Schools Need To Tread Carefully When Hooking iPads And MacBooks Up To Cloud Services

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Cloud computing has great potential for schools, but isn't without some pitfalls.
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.

The More Tech-Savvy The Principal, The More iPads In The Classroom

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iPad use in schools more likely when administrators like and use mobile tech
iPad use in schools more likely when administrators like and use mobile tech

With its e-textbook initiative, iTunes U, and a range of educational resources, Apple is pitching the iPad as critical element in 21st century schools. Many schools have already begun iPad tests or full-scale deployments. In other schools, however, there’s still a fight over where and how the iPad and other technologies fit into the classroom. A battle erupted between teachers and lawmakers in Idaho earlier this year over new technology requirements in the state’s schools.

So what makes some schools embrace iPads and other new technologies while others resist them? It turns out that the answer may lie in the personal technology preferences of school and district administrators.

New Nook Company To Take Apple’s iPad Textbooks Head-On

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Battle for e-textbooks heats up with new Nook company
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 Leaving Colleges Out Of Its iPad-In-Education Push Is A Brilliant Move

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Apple's e-textbooks and iPad in education initiative leaves colleges largely out of the picture - for good reasons
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. 

Apple Reveals Online Store Will Soon Get ‘Dramatically Simplified User Interface’

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Apple's new online store hopes to make make it even easier for you to hand over your cash.
Apple's new online store hopes to make make it even easier for you to hand over your cash.

Apple is set to overhaul its online store to introduce a “dramatically simplified user interface” that will make spending your hard-earned cash on Apple goods easier than ever before. And this isn’t just another story fresh from the rumor mill; it was revealed by Apple itself.