Will Apple's iTunes U really change education?

Credit: flickr/Tiger Girl

Apple announced iTunes U and a new world of electronic textbooks for the iPad. Gamechanger like iTunes or yawner like AppleTV?

Digital textbooks have been touted for years, but the millions of tablets and smartphones on the market today provide the affordable distribution model missing in the past. Apple this morning announced "iTunes U" and their program for digital textbooks that can be distributed exclusively through iBooks and modified by teachers. (Mashable has a live blog from the announcement) Right now, the focus in on high school textbooks, and publishers Pearson and McGraw Hill were part of the presentation. Six universities, such as UCLA and Stanford, are already using iTunes U to create over 100 online courses.

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While others have promised to "digitally destroy" textbook publishing, no earlier group has the reach of Apple, the distribution of the iTunes app store, and the hardware platform that's already (more or less) affordable. Authors can use HTML 5-based extensions to enhance, add interactivity, and update their textbooks after release. Starting today, K-12 schools can sign up for the program.

Go Apple Go

Unlike any other company, when Apple makes a keynote it feels like the world is about to change.

Tim Turner on mashable.com

Whining about previous software/methods of publishing is irrelevant. Your kid is GOING to own an iPad! Capiche?

Chris557 on cnn.com

This will only work if Apple enables the system to work on multiple platforms. If this is a lock-in to Apple products and iBooks, I don't see it taking off.

stormbeta on arstechnica.com

Upgrade learning now

future education! I want that book 4 my uni studies, too :)

RasaRozite on mashable.com

Where have you guys been? For some time now it's been possible to author, edit, and publish eBooks using just about any word processor and Amazon's Kindle eBook publishing software.

ENicholas on cnn.com

I think back on waiting in line at the university book store, about to drop $1000 on textbooks which I'll be able to sell back at the end of the semester for maybe $10 total, and I think that whatever Apple's going to do, it can't be any worse than the system currently in place.

Pokrface on arstechnica.com

So many questions remain...

I smell a new SOPA Bill Stop Online Proliferation of cheap ACADEMIC books

theJonTech on arstechnica.com

Gasp, a new ipad app to be released! This changes everything!!!!

oioioi99 on cnn.com

You think you're being funny, but if we're really talking about an easy, inexpensive way to author & edit e-books, including formatting, fonts, hyperlinks, etcetera, then yes - this is actually a pretty big deal.

ScottRiqui on cnn.com

will ipads be subsidized for students?

Shane Snedden on mashable.com

Are we about to see the consumerization of education, like we saw the consumerization of IT?

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