Monday 30 January 2012

iPad in Education: iTunes U and other ideas

Recently there's been much talk of Apple raising the educational bar yet again with quite a few app based educational innovations being announced and being spotlighted , both in the classroom and the wider iPad/iPhone hungry world. Students working on their online education will be thrilled to hear this.

iTunes U ,while nothing new to iOS education, now has its own dedicated app. University Blackboard Apps and other college based Smartphone learning efforts have been of increasing popularity in recent times. iTunes U itself has been around since 2006 and enjoyed support from many leading educators, such as Stanford who have released numerous quality lectures on iTunes U. The App is presented with the expected Apple flourishes and has multiple ways for students to interact with their lecturers and coursework. Teachers can use the app to keep students updated and keep coursework current and relevant. A useful commercial side to the app is the ability to have one click access to iTunes for any relevant course publications.
Current University offerings on iTunes U such as Harvard University's cooking and science lectures (We wonder what their 'Meat Glue Mania' lecture involves!) and Harrisburg Community College offering free astronomy courses all bode well for this app being an educators best friend.

Harrisons Medical
Textbook on iPad
Apple has been very much in the spotlight recently for other educational innovations such as their programme to transform textbook use in classroom into iPad based textbooks. While it's a noble goal, particularly given that textbooks cost an awful lot of money and are not very robust in the hands of your average pupil. The cost of an iPad is of course the biggest downfall to the iBooks based educational scheme. The iPad cost can be mitigated somewhat by schemes such as as Apple's Ipad Lease scheme for schools and the hintings of an iPad 3 that will lower the cost of the current iPad.
Textbooks in  e reader form are certainly the way forward , providing cheaper ;more robust access to educational books and more ways for students to interact with the textbooks. Such as the aforementioned iTunes U apps and numerous other Blackboard type apps. With influential names in textbooks such as McGraw Hill bringing their much lauded Medical Textbook to iPad : Harrison's for the  iPad (Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine is probably the foremost medical textbook in the world) To see such a famed textbook now being published on iPad is truly groundbreaking- on the iPad Harrison's Medical Textbook  will cost just shy of $200 whereas to buy a harcopy of the medical textbook will cost the same but you obviously won't have access to all the interactive features of the iPad Harrisons.
So is the iPad going to be as revolutionary for books as the Gutenberg Press? Only time will tell.

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