Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Jan 2012 17:41 UTC
Apple Apple's education event just ended, and just as Ars Technica said, Apple announced better support for textbooks, as well as a textbook authoring tool. The textbook authoring tool is heavily inspired by Keynote and Pages, and hence, I already know it's going to be top-notch and very pleasant to use. In addition, the company also repositioned iTunes U as a Blackboard competitor. As great as all these new tools are, several large red flags went up in my mind: I remember what it was like being the only student who didn't use Windows. Update: "Any e-textbook author that wants access to the iPad-toting masses must make his or her work an exclusive to iBooks 2."
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I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:44 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I sympathise with your view on this and your anxiety about lock in but I am not sure anything else is possible. All technology providers try to lock you into their ecosystems, those haven't taken that path simple die. Even the old fashioned printed text book vendors tried to lock people in by making their textbooks the obligatory set texts.

At least this way we get Apple's excellent design and ease of use, so students get to use tools that empower rather frustrate them and Apple does seem committed across the board to both pushing down content prices whilst leaving room for a viable business model for content makers. Plus the iBook Author app opens content creation to the many.

I presume that to compliment this new initiative (and to pull the ground from under the Windows 8 tablets, the Amazon Fire etc) it is likely that the iPad 3 launch will see the iPad 2 have a few minor upgrades and a price cut to become the new entry level low cost iPad. If Apple could get the iPad 2 down to $299 they kill most of what's left of the competition.

So I understand the unease but the actual effects, certainly in the short to medium term, look very positive.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I sympathise but..
by dragossh on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:11 in reply to "I sympathise but.."
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

I guess you'd have a different opinion if this were Microsoft / Google doing the lock-in?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:03 in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
Torbjorn Vik Lunde Member since:
2009-09-04

From what I understand the textbook industry in the US is pretty up and corrupt already, to the point of Apple/Microsoft/Google lock-in actually being the lesser evil.

Reply Parent Score: 4

v RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Jan 2012 09:40 in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
RE: I sympathise but.. - tools not brands
by jabbotts on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:21 in reply to "I sympathise but.."
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Schools should not be in the business of teaching brand loyalty. Producing students limited to only knowing Apple products is no better than the current trend of producing students limited to knowing Word instead of word processing.

Reply Parent Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

really? someone thinks schools should be teaching students how to use brand names not tools?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: I sympathise but..
by karunko on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:28 in reply to "I sympathise but.."
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

At least this way we get Apple's excellent design and ease of use

So it's okay to get screwed as long as is Apple doing it? Okay, then... but do I get to choose if it's going to be Tim, Phil, Scott or maybe Johnathan? ;-)

Plus the iBook Author app opens content creation to the many.

Yes, but Apple wants the usual 30% plus exclusive rights to let you board the iTrain. How very altruistic!

So I understand the unease but the actual effects, certainly in the short to medium term, look very positive.

You are being sarcastic, right?


RT.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Jan 2012 20:17 in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Yes, but Apple wants the usual 30% plus exclusive rights to let you board the iTrain. How very altruistic!


That means the content creators get 70% which is more than they get now. Sell a book through a publisher will give you a cut of 15% of sales price at best.

If this is a bum deal then people won't create stuff for it. It isn't and they will.

So I understand the unease but the actual effects, certainly in the short to medium term, look very positive.

You are being sarcastic, right? .


No. This looks like it has the potential to transform a big chunk of the tools available to educators and student for the better. That is a good thing. Nobody else has tried this total approach before and nobody other than Apple probably could.

Have a play with the free content creation software iBook Author. Its fantastic. The great thing is you can not only create a book for distribution on iTunes but you can also distribute them any way you choose (as long as it's for free and not via another rival store).

I may make books just to give to friends and family. Imagine what you could do with your photos or movies, or family histories with this sort of stuff. Imagine if you put on a play or cultural event and creating a beautiful electronic event program available in iTunes or by download. Imagine making a book for someone getting married or graduating or retiring. Really this is an exciting new way to make ebooks.

Sure it encourages people to buy iPads - so what? Why else would any company do anything except because it supports their business model.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: I sympathise but..
by shmerl on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:15 in reply to "I sympathise but.."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

This simply isn't true. You are saying the only way for technology to survive is to lock everyone into it. For some reason practice showed otherwise, and interoperable open standards were found to be useful by many parties.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: I sympathise but..
by Fergy on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:45 in reply to "I sympathise but.."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

I sympathise with your view on this and your anxiety about lock in but I am not sure anything else is possible.

If you mandate that textbooks have to be creative commons you can't have lock in. If you mandate open/drmfree formats you can't have lock in. Why do you think lock in is the only way?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: I sympathise but..
by Flatland_Spider on Fri 20th Jan 2012 00:26 in reply to "I sympathise but.."
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

At least this way we get Apple's excellent design and ease of use, so students get to use tools that empower rather frustrate them


Apple empowers the user? How do they do that?

If you want to talk about empowering software, how about software that is available for $0.00 eliminating the price barrier imposed by predatory companies and levelling the difference between the haves and have-nots. Software that is only limited by the time and imagination of the developers not by accounting or a suit. Software that can run on older hardware. Software that gives the user complete control over their system.

Any vendor lock-in is crippling.

Apple would be a very stylish tyrant, but a tyrant still.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by ilovebeer on Fri 20th Jan 2012 01:24 in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

If you want to talk about empowering software, how about software that is available for $0.00 eliminating the price barrier imposed by predatory companies and levelling the difference between the haves and have-nots. Software that is only limited by the time and imagination of the developers not by accounting or a suit.

Apple is neither a charity nor a non-profit organization. It is a business, just like our education system. As much as you may dislike that fact, it remains as such.

As far as software being empowering.. I would suggest that what empowers a user is not the cost, or lack of it, but rather the ability of the software to meet the needs of its users in an efficient way.

Any vendor lock-in is crippling.

In terms of our education system, in some ways it is and in other ways it's quite the opposite. It would do people good to seriously consider both sides of this issue before rushing to judgment.

We don't live in a utopian society. We never will.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: I sympathise but..
by ChrisJames on Sat 21st Jan 2012 07:41 in reply to "I sympathise but.."
ChrisJames Member since:
2012-01-21

This may come as a complete and inconceivable shock to you, but some people don't like Apple's software interfaces. Not that they think the products are too expensive or some other value argument - simply do not like the interface and the rules on how you are allowed to interact. I currently use use multiple OS versions - Windows, Linux and OSX. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but OSX is not my preferred UI. I understand that we are talking iOS and not OSX here, but the same thought process applies.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Sat 21st Jan 2012 11:55 in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

In the end either this initiative will lead to better education tools and to better educational results or it won't. Judge it by results.

So far the evidence on iPad education use is promising.

See here for white paper on the "HMC Fuse: Algebra I" pilot program at Ameila Earhart Middle School in California's Riverside Unified School District. The Algebra I digital textbook is touted as the world's first full-curriculum algebra application developed exclusively for Apple's iPad.

http://www.hmheducation.com/fuse/pilot-1.php

In its test run, the "HMH Fuse" application helped more than 78 percent of students score "Proficient" or "Advanced" on the spring 2011 California Standards Test. That was significantly higher than the 59 percent of peers who used traditional textbooks.

"Students' interaction with the device was more personal," Earhart Principal Coleman Kells said. "You could tell the students were more engaged. Using the iPad was more normal, more understandable for them."

Reply Parent Score: 1