24 January 2012

Sowing the Seeds of a Digital Education


An Apple for Teacher: Sowing the Seeds of Learning.
Imagine a world where you can earn an advanced physics degree without ever opening a textbook. The rise of tablet computers and e-books is making this a growing possibility. The technology innovator Apple is at the cusp of this change, poised to take the education market by storm by entering the world of digital textbooks.
On Thursday, January 19, Apple held an event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to discuss its goals in the educational sector. Executive Phillip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, used this event to showcase the company’s new textbook experience for the iPad, an app called iBooks 2, as reported by the Washington Post.
This new app makes textbooks interactive. Students can capture notes and send them to the iCloud, highlight text with just a touch of the finger, and quickly switch to glossary sections for words they do not understand.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, other tablet computer manufacturers are adding college texts to their e-book databases, but Apple is taking this one step further by working to get high school and even elementary texts digitized. The company is currently working with Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to make their textbooks available on the iPad.
Long Road for Integrating iPads Into Classrooms
While this announcement and the sale of the new app does stand to change the way Americans approach education, it is not without its difficulties. The truth is that the average student in the public school setting is not going to own an iPad. In order to make this a viable solution for schools, schools need to have the tablets in the classroom.
Apple has a solution for this as well, and it is one they have used in the past. Three decades ago, Steve Jobs himself ran a lobbying campaign to get funding for Apple computers in public school classrooms around the country, and he was successful. Today, the Washington Post reports that the technology giant is striving to get similar tax breaks and public funding to put iPads in classrooms, so students can have access to their digital textbooks regardless of income levels. The benefit for Apple is the branding this creates, as students work daily on tablets sporting the company’s logo.
Testing Already in the Works
Currently, Apple has launched an iPad pilot project in a few districts around the country. In these districts, teachers report greater excitement and engagement on the part of the students after the iPads and digital texts came to the classroom. No testing has been done as of yet to determine if the tablets encourage greater performance from the students, but that assessment is in the works for the fall.
Could these changes bring permanent change to the face of education? Perhaps, but do not expect your local public school to look like something out of a science fiction movie any time soon. There are still many educators and parents who believe the traditional ways of educating are best, and some doubt that technological gadgets actually improve outcomes for students.
Teachers will need training to embrace this technology, and that training costs money. However, Apple sees a market for their products in the classroom, and they plan to continue lobbying to reach this goal. Consequently, the next generation of students to come through America’s public schools and universities may well use tablet technology for at least a portion of their education.

By Guest Contributor: Joe Barker
You can reach Joe at josephbker@gmail.com


Trish said...

In the advent of efficient, high powered tablet PCs, more and more universities are opting to use these gadgets in the classroom. In fact, it is foreseen to replace textbooks and chalkboards. However, not all schools have the budget to implement this. It still may or may not affect a student's decision in choosing a college major.

Alice Eldridge said...

Technology surely helps a lot of students with their studies, however, not all can afford technology such as tablet computers.

school funds

Stark said...

I believe that students will really no longer hold textbooks in the future because of the available gadgets we have today. So, it's really better if teachers start training for them to keep up with the fast pace of technology. For everything can be done in a fast mode and that includes dissertation writing !

lauren maftel said...

Technology plays a vital role in education now days. In near future textbooks will replace to iPads and tablets. I think the cost of textbook and tablets are much same. Every year new books are needed wheres tablets can be used through out your life . you can access all any book of any class and of any author.

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