iBooks 2, iTunes U, iBooks Author: The iPad in Classrooms. A press conference in New York, presented by Phil Schiller: this keynote was not quite ordinary for Apple. Dedicated to education, privileged area of Apple, he has been on the theater of the presentation of iBooks 2, iBooks Author and iTunes U transformed into an application, an ecosystem for attempting to impose the iPad in the classrooms and the amphis.
To address the problems of the American educational system
Apple is all time felt appointing an educational mandate: Steve Wozniak distributed to Apple II in his neighborhood schools and has a time was Professor, Steve Jobs has built NeXT and rebuilt Apple as of companies working very closely with the actors of the educational world.
Presentation of Phil Schiller therefore logically began a State of the educational system places primary and secondary, all so criticized that its University system is admired. Young Americans are classified 17th best readers, best familiar 21st and 23rd best scientists in the world, a disappointing figure to the stature of the country: “we want everyone to do better,” said Schiller.
The repetition rate is another point of concern: 30% of students in college and high school they redouble, a figure that rises to 40% in less favored areas. “Teachers need to help – and we tried to see how Apple could provide solutions,” explained Vice President marketing of Apple, which obviously presented the iPad as the most suitable answer: “it was number 1 on the list of wishes of the ado to Christmas gifts“.
True white sheet on which map content, the large screen of the iPad has it is true in his favor, a rich offer: 20,000 educational applications, and many books in the iBookstore.
iBooks Author: the HyperCard of textbooks
The iPad will be both the binder and digital manual for the students of tomorrow – at least if Apple initiative is followed. Phil Schiller, the good old manual paper is particularly convenient to transport, sustainable nor practical to use – but its content is of incomparable wealth.
The iPad would be rather incredibly practical, portable and sustainable (here still according to Phil Schiller), but the issue would be to provide quality content.
This is where publishers come into play. The King for the digital publication format is the ePub, in theory as simple to create a web page. In practice however (and we went there with our two eBooks…), this step is often nightmarish, being little adapted tools and various implementations. To change this, Apple introduces iBooks Author, a creation of digital textbooks application mixture of Pages, Keynote, and iWeb.
The application to the classical presentation for those who use Apple tools to create textbooks with WYSIWYG. Several models are provided, and can add many interactive elements: galleries of images, video, Keynote presentations, interactive images, 3D objects, HTML elements and even the games of questions and answers.
Can transform each glossary entry Word, which provides a definition, and the software allows all freely. Exporting a package to then provide iTunes Producer for publication in the iBookstore: iBooks Author therefore generates ePub files 3 at last fixed page, a choice that allows to create superbes… files but heavy. The first available books weigh at least a gigabyte, the heaviest (the umpteenth manual biology used as perfect digital textbooks demonstration) reaching not less than 2.77 GB.
Cherry on the cake, iBooks Author is free and available in the App Store Mac (for OS X Lion). It is not limited to the creation of textbooks: the authors of heavily illustrated books may be used. As most of the Apple’s WYSIWYG tools should look clean and optimization of the underlying code point that you will have the leisure to explore in a full test. But in the meantime, it is good news the output of a tool finally simple and full of advanced electronic books: this is a real need of publishers and authors which is finally filled.
Note: the package generated by iBooks Author .ibook is de facto a proprietary format. Can nevertheless extract the ePub 3 original, which will be readable on other devices – subject to their good implementation of the standards, and that the editor has not added a DRM in iTunes Producer. We will verify this point in our test.
iBooks 2: manuals, but not on Mac
These manuals, for the time being only available to the United States, were designed by the three tenors of the sector: Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They are available in a new section of the iBookstore, and accompanied by logically a new version of iBooks.
iBooks 2 supports the latest innovations of the ePub format 3, and therefore these new textbooks. It allows to handle several fingers: on stage to open an interactive object, it scans one page to another, one clip to zoom or close a chapter, etc. Are the interface of electronic books in layout fixed, the same with the PDF of iBooks… light but also a very strong inspiration of fire tools Push Pop Press. This start-up mounted by former Apple had conducted digital Al Gore “Our Choice” book before to go work at Facebook. Their work clearly were not lost.
A word in bold is a word associated with a definition: on tape on it to display it. All of the words is grouped in an index to form a glossary. Unlike paper, these manuals textbooks Digital disposent… of a search engine.
iBooks 2 allows to highlight passages (several colors are available) and take notes. An interface now allows to navigate quickly in the notes and replay them.
Notes and the important words can be automatically transformed into virtual bristol sheets for review. iBooks 2 is available for free in the App Store.
iTunes U: the virtual classroom of Apple
Apple has also, by the voice of Eddy Cue, presented the application iTunes U. It takes the popular educational section of the iTunes Store and adds functions that transform the classroom and book texts.
Teachers can post messages in the application iTunes U, giving for example duties, the courts being integrated into the application. However will need to know if the virtualization of the course – a Professor giving a course to a class empty, only students behind an iPad – in the future. iTunes U, there again, is available in the App Store.
Apple recalls with this event a little particular its attachment to the world of education. With iTunes Author, it hits hard in the field of publishing, being the first to offer – free! -a tool for creating rich books. ITunes U initiative poses more questions than it brings solutions, but it has the potential to bring new uses among professors always on the lookout for new solutions to stimulate their students.
Of course, this attachment is not free: most of the users of iBooks Author won’t go peddle their files to wear on other platforms than the iPad. These new tools are designed to strengthen the place of Apple in the educational world, it is already the most this computer society. The Mac, which has about 25% of market share in the superior, is joined here by the iPad with the desire to become a key day for the disc and therefore essential for future consumers. Extensive program.