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Guest Post by: Justin Taylor
Given the continuous jump in popularity for Apple’s iPads, the devices transformation fully into the education industry was not entirely unexpected, yet a full announcement is still a big deal. Just last week, Apple announced its plans for a long term goal of getting its tablet device into as many classrooms as possible around the country.
This goal will begin with their new e-reader application that will be optimized for electronic textbooks. Apple has long been a pioneer in the education market, but a long term goal with this size and mass is for the most part, unheralded. Before the struggling decade of the 1990’s, Apple had a strong presence in schools with the Apple II. With the introduction of the iPad and the low prices of refurbished iPad models, they are presented with more opportunities to have an even stronger identity in schools.
There are already over 1.5 million iPads in school systems right now as an expanded textbook application is what was missing. The new iBooks 2 will include support for full screen view of text books, combined with photos, charts and interactive animation. Having access to reading content, alongside visual materials such as videos present an exciting future for virtual textbooks.
Readers will be able to zoom in on their reading content, as well as look over thumbnail images and search books. Users will also be given the ability to highlight different parts of the books, as well as take notes throughout and use flash cards. Apple worked with three major textbook companies to help develop the new system, including giants such as Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson which all take up a bulk of the industry.
Pearson and McGraw Hill have made a coinciding announcement to already begin using the textbooks in the iBookstore. Pearson is already offering environmental science, biology, algebra and geometry. McGraw Hill has available textbooks in subjects such as geometry, chemistry, biology, physics and algebra.
The new version of iBooks will be accompanied by iBooks author, which will be directed towards teachers and professors who have their own textbooks. This will let users import their text over from Microsoft Word or Pages. They can also transfer over presentations and videos into their own books as well. They will be a given multiple widgets to help create a good book, as well as the opportunity to take a look at a final product in a preview mode as well.
Both of these releases, combined with a new iTunes system for online classes should help the long term goals of Apple to be in every classroom. While popularity has skyrocketed, there is still a long way to go before we see iPads in every school for that matter. The iPad still has plenty to offer currently through educational applications and iBooks programs that will continue to develop.
- Written by guest blogger Justin Taylor. Justin is a creative writer from the University of Texas El Paso. He specializes in writing about the latest trends in technology including current trends in the iPad and tablet markets.