George Lucas Educational Foundation
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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.

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Terry Heick's picture
Terry Heick
founder/director at teachthought. humanist. technologist. futurist. macro thinker extraordinaire.

On the surface the announcement almost seemed a little underwhelming, but Apple does very little that ends up underwhelming. If nothing else this should provide a model for others to streamline and follow.

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Mike Papierski's picture
Mike Papierski
Principal at LaGrange Highlands Middle School

I am disappointed in Apple's philosophy about putting so many apps. and now textbooks on the ipads and not laptops. Our district has spent over a million dollars in the past three years to give our students the opportunity to use technology to its fullest in the classroom. Now Apple comes out with an announcement that $14.99 textbooks will be only available on the ipad II. This puts our students at a disadvantage because we purchased laptops to allow them to produce high tech products and presentations, as well as, "teach them the way they live" and now Apple short changes our students. :(

Jenn B's picture

Here are the things that I wonder:

1. What happens when the student's iPad gets lost/stolen/broken? How do they access the itext?

2. Are all the extras (videos, links, etc) accessible without an internet connection? (many students at my school do not have internet at home)

3. If I understand correctly, each student buys their copy of the itext. This is theirs now or does the school somehow keep that and pass it to the next student that needs it? If the student keeps it, then in some cases it will actually cost the student more. (i.e. 5-year adoption times 2 for semester classes; $15x2x5 = $150. Of course, year-long classes would end up being cheaper.)

3. Which leads to my next 'wondering'...there are 1100 students in my high school. (one of 4) Each one has their own schedule, and changes happen up to a couple weeks into the semester. How do they get their itext? They have to go on iBooks and buy it themselves? (which brings me back to the students with free and reduced)

I am very intrigues by the latest development and look forward to giving this all a try. I just wonder how this will all work out and if it is as good as it sounds?!?

Stacey Komsa's picture
Stacey Komsa
6th grade English/Language Arts Teacher from Chestertown, MD

All the students in my school got to take their school distributed ipod touches home last year. (That is if their parent signed a release form.) We had class sets that they could use if they forgot it at home or broke them (which many of them did.)

For the students that did not have internet at home, they could take snapshots of assignments or sites that they needed to use for homework. It seems like a hassle, but ended up being very easy to do. They got use to making sure they had all the information saved before they left class.

This year they aren't allowed to take them home, but we do have the class set, all synced with the same apps. If they can sync the apps, I'm sure they can sync the text books. We haven't dabbled in itexts yet, but it sounds like it is a lot more affordable if the technology is already in place.

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