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Jan 20, 2012

Apple Education Announcement: A short series

Apple made a huge announcement yesterday in the grand way that only Apple can: an education announcement at The Guggenheim in New York City.  My next few entries will be my reactions to the announcement and if/how I think Apple's announcement will impact public education.

The announcement introduced e-textbooks with an iBooks update and, more importantly, a new, free, authoring tool that allows users to create the same interactive e-textbooks that they were demonstrating, iBooks Author. Although it can only be used on an Apple computer, and books can only be published for the iPad, I believe the app is a game changer in the textbook publishing world.

For teachers building their own curriculum to supplement textbooks and the individuals and organizations publishing OERs this tool brings the two entities together giving teachers the power to publish their own curriculum -- not just for their own classrooms but for the public. With the ability to add interactivity, accessibility, mini quizzes to check understanding, and note taking iBooks Author makes it possible to create the same level of offerings as some software companies.

Imagine a situation where you can find an open educational resource (OER), write out your lesson plan, embed the OER along with supplemental video, audio, animations, etc within the language of the lesson and then publish it to share or sell. This is the potential in iBooks Author. There are things that one needs to watch our for before they publish their book for sale: the OER needs to be categorized Creative Commons or public domain but, with a little homework, this information is easy to find and confirm.

From a public education standpoint the question is: Is iBook Author really a game changer? As easy as it is to use, will teachers use it or, like some much other technology, will it sit on the self, collecting dust?

Apple Education Announcement Series:
- iBooks Author: A game changer?
- E-textbooks and the adoption cycle
- The digital divide: the true cost 
- Technical shortcomings

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