January 20, 2012, 10:02 AM — Apple announced its iTunes U initiative yesterday, talking about textbooks for high school students and how they should all be digital and viewed on an iPad. Here's a video that Apple released as part of the event:
So, textbook industry, prepare to be disrupted by technology just like a whole lot of other industries. Whether this works or not depends on a lot of things, such as whether textbook publishers will adapt quickly enough to the app development process (adding interactivity to textbooks is a lot harder than just converting them to PDFs); whether school systems (especially poorer public schools) can afford giving students free or discounted iPads (will Apple help subsidize this?) and whether students will adjust to the switch. I know from my kids, they'd love to learn everything on the iPad - they already are using a ton of educational apps on my iPad, that's for sure.
Seeing a bunch of teachers talking about how heavy textbooks are is interesting, considering back when I was in school there wasn't a lot of sympathy from my teachers about me having to carry 5 or more heavy books in a bag or backpack (plus the really heavy French Horn). I must say, however, that my shoulder muscles are quite developed, thanks to those years.
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