etc the groups within the class are engaging in multiple elements of their curriculum, while competing and having fun. And gaining entrepreneur / business skills This has nothing to do with a text book, instead it is inspired and innovation from the teacher.