Welcome the education revolution from Apple

We all know how successful Apple has been in completely changing the markets that they play in. PCs, laptops, animated film and music. They even created the tablet market with the iPad. 

On Thursday, January 19th 2012, they entered into the latest market that they have set their sights on. Education.
Apple launched 3 new products on Thursday, that plans to completely change the education game, for the better. And the good news is, that even we in SA can get in on some of the action immediately.
1. iBooks2

Apple made the announcement that they updated their current edition if iBooks that we have come to know and love. The major overhaul that they made to the application, is that it now boasts a new “categories” section, making it easier to search for and discover new books, and is now known as the iBooksStore. Which category is making all the waves? Textbooks. That’s right. Apple has now release Textbooks, to replace the current, boring, outdated, damaged, expensive textbooks that we learnt to hate while growing up. The textbooks available right now are all created and developed by the biggest publishing houses in the States, and come in at a mere R120. Anyone that has ever had to purchase their own textbooks, will agree with me that this is a fraction of the price of textbooks available these days, going for anything between R300 and R1500. 
Without a doubt, the textbooks look gorgeous! How I wish we had these when I was in school, it would have helped a lot

What is the biggest problem with traditional textbooks?
The moment they are published, they are outdated. Well now as soon as the author updates the textbooks in the iBooksStore, the update can be downloaded by the students, and immediately they have solved this issue. The update is free of course.

But what if you wanted to publish a textbook. What about an interactive manual or guide? Maybe you are going to be the driving force to get the South African education system into Apple’s digital Textbooks in the iBooksStore.

2. iBooks Author

Well if you want to publish your own textbooks to the iBooksStore, you will be able to do so, easily, using the new iBooks Author. iBooks Author only works on the Mac, obviously, and allows anybody to use already set out templates, to create your very own, amazingly attractive textbooks. 

By very simply dragging your pictures, slideshows, videos, 3-D models or any other Java applet you can create over the existing content, you will start populating your book very quickly. 

You won’t need to retype all that textbook data either. If you already have it stored in a Pages or Word document, you can simply drag it in, and iBA will import the text, and automatically modify the look and feel to fit in with the rest of the book.

Who is eligible to publish these books? Everybody! How come? Because it’s free
Directly from within the application, you will be able to either convert the content into PDF, iBooks format or directly publish it to the iBooksStore. 
If you wish to make the book available for free, to maybe your students only, or possibly a focus group, then convert it to iBooks format and distribute with iTunes. If you would like to sell you works though, then your only option is to publish your book through the iBooksStore. And please don’t think that Apple will actually be making a loss with this project, since 2 out of the 3 apps named already are free, as they will zap you for 30% of your selling price of all your books sold. Check out these FAQ’s for some more of the nitty gritties.

Can you smell that? That is the change this country has needed to reinvent the education system for our children. The biggest change in over 150 Years.

So now, the big question. What if, all the major universities in South Africa, could make all or some of their full courses available to whoever would like to partake in it. Maybe matrics could complete a small course from a university to better prepare themselves for what lies ahead. Maybe teachers/lecturers would like to can their current, boring, limited Learning Management Systems, and control their courses completely through the iPad.

3. iTunes U

If you want to distribute a course, containing textbooks, videos, web articles and apps, and manage that course through iTunes, then iTunes U is what you need. The ability to update content in a course, assign projects, manage tests and more is far beyond the abilities of what schools and universities can offer right now, for free.
Unfortunately, iTunes U is not yet available for use in South Africa, but I am sure that with the huge interest in their latest products, it won’t be long before we join the rest of the world at the forefront of cutting edge of education. Check out these pre-requisites for those interested in the project.

How big of a response has Apple had thus far? Since the launch on Thursday, the Apple Textbooks have been downloaded 350 000 times in 3 days!!

To soak up the full experience of the new products from Apple, make an hour available and watch the Keynote event held in New York on the 19th.

Personally, I think that this is going to change our education system forever. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Soon our entire outcome based education will be running from iPads in schools all over the country, and students will once again begin enjoying their courses and content. 

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Don’t forget to Enjoy!

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