“When Apple announced its textbook initiative on Thursday, there was a rush of excitement among educators. Textbooks from major publishers, which can cost $40 to $75 dollars in print, would be available as interactive e-books for $15 or less,” Heather Kelly writes for VentureBeat. “The new iBooks Author application could turn anyone into a publisher, with its simple interactive e-book creation tools.”
“But then there was the small print: In order to buy and read these textbooks, each student will have to own an Apple iPad,” Kelly writes. “No computer, off-brand tablet, or even iPhone or iPod touch will work. Books made with the new iBooks Author application are only viewable on iPads in the iBooks 2 app, can only be sold through Apple’s iBookstore (where the company takes its customary 30 percent of the sales cost), and cannot be exported as ePubs, the standard open format for all e-book files.”
“The nearly 100,000 U.S. public schools face restraints beyond money. They are also bound by state and federal regulations that dictate what books they use and what they can spend money on. Unless the full, approved list of books are made available on the iPad, these schools wouldn’t be able to save money by switching to the Apple tablets,” Kelly writes. “‘Teachers in private schools can select their own textbooks. Public schools can’t. That’s a distinction that’s larger than having iPads or if they can afford the technology,’ said Eric Spross, director of technology at the private Menlo School in Atherton, California.”
Kelly writes, “At Menlo School, Spross is already busy figuring out how to best use the new Apple products. “Without this last piece it was, ‘Wow, great gizmo with a lot of potential, but does it mean anything?’”For most public schools, that missing piece will continue to be an iPad.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Then, if they really want to give their students the best tools for learning, “most public schools” had better get to work figuring out how to get iPads.
The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt. But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money. – Steve Jobs, as quoted by Walter Isaacson in Steve Jobs.
In [public] schools, people don’t feel that they’re spending their own money. They feel like it’s free, right? No one does any comparison shopping. A matter of fact if you want to put your kid in a private school, you can’t take the forty-four hundred dollars a year out of the public school and use it, you have to come up with five or six thousand of your own money. I believe very strongly that if the country gave each parent a voucher for forty-four hundred dollars that they could only spend at any accredited school several things would happen. Number one schools would start marketing themselves like crazy to get students. Secondly, I think you’d see a lot of new schools starting. I’ve suggested as an example, if you go to Stanford Business School, they have a public policy track; they could start a school administrator track. You could get a bunch of people coming out of college tying up with someone out of the business school, they could be starting their own school. You could have twenty-five year old students out of college, very idealistic, full of energy instead of starting a Silicon Valley company, they’d start a school. I believe that they would do far better than any of our public schools would. The third thing you’d see is I believe, is the quality of schools again, just in a competitive marketplace, start to rise. Some of the schools would go broke. Alot of the public schools would go broke. There’s no question about it. It would be rather painful for the first several years… But far less painful I think than the kids going through the system as it is right now. – Steve Jobs, April 20, 1995
Steve Jobs: America’s schools are dying – October 24, 2011
Steve Jobs met Obama to talk education, energy, job creation – October 22, 2010
A clearer picture of Steve Jobs’ thoughts on public education and teacher unions – February 21, 2007
Steve Jobs & Rush Limbaugh agree: U.S. public schools are ‘unionized in the worst possible way’ – February 20, 2007
Apple CEO blasts teacher unions, says US schools are ‘unionized in the worst possible way’ – February 16, 2007