Apple is well known for challenging the traditional methods in which we interact, engage and learn, and as is to be expected, they are up to their old tricks again. If you haven’t yet heard the news, Apple is revolutionising the way children and students learn by bringing textbooks to the iPad – and it’s about time. When Apple announced their new iBooks textbooks – iBooks 2, for the iPad, they opened up the possibility of a new kind of learning experience, one that would be an interactive and current form of engaging with educational material. Whilst it all seems to ring good news with many people abuzz with the prospect of an entirely new learning experience, Apple’s venture comes with the usual pros and cons.
With technology and social media gaining a steady momentum, it’s about time the educational system was given a chance to catch up. Textbooks need to be constantly updated and reprinted as the nature of learning means that information is constantly changing and developing as we discover and broaden our knowledge. The new iBooks 2 would mean tattered, worn and outdated second hand textbooks would no longer be required, and information could be updated at a much quicker pace. Another important feature to note is that it would be interactive, and as science has proven, interactive learning is highly beneficial to those who respond better to visuals when processing information.
Whilst this little point may be over looked, I believe it’ll make necessary positive change to the well being of students. I personally have always had all my school books packed in my bag, just in case I had the opportunity to study for an upcoming test or exam for a different subject. I wasn’t the only one who had to lug a bag full of heavy textbooks around, so did other students. I speak not only for myself, but every student who has ever felt that terrible twinge you get when a muscle is out, carrying a bag full of books around all day does terrible things for your posture, and I’m fairly certain I now sway slightly more to the right because of it. Whilst it may at first, seem slightly silly to view Apple’s new development from this perspective, it is a major positive, because let’s face it – a child lugging the weight of another child around on their back, just isn’t healthy.
Apple’s iBooks 2 will, without a doubt, create waves in the educational market, with Apple coming up strong. For some, this may pose a few financial obstacles if they are to adopt the use of iPads in to their learning, amongst a few other bits and pieces that need to be ironed out. For starters, the textbooks are only accessible through the use of the iPad. This is a problem, particularly for lower income schools and families, as not every school or student is in a financial position to invest in them. Secondly, another point to note is that the textbooks themselves are only accessible through the use of an iPad. Whilst this may, financially, be a smart move on Apple’s behalf, it does greatly narrow the market of potential users, especially when you take in to consideration the fact that most schools are set up with Microsoft.
Whilst I do strongly support the new iBooks 2, there is one striking flaw that I think Apple needs to consider. Revolutionising the way children and students alike are educated is fantastic, but education should be available for everyone. Including not only the information itself, but the way in which students interact, engage and learn. At the moment the iBooks 2 just aren’t financially accessible for all schools or students – it also happens to only be available in the United States at this stage. Whilst Apple’s new virtual textbooks will change the way in which students learn, it seems unfair that lower-income school districts lose out simply because they can’t afford it. It’s this point that I think Apple needs to consider – putting education first, for everybody.