President Barack Obama may not be able to use an iPhone for security reasons, but that doesn’t mean he can’t praise the work Apple is doing.
In his State of the Union address to the American people Tuesday, Obama credited a number of technology companies — Apple included — for helping with his ConnectED program, which aims to improve Internet access at schools across the U.S.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is in the process of rolling out iPads to all of its students in 47 K-12 schools. It’s a huge educational partnership for Apple, and the goal is to have students use the iPads to help learn the curriculum.
Apparently LAUSD didn’t anticipate that students would be able to easily hack around the security measures on the iPads and use them to surf the web and download apps. Hundreds of students at Theodore Roosevelt High School have already broken the restrictions, and the district is considering halting the iPad rollout until it figure out what to do.
University vending machines usually dispense soda and junk food, not $1,000 MacBooks. At Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a kiosk in the library spits out MacBooks free of charge for students to borrow and return five hours later. The kiosk is part of an experiment to gauge interest and see if more MacBook and iPad dispensers should be installed around campus.
Students who don’t want to carry a laptop out of their dorm room can use the self-service kiosk 24 hours a day in the school’s Hagerty Library. A dozen 15-inch MacBooks are available and can be checked out by anyone with a Drexel ID for up to five hours. There’s a $5 late fee for every hour a MacBook is kept out longer than the allotted rental time.
One of the first thoughts I had when Apple announced AirPlay Mirroring as a feature in Mountain Lion was that it would make an excellent mobile presentation tool and one that would be far easier to bring to business meetings, trade shows, or client-site training events than hauling a projector. With just a MacBook Air and Apple TV, you can plug into any HDTV, display, or projector that supports HDMI and be ready to go. That’s a great combination for any business traveler.
If Apple does announce AirPlay Direct, a new version of AirPlay that doesn’t require a Wi-Fi network, the company will have made the lives of business travelers, trainers, and educators even easier. It will probably also make network administrators in both business and education a bit happier as well.
VMWare announced the newest version of VMWare Fusion, its Mac virtualization product, this week. In doing so it also launched its first business or enterprise version of the popular tool for running Windows and other operating systems on Mac workstations. Dubbed Fusion Professional, the new solution has a range of features that are likely to appeal to IT professionals in both business and education.
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.
Although Apple pitched iBooks Author as a tool for educators, the company fully supports anyone who want to create an ebook using iBooks Author to do so. Apple also lets anyone that creates an ebook with iBooks Author to distribute it through the iBookstore – the catch being that the iBooks Author edition of an ebook can’t be published using another company’s store (though the text of the title can be repackaged using other apps and sold elsewhere). As usual, Apple will take a 30% cut of any sales.
There are, of course, plenty of non-education uses for iBooks Author.
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.
FileWave launched a new free app called Lightning this week. The new app makes quick and easy work of deploying Mountain Lion (and Lion) to multiple Macs, particularly recent Macs with Thunderbolt. It can be used to roll out existing master images that a business or school has already created as well as a base OS X install that can be customized with a range of files and applications.
One of the challenges of 21st century education is determining the appropriate ways to use technology in the classroom. That’s a challenge that each school or district needs to confront in its own way. One thing that is universal, however, is that the policies and processes put into place around technology need to come from an ongoing dialog between teachers, school administrators, and IT professionals.
While some schools may have restrictive policies, those policies are emblematic of the community to which the schools belongs. They are the policies that the school itself and the parents of its students feel are needed to protect its students. Those policies also teach students what is acceptable behavior and how to protect themselves in the online world.