When many people think of areas where Apple competes and creates paradigm-changing products, computer electronics and mobile devices probably come to mind long before education. In truth, though, education is another serious area of focus for Apple, and other tech and service giants including Samsung or Amazon have entered the competition as well. Apple recently launched two of its top educational tools — iBooks e-textbooks and the iTunes U Course Manager course creation app — to a wider market in an effort to secure its place at the forefront of digital education.
New Countries Discover Digital Learning with Apple
These two products, which promise to change the way that students learn and teachers educate, are now available in new countries in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, as a recent Apple press release explains. Altogether, 51 countries now have access to the iBooks app and the reading materials that are offered through it. The iTunes U Course Manager tool is becoming even more widely available, with education professionals in 70 countries now able to access it and create all-digital courses through it. Countries that have newly received access to these resources include Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Italy, Russia, and Brazil. Some students in all of these countries will surely soon experience the educational benefits of Apple’s new and immersive digital format.
A Rundown on these Revolutionary Technologies
Both iBooks and iTunes U Course Manager are valuable educational tools, from the vantage point of professionals and students alike. Through iBooks textbooks, students can access numerous texts from any iOS or Mac device. Students can enjoy the portability, affordability, and immersive quality of these textbooks, which are digitally designed from the ground up. Educators, meanwhile, can use iTunes U Course Manager to create fully digital lessons. These lessons are accessible through iTunes U and provide students with all of the information that they need — including text, photos, videos, recorded lectures, outside links, and more — as well as useful features like push notifications that alert students to new assignments. The two resources work in tandem: materials created through iTunes U Course Manager can be published for a wider market on the iBooks platform.
The Global Education Competition Continues
Apple is not the only giant making strides in the digital education market in recent years. Traditional textbook giants have been making strides in the digital education realm, with offerings including full curriculum e-textbooks by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt among others. Amazon fared especially well in 2012 and 2013, rolling out Whispercast and new offerings for Kindle FreeTime. Whispercast facilitates the distribution of materials to various Kindles and lets people who own Kindles opt into the program and access the same materials, making Whispercast an ideal tool for schools that use Kindle devices. Kindle FreeTime, meanwhile, now allows parents to set controls that block children from “fun” Kindle features until they have met certain educational goals, facilitating learning outside of the classroom.
There is no doubt that competition for dominance in the growing market of digital and online educational resources is tough. Still, the fact that Apple is already known internationally and working to establish itself abroad in this newer field should not be underestimated. Apple’s latest push for expansion should help improve the quality and ease of education that students have access to, which in turn may help Apple win over new students in various parts of the world.