Microsoft may try to challenge the iPad’s place in the classroom, but time isn’t on its side
The iPad became a big hit in the K-12 education market over the past year. Pioneering schools that brought Apple’s tablet into the classroom last school year proved that the iPad can be a excellent learning tool – one that has immense power to transform education.
As the new school year begins, and hundreds of thousands of students across the U.S. become iPad users thanks to one-to-one iPad deployments, there’s already talk that the iPad’s success in schools will be short-lived. The belief is that iPads will quickly be replaced by tablets running Microsoft’s Windows RT or Windows 8.
The iPad is engaging students and transforming the K-12 education experience.
During its education event in January, Apple unveiled its plans to revolutionize the K-12 classroom with the iPad, electronic textbooks, a revamped version of iTunes U that supports content for K-12 schools as well as higher education, and tools for educators to create their own digital content using iBooks Author and iTunes U.
In the intervening months, schools and districts around the country have made significant investments in iPads, including the San Diego Unified School District, which invested $15 million in 26,000 iPads for its students. Those sales created a record quarter for Apple in the K-12 education market.
With the back to school season upon us, it’s clear that the massive iPad deployments will give Apple the opportunity to disrupt the classroom in the ways it has whole industries and, in many ways, that’s a good thing.
Cloud computing has great potential for schools, but isn’t without some pitfalls.
The summer break is winding up and many teachers are getting ready to head back to work for another school year (and many IT staffers in those schools are trying to make sure everything’s ready when those teachers return). Over the past several months, many schools and their IT departments have been struggling to keep spending down while also delivering a 21st century learning environment. That discussion has largely focused on how to most cost effectively deploy iPads, new MacBooks, and other technology systems.
One approach to that dilemma is moving away from traditional software purchasing and towards enterprise cloud solutions. That approach may give schools more control over expenditures and offer other advantages, but it also has downsides including the potential to raise costs and degrade the education experience.
Battle for e-textbooks heats up with new Nook company
Barnes & Noble’s announcement that it was spinning off its Nook business and that Microsoft would be a significant stakeholder in the new company raised a lot of eyebrows. The partnership seemed unnecessary in order to meet the goals of settling a patent dispute and ensuring a Nook app for Windows 8 tablets.
It turns out that Barnes & Nobel will be shifting its textbook business to the new company along with the Nook and that Microsoft’s $300 million investment will likely be centered around creating an e-textbook initiative that will likely compete head-on with Apple’s fledging iPad-based e-textbook business.
Apple's e-textbooks and iPad in education initiative leaves colleges largely out of the picture - for good reasons
Apple’s e-textbook initiative, which the company launched in January along with iBooks Author and a revamped iTunes U service is aimed at K-12 schools rather than higher education. Higher education has a different set of needs when it comes to textbooks, study, and reference materials. There are also big differences in device/platform selection between K-12 and the college market.
In fact, these differences are probably a big part of why Apple decided to focus the majority of its e-textbook (and, by extension its iPad in education) effort on the K-12 market. It’s a market that yields Apple more growth opportunities now and down the road.
Is Apple's e-textbook ecosystem ready for the 2012 - 2013 school year?
Many schools in the U.S. haven’t even had their spring break yet, but school administrators are already planning for the next school year. For public schools that means determining how best to allocate scarce financial resources and trying to determine how far they can push their budgets before the residents and homeowners in their district will vote them down. School IT departments meanwhile are beginning to consider what major projects and upgrades they’ll be doing over the summer recess.
Although this decision-making process tends to run like clockwork for most schools and districts, this year there’s a new factor to consider: Apple’s iPad-based iBooks 2 e-textbook initiative (as well as the iPad itself).
Apple has set a groundbreaking price for its high school textbooks. Thanks to the partnerships between top publishers Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apple will be able to offer high school textbooks for $14.99 or less.
Apple has made iBooks 2 available for everyone today in the App Store. The software is free, and it will allow for students to access interactive textbooks on the iPad. A new textbooks category has also been added to the iBookstore.