Tag Archive: education

The iPad2: Changing the Education Game?

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(Image courtesy of Engadget)


Yesterday, Apple (in the form of Steve Jobs himself) announced the eagerly anticipated iPad2. The new device is leagues beyond the original of a year ago and heads above the competition. Faster, more powerful, lighter, slimmer, more connectivity, heavy on multimedia tools, with a camera and loads of apps, the iPad2 is really bridging the gaps between laptop, netbook, and tablet.

And the kicker? Same price as the original iPad, which started at just $499.

In the presentation yesterday, we saw lots of pointing to the iPad2’s role in education. From the image of the intersection between Technology and Liberal Arts streets to those of the teacher using the device as a presentation tool in the classroom, the vibe was definitely that it was a viable device for education. But as for specifics, there isn’t really anything new or directly targeted toward students and the iPad2’s role for students was merely sort of vaguely implied. As well, iBookstore remains the source for books for the iPad2, but it’s not as if many academic publishers have come on board and made their textbooks for sale in that format.

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Kindles in the hands of second-graders: E-Readers for early education

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Image courtesy of Engadget

 Since the dawn of the digital age we have been transitioning from old technologies and mediums to new ones. Today, everyone is heralding the demise of print: magazines, books and newspapers are increasingly being viewed online through computers, cell phones and tablets. Yet the textbook industry is stuck in the days of the printing press.

For years, we’ve heard reports on the rising costs of textbooks and the amount of strain that a backpack full of books can put on the spine of an 80lb 5th grader. But while slow, change is coming in the form of digital textbooks increasing their market share in higher education. According to a report by Dr. Robert Reynolds and Yevgeny Ioffe, digital texts currently account for .5% of the overall textbook market, but they will increase by 150-200% each year, reaching 18.8% by 2014.

One roadblock that has long stood in the way of digital textbooks is hardware. With the explosive popularity of netbooks, tablets and readers (the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and the Apple iPad) having inexpensive eBook readers is becoming less of a concern. Take for instance the Kno tablet. The first of its kind, the Kno is a 14 inch touch screen tablet specifically designed to display digital textbooks and is being marketed to college students with the slogan “with savings of 20%-50% on textbooks, the Kno pays for itself in three terms.”

And higher education isn’t the only market. K-12 teachers across the nation are putting this technology in the hands of their younger students. At Clearwater High School, in Clearwater Florida, 2,000 students received a school-furnished Amazon Kindle preloaded with all the books they would need for the semester. Students were excited about the new technology and administrators were excited about the savings. John Just, assistant superintendent for management information systems for Pinellas County schools, said that the Kindle saved the English department so much money, it was able to fulfill its wish list, getting books like Superfreakonomics and Into the Wild.

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