With the iPad out now for nearly three years now and already in the hands of millions of teachers and students around the globe their seemed to be a clear void in the purpose for bringing them into a classroom. This was of course beyond a range of useful apps targeted at specific areas of the curriculum such as some of the ones we have identified in the past.
There was no real connection between the teacher, student and the iPad that was intended by apple to actually enhance teaching and learning.
Today in New York, Apple went some way to addressing that and will surely start a frenzy of digital publishing to meet their vision as outlined below by introducing three new and / or improved products for the iPad.
Here is the official and quite corny promo video for all of these products fro Apple with a breakdown of each below it.
Beyond being that annoying icon on your iPad that you could never put into another folder and iBooks had never really been a great success for Apple who had dominated music and apps because most people who wanted to read an e-book would do so on a kindle which had a monstrous catalogue, much cheaper price point and genuine battery life.
Apple's solution to this was quite innovative as per usual and that is to reinvent the e-book for today's students. An e-book will look a text book from the 1950's up against some of the example texts Apple have created which you can see below.
This was probably what every company in the world wanted to do with e-books already but didn't already have hundreds of millions of devices in users hands and billions in the bank to develop and refince e-books.
iBooks 2 looks amazing is packed with multilayered, text images and data which is always up to date with the press of a button and offers students the ability to take notes, images and information and use it as they desire.
Take a look at it here.
iTunes U builds on iBooks but also incorporates Apples own learning management system where teachers, professors, publishers can not only publish great content but also set tasks, projects, lectures and link to any area of the web to develop a purpose for the iPad.
iTunes U now offers a syllabus, teacher bio and a course description and overview. You can get assignments here, bringing you to specific parts of your textbook. you can also keep tabs on homework and course material, and highlight and take notes on texts.
iBooks Authoring Tool
This is the kicker from Apple that will really accelerate the growth of this platform and make paper and pulp publishers totally rethink what they are doing. iBooks Author looks to be ( As I have not yet trialled it - I will access it shortly and let you know my thoughts ) a beautiful drop and drag, WYSIWYG publishing tool to turn that 5 kg door stop book on human anatomy into a 21st century text book kids will be excited to open again. Once again it simplifies the publishing process in the same manner Garageband and iMovie did ten years ago with audio and video. Take a look below.
Obviously there are many questions still to be answered in the real world about iPad's and education and their worthiness on a book list which we will explore in greater detail in future but there is now after three years a clear commitment, business plan and opportunity for Educational publishers to deliver curriculum like never before.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Apple's latest keynote and quest for world domination.