As a follow up to my recent article on the rumors that Apple was making a “big” education-related announcement in NYC on 1/19/12 (today), here’s some more information from the Washington Post on what they announced. In summary:
- YES, Apply WILL revolutionize the textbook industry
- There’s a new app that enables just about anyone to create a digital, interactive textbook
- There’s another new app as part of iTunesU that will enable just about anyone to create an online course via an app
These are important milestones in the democratization of the textbook industry that will pave the way for independent publishers and amateurs to create some really compelling and specialized texts, and have a channel to distribute them that is similar to an ebook and app.
To support this new initiative, some major textbook publishers have already started making content available as an example, with many more texts planned – especially high volume texts that are used by millions of K-12 students around the country.
These textbooks aren’t just static texts. Rather, they include several interactive features including the ability to take notes, quizzes, make flash cards, and so much more. These textbooks leverage the uniqueness of apps and the digital space.
The courses are another great democratization of content delivery. You can package lectures, videos, books, and many other assets, including quizzes and syllabi into a course to be downloaded from iTunesU. Any time there are updates, you can push those just like in a regular app.
All-in-all, this is a wild new frontier for the education space that is surely going to present some challenges (quality) and some opportunities (new materials at a lower cost).
I can’t wait to try out some of these new courses and textbooks for myself!