Apple’s Thursday Education Announcement

Errrr...let's hope it gets more promising...

Here’s where I’m watching a live update:

http://allthingsd.com/20120119/apples-education-announcement-live-from-new-york/

Let’s talk about it after!

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All of the live-blog content (in bolded, italicized font) from here on out has been taken from the AllThingsD post by Peter Kafka, which you can view in its entirety at the link above. My reactions and opinions immediately follow.

Books aren’t portable enough. Not durable enough. Not interactive. Not searchable. Can’t be updated. “The content is great,” though… (to be paired with the photo above) – I’ll admit, textbooks are kind of a drag. What I can’t really understand is the total abandonment Apple is taking with the aspects of the physical book. Yes, they are heavy and are retroactively old as soon as they are published (depending on the subject), but they are quite searchable- not only within chapters, but from the book-wide contents and indices provided [As an aside, I recently had the pleasure of listening to some school librarians complain about the horrendous searchability of some of their etextbooks based on the haphazard metadata and lack of ‘concepts’ featured within search fields]. What I would like to see with this digital leap, is the production of print supplements to the ‘etextbooks’, which can be used for classroom use for those students who thrive on learning that further benefits the tactile learners and those that increase memory power from writing and rewriting notes.

10:15 am: Still demoing. Quizzes and review questions built into book. “The bottom line is — immediate feedback.”
Can highlight text with finger, change color, etc. Add notes.
10:17 am: Turn notes into study cards. Can turn glossary terms into study cards. “No more ever having to make paper flash cards, right?” – Coolest.Features.Ever. Seriously, though. The ability to highlight without fear of Teacher disapproval, the ability to create flashcards (which could be utilized class-wide on a projector, for individual use, or created by the Teacher for test queues) are amazing advancements, and ones that are completely usable by every level of learner.

10:20 am: Now on to creation. “That’s just as important.”
iBooks Author (i.e., what people have been calling “GarageBand for books”).
“Easy to use, feature-rich,” Will work for any kind of book, not just textbooks. But “focused most of all” on textbooks.
10:21 am: Rosner back up. “Traditionally, creating electronics interactive books has been really hard.” We can fix that.
Uses some familiar iWork workflow. Drag and drop. Can type into editor or bring in Word files, etc. – Also super-excellent. Imagine every class creating their own digital textbook which could be used to send to parents for learning updates, homework help, and progress reports. Teachers could use this addition to provide digital lesson plans and progress reports to supervisors and for show-off’s for grant-writers. This is a key utilization for the normalcy so far, which is not the fanciful ‘1 iPad for every kid’ scenario, but the growing ‘1 iPad for every classroom’ realism that could happen within the next several years (in schools with the funding, of course).

Added on to the presentation are partnerships with major textbook publishers, which is a plus for the movement, as well as ridiculously low price-points (which I find too good to be true at this early juncture).

Are the days of lugging around seven classes worth of textbooks gone for good? Not yet, most likely, but with enough handshaking, listening, and understanding the needs of the market AND students, positive avenues are being built.

 

2/3/2012 UPDATED THOUGHTS:

This might be okay for colleges, who often have the freedom (and luxury) to assign what they will, however they choose. What does this mean, however, for high schools and middle schools whose budgets are already several months away from emptying, or who are trying to save at every avenue to avoid such a mishap?

Let’s read, and ponder, shall we?

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