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Apple leads pack in America's five year race to deploy digital textbooks

post #1 of 18
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Apple's newly minted iBooks Author initiative targeting dynamic digital textbooks for iPad-adopting schools is getting a strong push from the Obama administration, which has outlined a challenge for schools and the industry to make the move from old media over the next five years.

Speaking in Gahanna, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski unveiled an initiative to shift schools to digital textbooks over the next five years. The announcements come just two weeks after Apple released new tools to simplify the publishing and deployment of such texts.

"Do we want kids walking around with 50-pound backpacks and every book in those backpacks costing 50, 60, 70 dollars and many of them being out of date?" Duncan said in an interview with the Associated Press. "Or, do we want students walking around with a mobile device that has much more content than was even imaginable a couple years ago and can be constantly updated? I think it's a very simple choice."




The government has published a guide to promote the use of such digital textbooks, advocating a shift in resource spending from conventional paper books that typically remain in circulation for half a decade to tablet-based digital editions that can be updated live over the network.

In what sounded like an endorsement of Apple's iBooks 2.0, the FCC's Genachowski pointed out, "when a student reads a textbook and gets to something they don't know, they are stuck. Working with the same material on a digital textbook, when they get to something they don't know, the device can let them explore: It can show them what a word means, how to solve a math problem that they couldn't figure out how to solve."

"We're not talking about the print-based textbook now being digital. We're talking about a much more robust and interactive and engaging environment to support learning," the report cited Education Department office of education technology's Karen Cantor as saying.

Highlighted at the event was a transition from books to conventional laptops by Joplin, Missouri, which occured after several schools were wiped out by a tornado last spring. The report noted that the United Arab Emirates donated the funds needed to buy each student a laptop.

"The UAR gift was undoubtedly generous," wrote a reader commenting on the report, "but this country should be profoundly embarrassed that similar funding was not easily and immediately available in this country. What's wrong with us that we no longer fund our own technological advances?"

Angie Besendorfer, Joplin's district assistant superintendent, said the transition to digital textbooks has "proved difficult for some kids accustomed to a standard routine of answering questions at the end of a chapter," a specific feature addressed by Apple's iBooks Author tools.

She added, "it's a little bit more work on the side of the students in that they are having to think and problem solve and do things differently, and some of our kids are not so fond of that, whereas other kids like it a lot."

iBooks, iTunes U already in place

Apple isn't entirely alone in promoting the idea of digital textbooks. Amazon introduced a large format version of its eInk reader dubbed Kindle DX back in 2009, aimed at displaying textbooks and newspapers. Apple's strategy of delivering hardware and the authoring tools to create dynamic, engrossing content is unique however.

Other countries, notably South Korea, have had plans in place for years to push students to digital learning. In 2007, the nation initiated a plan to push tablets free to all students. It selected hardware built by LG and HP, essentially a Windows XP touch screen Tablet PC that costs $1,100 per unit.




In addition to digital texts, Apple has also encouraged higher education institutions to publish and distribute their educational video podcasts through iTunes U, an initiative the company recently enhanced (above) to serve full course material educators of all grades can use to plan classes and teaching programs, with integrated support for digital textbooks.




[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 18
This is going to be huge. No rivals on the horizon.
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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post #3 of 18
iBooks author looks great for K-8 stuff, and once it gets support for citations I can see it being great for secondary and college education. Heck, I could even see it being a much better alternative for scientific and technical publications once it is fixed. This could have a big impact on a number of fields.
post #4 of 18
Apple iBooks is an interesting technology, but it's hardly the new development it has so often been made out to be. Companies like Course Technology have been publishing multimedia digital textbooks for many years, including the best-selling New Perspectives on Computer Concepts, which has been delivered as a multimedia textbook for 11 editions.

The movement to multimedia textbooks is well underway and offers many significant advantages for students and teachers. There are technologies available today that go far beyond iBooks author in terms of features and support for a wide range of devices including iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Macs, Windows PCs, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, Android tablets, and Android smart phones.
post #5 of 18
I'd love to see a federal experimental evaluation of whether using iBooks really affects student outcomes in real-world schools. I'm sure it will come as a surprise to many here, but the feds actually do support some good studies of things like this. For example:

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal...accno=ED504657
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by VIProgrammer View Post

Apple iBooks is an interesting technology, but it's hardly the new development it has so often been made out to be. Companies like Course Technology have been publishing multimedia digital textbooks for many years, including the best-selling New Perspectives on Computer Concepts, which has been delivered as a multimedia textbook for 11 editions.

So when the website is down, you just don't have class that day. Got it.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by afrodri View Post

iBooks author looks great for K-8 stuff, and once it gets support for citations I can see it being great for secondary and college education. Heck, I could even see it being a much better alternative for scientific and technical publications once it is fixed. This could have a big impact on a number of fields.

In a decade or so we will hear kids saying things to their parents like 'Mommy, I just did a history course. Did you really have books made of paper that you couldn't search or update when you were at school, oh and what is a DVD?
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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post #8 of 18
The FCC's Genachowski is a major Apple fan. I've heard him praise his iPhone a number of times.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #9 of 18
Apple must absolutely not have this opportunity slip through their fingers . Apple seems to have nearly everything in place to be the first mover and it would be a damn shame for some Android vendor to just slip in with some cheap plastic tablet and take over. Apple should be able to throw more resources at this initiative than even the once mighty Microsoft. Apple would be doing schools and students a great disservice if they weren't aggressive enough in deploying iPads or special educational models to thousands of schools around the nation. There's no way those anti-Apple investors would say that Apple would have no future growth potential.

It would be such a major disruption and Apple would catch nearly every other company napping. I know there are going to be a lot of iHating politicians , but hopefully with the POTUS behind the initiative, things will actually start to move. I'm sure students, parents and teachers will be rather receptive, but I don't know about the educational system wanting to see changes made when so many purchasers are riding some sort of kickback gravytrain with traditional book suppliers.
post #10 of 18
The Internet ate my homework.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Apple must absolutely not have this opportunity slip through their fingers . Apple seems to have nearly everything in place to be the first mover and it would be a damn shame for some Android vendor to just slip in with some cheap plastic tablet and take over. Apple should be able to throw more resources at this initiative than even the once mighty Microsoft. Apple would be doing schools and students a great disservice if they weren't aggressive enough in deploying iPads or special educational models to thousands of schools around the nation. There's no way those anti-Apple investors would say that Apple would have no future growth potential.

It would be such a major disruption and Apple would catch nearly every other company napping. I know there are going to be a lot of iHating politicians , but hopefully with the POTUS behind the initiative, things will actually start to move. I'm sure students, parents and teachers will be rather receptive, but I don't know about the educational system wanting to see changes made when so many purchasers are riding some sort of kickback gravytrain with traditional book suppliers.

Apple has had a spotty history of supporting a segment of customers and then abandoning them. Twenty five years ago, Apple had leading market share in schools. Apple lost focus and PC's took over. Apple would produce an enterprise product here and there, but never focused their efforts. It still doesn't have much market share of PC's in the enterprise. If it were not for companies allowing their employees to dictate company IT policy by allowing iPhones into the enterprise, Apple products would still not be seen in enterprise.

Lets see how long Apple can stay focused in the educational market again.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

This is going to be huge. No rivals on the horizon.

If iTunes U's popularity is any indication then I think it will be the next evolution for the textbook. Of course, it's easier to video tape a bunch of lecture hall classes than create an eBook so I think the uptick will be slower but I also think it will more steady and have a much greater momentum.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #13 of 18
I'd like to think that my 50 pound backpack helped increase upper body strength.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by easy288 View Post

If it were not for companies allowing their employees to dictate company IT policy by allowing iPhones into the enterprise, Apple products would still not be seen in enterprise.

I think you're not understanding how companies or smartphone logistics work. If it's all about employees dictating how company IT departments work then the Mac would have a greater market share. The problem is that the Mac is not designed for the enterprise because of the primary reason of Apple not licensing their OS to other vendors. This dynamic doesn't come into effect in the handset market.It's also not an issue with the iPad market (note I didn't say tablet market).

Now that open web standards are being adopted Macs are finding more ground but there is the still the issue of cost per machine. Unless Apple chooses to compete with the low-end of the market they simply aren't going to make a dent because there is no reason most machines need to cost 2x as much or more for the way they are used.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I think you're not understanding how companies or smartphone logistics work. If it's all about employees dictating how company IT departments work then the Mac would have a greater market share. The problem is that the Mac is not designed for the enterprise because of the primary reason of Apple not licensing their OS to other vendors. This dynamic doesn't come into effect in the handset market.It's also not an issue with the iPad market (note I didn't say tablet market).

I think some of what the original poster was talking about may have been the hardware lines which apple started and then dropped, like the XServe and storage arrays. They were very nice products, but got dropped when Apple decided to get out of that market, leaving those customers abandoned. They did a similar thing with High Performance Computing on a smaller scale, where they had a few products and were growing a community, but then backed out.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So when the website is down, you just don't have class that day. Got it.

Don't they have CD-ROMS?

I heard that those were really going to shake up education.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

" . . . they are having to think and problem solve and do things differently, and some of our kids are not so fond of that, whereas other kids like it a lot."

THere was a time when this was the very core and meaning of being educated. Rather than simply spewing out facts on a standardized test. If things like iBooks can get us back to those old days perhaps it will prove to be a very good thing.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #18 of 18
A 50 pound backpack is an exaggeration. As a current math teacher and a former soldier I know what a 50 pound ruck feels like. Kids do not bring 50 pound packs to school.

I'm not arguing that their packs are not heavy but please, 50 pounds? Numbers and accuracy matter (especially to math teachers).

http://www.montclair.edu/Detectives/...4arts1.doc.pdf

That said I'm in the camp of welcoming e-books. I'm lucky to work in a district that gives every student a laptop. Right now we have the web version of my math books but it's just a direct copy of the hardback. My kids seem to prefer the hard copy. We do all our homework and tests on the computer but kids still use the physical book in-class and at home. I'm still waiting for the killer app math book.
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