22 January 2012

Apple launches e-textbook tools with new iBooks

Apple aims to drive the use of electronic textbooks in the classroom by making it easier for publishers to create interactive titles.

The company has announced a range of new tools and services which it claims will "reinvent the textbook".
Leading names in educational resources are involved, including the world's biggest, UK-based Pearson Publishing.

Apple will compete with existing offerings from Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook device.
Roger Rosner, Apple's vice president of productivity applications, demonstrated the books, some of which are now available to download, at an event in New York.

Also on display was iBooks Author, a free program that will allow educators and authors to make their own interactive books for the iPad.

Apple has also said it has enhanced iTunes U - the educational section of its iTunes store - to allow a wider breadth of university level resources.
'Huge challenge'
The company's senior vice-president, Philip Schiller, said books aimed at high school students would be priced at $14.99 (£10) or below.

Louise Robinson, president of the Girls' Schools Association, said e-textbooks could bring education to life "in a way we've not had before".

"Having movies and videos embedded; being able to search; look up a glossary; write your own notes and then going to exam questions... just tying it all together on one device is a magical experience I think for the the children."

However, she warned that UK schools were still some way from being able to fully utilise such technologies.
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