iOS 7's release introduced a new visual interface for the operating system, and Apple updated most of its own apps to take advantage. Two notable standouts were iBooks. That was remedied today when Apple posted iBooks 3.2 and iTunes U 1.4 to the App Store.
Apple announced today that iTunes U, their podcast-like service that provides for educational content from universities, museums, libraries, and like-minded organizations on iTunes, has topped one billion downloads. According to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services:
Alongside the release of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple also updated iTunes U to allow teachers (and virtually anyone) to create courses for the iPad. More specifically, the courses that are created can be shared and viewed in the iTunes U iPad app.
Looking for great educational app for your iPhone or iPod touch? The App Store is home to over half a million apps and games, and a surprising number of them are available for free. Some of the most beneficial free apps are free educational apps.
"If Apple relies on the existing $500 iPad to hit the education market, I think they may just accelerate the ownership of their products to students who were already going to own them … kids in well-to-do families."
Yesterday Apple made one of those cool little announcements that probably won’t affect too many of us in the short term. But I think their initiative with iBooks 2 and iBooks Author offers significant long term benefits to the company and its shareholders.
At Apple's education event they announced two initiatives: iBooks 2 and iBooks Author designed to bring textbooks into the digital age, and an all new iTunes U to create and share lesson plans, and follow and complete course work. As education initiatives from publicly traded companies go, they're big and bold -- but they're also just the beginning. There will be struggles and successes, breakthroughs and missteps. And while many of us here at iMore and Mobile Nations could speak about the implications from purely technical and business standpoints, we're lucky to have several teachers and educators, past and present, on staff. They were kind enough to share their thoughts on Apple's new initiatives, specifically and importantly where they impact most -- our kids in the classroom.
The Catalogue is laid out exactly like the App Store and iBookstore, so everyone is already familiar with how to browse it and subscribe to courses. The iTunes U library is where you'll find all the courses you are subscribed to and it looks similar to the bookshelf in iBooks.
Inside a course, you'll find all the info an instructor chooses to share about the class, including catalogue information and the course outline, structure, and syllabus. Instructors can also make posts to the course with more information about lectures as well as documents and videos. Additionally, students can take notes in a designated area of the course page and quickly access all course materials.
As a college instructor, I look forward to using iTunes U as a way to supplement content and materials for my classes.
Some people think Apple is spearheading a new generation of in-depth, interactive, learning tools to bring textbooks and classrooms into the next generation. Others think Apple has once again created a proprietary platform to once again exert draconian control over and increase platform lock-in.
Some people think Apple has created an alternative to the expensive, outdated, antiquated books students used to have to lug around. Others think Apple sucks for not offering $12 iPads to go along with it.
We'll be back to give you our collective opinions later, but right now it's your turn, iMore Nation. What do you think of Apple's educational offerings?