The Ultimate Guide To Apple’s New Education Initiative

Apple has just unveiled their latest attempt to rethink an entire market. It’s not a new tablet, phone, or even a device at all. Today at the Guggenheim, Apple announced how it will essentially get more school districts to buy iPads. But it’s not just about the money, there’s some amazing software that’s rethinking the tried-and-true textbook publishing model.

Below are excerpts from the world’s best news sources who are live-blogging and in attendance at the event. From them you’ll be able to understand exactly what the new software is, what it does, and how it will affect you and your classroom.

What Apple Announced

1: Textbooks for iPad, which became available by way of a new textbook category in iBooks 2, provide students with a modern, interactive replacement for conventional printed textbooks. They support multitouch gestures and also feature dictionary look-up integration and annotation. Students can highlight text, take notes and even create virtual note cards to reference later while studying. -BGR

2: Apple has also announced iBooks Author (more details below) which lets you create your own textbooks. Users can even insert custom Javascript or HTML5 code into eBooks using iBooks Author.

3: Apple is also turning its academic audio and video product, iTunesU, into a platform for creating full online classes through its iPad. The company launched a free dedicated app on Thursday that lets teachers combine audio, video and iBooks into courses. Teachers can create a complete syllabus and even add office hours and assignments. -Mashable

iTunes U Is Changing

The new iTunes U application for iPad unveiled by Apple on Thursday will allow college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

In its presentation to the press, Apple showed off an online course from Duke for “Core Concepts in Chemistry.” In the iTunes U application, students can get an overview of the course, view teacher details, obtain the class syllabus, and even access information like the teacher’s office hours. The iTunes U application for iPad has sections for “Info,” “Posts,” “Notes” and “Materials.” In the “Posts” section, teachers can provide updates to students, including assignments.

The assignments can even be context sensitive, allowing a student to tap on it and automatically be sent to the appropriate section of a textbook in iBooks. When an assignment is completed, it can be crossed off of the included task list. In the “Notes” tab, users can access and modify their class notes, even highlighting certain text. And the “Materials” tab shows off all of the material for a course, including textbooks, videos, audio, and documents. -AppleInsider

iTunes 10.5.3 Just Released

Apple on Thursday released an updated version of its iTunes software following a series of announcements made during the company’s press conference in New York City. The Cupertino, California-based firm unveiled its new interactive iPad textbook product alongside iBooks 2 Thursday morning, and it also took the wraps off of an updated iTunes U service that includes new tools for teachers and a new iPad app. To accommodate Apple’s new features, the company also pushed out iTunes 10.5.3, which is available for download immediately. Apple’s official change log follows below.

What’s new in iTunes 10.5.3

iTunes 10.5.3 allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad. These Multi-Touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.

iBooks textbooks are created with iBooks Author — now available as a free download on the Mac App Store

For information on the security content of this update, please visit:support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

“Reinventing The Textbook” With iBooks 2

Phil Schiller has just taken to the stage and announced the first half of Apple’s platform that’s going to “reinvent the textbook:” iBooks 2. Saying that there were 1.5 million iPads currently in use in Education (using 20,000 specific apps), the revamped book-stand now includes education-specific features to help the budding students of the world. You’ll be able to paw through content, stopping to flick through detailed 3D animated models of elements within, access video and definitions without leaving the page.

VP of Productivity Applications, Roger Rosner said that “Clearly, no printed book can compete with this:” given the constantly-updated data available, that’s kinda obvious. Still, you’ll be able to read in a text-heavy portrait or picture-biased landscape mode and there’s also the option to have random pop-quizzes appear to keep you on your toes. Annotations is an integral part of the system: you can add stickies to individual pages and aggregate them into virtual 3 x 5-inch note-cards for revision during finals. You’ll also get the same purchase, download and re-download rights you enjoy in the company’s other stores.

The company’s partnered (initially) with textbook makers Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as the trio are responsible for 90 percent of all textbooks sold. It’s available today from the App store and it’s free — whilst textbooks themselves will cost $14.99 or less, a far cry from the dead-tree textbooks we shelled out $80 for in college — with Biology and High School science launching today. -Engadget

The Big Problem(s) For Apple

It’s not clear how Apple plans to get it front of students, however, since textbooks are subject to lengthy approval processes by states. Also, few students have iPads, which start at $499. -Huffington Post

Outdated As Soon As It’s Printed

Heavy textbooks, students just don’t bother bringing to class. “Kids don’t need to use the same tools they did in the 1950s” How “outdated textbooks” makes it difficult. Paper textbooks don’t keep up with the latest information – it’s outdated as soon as it’s printed.

“That just prepares them for something in the past.” -SlashGear

iBooks Author App Lets You Make Your Own Textbooks

In order to develop those textbooks, however, Apple has launched a new application. Dubbed iBooks Author, the free Mac OS X application lets authors create both textbooks and books. The application includes templates to quickly create books, but users can also drag-and-drop images and video into the title. To add text, Apple lets users drag-and-drop a Word file from Finder into a chapter. The application then automatically creates sections and headers.

So, where can the textbooks be found? According to Apple, iBooks 2 is an application that’s downloaded from the App Store to the iPad for free. Once purchased–for $14.99 or less, Apple says–the textbooks can be redownloaded at no charge. A textbook section has also been added to the iBooks store. -CNet

Apple’s iBooks 2 is available starting today.

Where To View The New Textbooks

The books will be featured in a new Textbook section on the iBookstore and the ones that are currently up on the store are running 1GB+ in size, a good reason to buy your kids an iPad model with lots of storage. They will cover grades 7-12 and current examples run around $15. -TheNextWeb

It’s All About Immediate Feedback

Biolgist E.O. Wilson introduces a new digital textbook, which features multitouch, video, navigation via thumbnails, etc. “These are gorgeous, gorgeous books. They’re really in a class by themselves.” So here I will point out that the most obvious issue here is the same one that magazine publishers faced during initial iPad launch — someone needs to figure out how to pay for a system where you can build all this new cool digital stuff while you continue to publish your old paper-and-ink products. After some initial experiments, most magazine guys have retreated to more or less republishing the existing product with a few bells and whistles.

Quizzes and review questions built into book. “The bottom line is: Immediate feedback.” Can highlight text with finger, change color, etc. Add notes. Turn notes into study cards. Can turn glossary terms into study cards. “No more ever having to make paper flashcards, right?” -AllThingsD

The Notecard Is Now Obsolete

It’s hard to get excited about textbooks, until you see something like this: Apple just made the notecard obsolete forever. No more index cards, no more boxes—no paper. iBooks 2 turns your reading habits into instant study help.

With the new iBooks 2 textbooks, anything you search or highlight will automatically generate a study card to be used later. Reading about the Franco-Prussian War, or genetics? Anything you highlight, look up, or take a note on becomes a card for reference and self-quizzing. No more keeping track of cards—organization will be easy, simple, and invaluable when exam time hits. This is a beautiful example of a device gracefully eliminating something mundane—who has time for rubberbands and those dumb index card containers? We need to study and learn things. Your iPad just became a very fine tutor. -Gizmodo

An $8 Billion Market

Apple unveiled a new digital textbook service called iBooks 2 on Thursday, aiming to revitalize the U.S. education market and quicken the adoption of its market-leading iPad.

The consumer electronics giant has been working on digital textbooks with publishers Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Muffin Harcourt, a trio responsible for 90 percent of textbooks sold in the United States. Amazon.com Inc and other device makers have made inroads into an estimated $8 billion market for electronic textbooks.

At the event, Apple introduced tools to craft digital textbooks and demonstrated how authors and even teachers can create books for students. Marketing chief Phil Schiller said it was time to reinvent the textbook, adding that 1.5 million iPads are in use now in education. “It’s hard not to see that the textbook is not always the ideal learning tool,” he said. “It’s a bit cumbersome.”

IBooks 2 will be available as a free app on the iPad, starting Thursday. High school textbooks will be priced at $14.99 or less, Schiller said. “You’ll see textbooks for every subject for every level,” he added. Other media and technology companies have eyed the U.S. education market as ripe for some sort of upheaval. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp launched an education business two years ago and hired former New York City Education Chancellor Joel Klein to lead it.

At an event at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, the first since the passing of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Schiller said teachers need help and Apple is trying to figure out how it can do its part. “In general, education is in the dark ages,” he said, adding that education has challenges that are “pretty profound.” According to Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, Murdoch met with Jobs last year and discussed the possibility of Apple’s entrance into a market Jobs estimated at $8 billion a year and believed was ripe for disruption. -Chicago Tribune

Textbooks Have Never Made It Easy

“I don’t think there’s ever been a textbook that made it this easy to be a good student,” The Verge quoted Rosener as saying.

The digital textbooks exhibited at the event included easy access to glossary items, interactive graphics and the ability to highlight text and take notes on the iPad while reading the text, then turn any of those items into study cards kept on the tablet device.

iBooks 2 is a free app that also provides access to iBookstore, where the textbooks will be sold; it is available today, Schiller said. Surprisingly, iBook Author will also be a free application, though similar iWork software can cost hundreds of dollars.

Textbooks will be available through the iBookstore, and Apple announced that it has signed deals with three major textbook publishers, such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which Schiller said make 90 percent of the textbooks on the market. Textbooks for high schools will cost $14.99 or less. -Mercury News

Textbooks “Wear Out”

Schiller was on stage to present and told the audience that “Kids are getting smarter thanks to their tablets, whether they’re older and studying for finals or​ kids playing a Dora game.”

But that kids faced challenges in education, adding “The truth is, if you’re a high school student in the US, it’s not easy. If you are one of the ones that are lucky enough to work hard and graduate, you may not be best prepared to compete in a global environment.” Schiller added that, among industrialized nations, the US fell well behind, coming in at 17th in reading, 21st in math and 23rd in the sciences globally.

“No one company can fix it all,” added Schiller.”One place we think we can help is in student engagement. There are over 20,000 education and learning applications built specifically for the iPad” Schiller also announced that there are also 1.5 million iPads in use in education. He then announced two Apple initiatives, the first of which is “reinventing the textbook”. Textbooks are heavy and expensive, and wear out. The content is “amazing”, said Schiller, but they wear out. -TheNextWeb

Duke, Stanford, Yale, MIT, and iTunes U

10:45 a.m.: Apple’s Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services, takes the stage to talk about iTunes U, McCracken reports. He says there have been 700,000,000 downloads so far; the majority are lectures.

10:48 a.m.: Apple’s introducing an iTunes U app that lets teachers put syllabi and other materials on an iPad app.

10:50 a.m.: Can show streaming lectures, video, as well as course materials, readings, assignment tracking, etc., CNET reports.

10:53 a.m.: Duke, Stanford, Yale, MIT and two others have already had access to the courses, and created over 100 courses on it. Opening up for K-12 schools as well, Stern reports.

10:54 a.m.: iTunes U app is free today from the App Store.

10:55 a.m.: You can download the app from the store today.

10:56 a.m.: Stern reports Cue says, “We hope that educators are going to look back on today’s announcements as fondly as our earlier work.” -Washington Post

Education Cannot Be A Business Product

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam said education cannot be categorised as a business product or system and only great teachers can inspire quality learning. Addressing the students of Maharaja Sayajirao University and Prince Ashokraje Gaekwad School at two separate functions here last night, Kalam said, “It is not the great building or a great facility or great advertisements which give quality, but loveable education and great teachers do.”

“Education at the primary level has to be delivered in an integrated way by great teachers through great syllabus and by promoting affinity between parents, students and teachers. It cannot be business product or system,” he said.

He suggested educational institutions to introduce cutting edge technologies for enabling the students to make faster progress in their learning process. Capacity building through education will enable students to deal with the real world, particularly to grow in their professional career and participate in the national development, he said.

Research creativity, innovation, ability to use high technology, entrepreneurial leadership, and moral leadership capacities are to be built up among students in their formative years by educational institutions for their participation in nation building tasks, Kalam said.

“If we develop in all our students these five capacities, we will produce ‘Autonomous Learner’ a self-directed, self controlled, lifelong learner who will have the capacity to both respect authority and at the same time is capable of questioning authority, in an appropriate manner,” he said. -The Economic Times

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9 Comments

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  4. garystager

    January 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Correct/Wrong in multiple-choice or flaschard questions is HARDLY feedback.

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