iLearn with Apple Jan 21
Education is all set to be revolutionized. Apple, at an event on Thursday, made its big announcement that can redefine the process of learning at school. American students going to schools, colleges and universities are all set to witness a revolution, in the form of digitization of textbooks and course materials, through iPads.
iBook Author, a new software launched by Apple, is targeted at textbook publishers which will enable them to optimize textbooks for iPad. Another app, iBook 2 (an updated version of iBooks) will make note taking inside class room easier.
“One thing we hear louder than anything else is student engagement, inspiring kids to want to discover and learn,” Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said. “That’s why we get excited to see student reactions to iPads in the classroom.” Textbooks on iPads, Schiller opined, will be a welcome relief for students. He branded physical textbooks as “too heavy, expensive, not portable, not durable, and not interactive”.
The first set of digital textbooks are now available for download at $15. Apple has tied up with Houghton Mifflin, Pearson and McGraw-Hill for bringing high school textbooks to students. Currently about 1.5 million iPads are used in classrooms and over 20,000 learning and teaching apps have been developed for iOS, Apple informed. iBook 2 could make the numbers soar further.
Apart from iBook 2, Apple also launched an iPhone and iPad app for iTunes U. This will help teachers in creating syllabi, publishing class notes or even sharing class lectures.
Although we all must applaud Apple for their path breaking feat, we must also ponder if this project is feasible at all. Say, there are thirty five students in a classroom. Procuring an iPad (worth $499 each) for every student would cost the school $17465 per class. The total budget for a school to do away with physical textbooks, would therefore run into millions. How many schools will be able to afford that?
Despite seeming hurdles, a long journey begins with a small step. We must therefore pin our hopes on Apple and pray that education becomes fun and engaging for students. What do you say?
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