Like all things Apple-related, the January 19th announcement was filled with speculation and most of the facts were leaked out in advance. With the release of iBooks 2, Apple is trying to turn the education textbook world on its head. Here are some important things to consider now that Apple has jumped into the textbook world of education.
1. Textbooks for $14.99 or less
Apple says their textbooks will be available on the iBooks 2 app and created by McGraw Hill, Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. These textbooks can be purchased once and updated for free. No longer will students need to pay crazy prices for textbooks that come with CD's for interactive content. Once you buy the book, you own it for life.
2. Interactive without the CD
In the past, textbooks would come along with CDs that provide extra materials for the student to go over and use along with their textbook. Now, the iBook will have interactive elements. Videos, diagrams, active links and photo galleries. Students will now have everything they need in the palm of their hand.
3. iBooks Author App
Now you can be the publisher! I'm most excited about this development. As an English teacher, I now have the ability to put together the stories, lessons, notes and links that I want and share it with my students. I can upload it to the iBookstore and even save it as a PDF. Students can have access to everything I want them to without having to deal with the excess material that I do not use in our textbook. Also, much of what I teach for most of the year is in the public domain, so I could actually create a completely free ebook for my students.
4. iTunes U App
People can now access classes from some of the top universities from the comfort of their couch with their iPad. People will have access to over 500,000 lessons, lectures, videos and other materials through the app. This is a great way for people to explore their passions.
Only time will tell how much of an impact this initiative will have in the world of education. This entire premise is based on the concept that all students will have an iDevice. This will work wonders in 1:1 schools, but will not matter in other districts without Apple products. The big announcement was big, but impacts a small group in the education world. If anything, this might push more districts toward Apple and 1:1 programs. For now, it's an exciting step in moving education further into the 21st century.