NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple is making a calculated, and possibly very lucrative, move into the education market with iBooks 2, iBooks Author, iBooks textbooks and iTunes U app. Will Google and Microsoft follow suit?
the United States, there are 55.5 million kids in K-12 and another 11.5 million
students in two-year or four-year colleges, according
to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau
. With an average of four
textbooks per student, that's close to 67 million textbooks sold a year. At an
average of $25 per book, that's a nice $2 billion a year market. For more than
100 years, textbooks have all been printed on paper and have all been
"static"-what you see is what you get. No animation. No
embedded video. No way to interactively test and check your answers.
in 2009, Apple launched the iPad
. The company has sold more than 30 million
of them, with about 1.5 million of these tablets finding their way into the
education market. The first textbooks that came out on the iPad were simply
digital versions of same "static" textbooks. The only real advantage
was that the digital textbooks weighed less than printed ones.
become more valuable in the education system, digital textbooks have to migrate
from "static" to "active," in which authors embed animation
to show, for example, factoring in algebra or a video to explain the solar
attempts to create "active" educational materials have been made
online, but access has always been limited to what was available in the
classroom. Many students (actually millions of them) didn't have-and
still don't have-easy access to such active content online when away from
school or at home.
felt there should be a better way.
company created iBooks Author, a free application that helps K-12 and college
textbook authors and publishers
create textbooks that Apple calls dynamic,
engaging and truly interactive.
is what we call "active" environments, where rich media can make the
learning process better by engaging students in the subject, explaining it
better, and testing and correcting them as they learn. iBooks Author enables
textbook authors to update their work on the fly so that the latest
improvements are immediately available.
iBooks textbooks-the material that's distributed through iBooks
authors stand to reap better financial return than they did when printing
books. Oh yes, Apple gets 30 percent share of the revenue for helping create a
very nice walled garden-one that provides value to the teacher, to the student
and to the educational system. But, it's still a walled garden.