Industry Awaits Apple's Big Education Announcement Thursday

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Industry Awaits Apple's Big Education Announcement Thursday

ebook pic.jpg The Big Apple may be the city that never sleeps, but Apple is certainly the company that never snoozes either.  Therefore, perhaps it is fitting that Apple has sent out an invitation stating, “Join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple,” which will take place at 10 a.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 19, at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum.

From iPhones to iPads to iTouches, to anything i-related, Apple has certainly never been one to take a nap when it comes to technology innovations. But, its latest announcement appears to have less to do with i-madness and more to do with my favorite topic – education.

Sure, Apple has already dipped its feet in almost every tech pool – from gadgets to tablets to gismos galore –but now it appears that the empire wants to take a stab at something a little less techy and a little more “schooly.”

Some industry analysts are surmising that the big announcement is that the company is planning on improving its iBooks platform –which was recently upgraded to include sound, video and other features. Others are more convinced that Apple will announce tools to help create interactive eBooks, or the “GarageBand for eBooks,” and expand its current platform to distribute them to iPhone and iPad users. And, still, others are confident that perhaps Apple is ready to take a stab at the digital textbook nascent market.

While the new venture might propel Apple into a more vast education landscape, Apple has done a great job showing its support for education thus far. Most importantly, the company has unveiled a series of educational learning apps that bring an interactive component to everyday lessons. In particular, Apple has made quite a splash in the special education market with apps like the Autism Timer, which offers a digital timer for students with autism; the Proloquo2Go, which offers picture-based communication for children with communication disorders; and iWriteWords, which encourages fine motor skills. 

Moreover, through the iPad, Apple has been able to bring video conferencing to the classroom which allows students to go on virtual field trips, collaborate with students from foreign countries and participate in interactive dialogues. Even more, last year, the company teamed with Teach for America in an iPad donation program that helped put thousands of the devices in classrooms around the country.

With a company like Apple spearheading a new initiative, the possibilities are truly endless. Now, back to my dreams of digital textbooks and an app that helps you prioritize which homework assignments to do first…



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