The Apple iPad Textbook Initiative

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With the launch of textbooks for the iPad, Apple Inc. has set in motion the potential for students to say “so long” to the days of lugging around heavy book bags. The textbook initiative was announced last Thursday, January 19th, and begins with a small selection of standard high school books.

The program does not come without critics, many who say that it is too difficult to integrate a program where high school students have to buy their own books when text books are typically purchased directly by the school, and then reused each year. There is also concern that there would be a divide between students who could afford iPads using them along side students who cannot afford them, with worry being that it could be embarrassing for low-income students.

For schools considering buying iPads to let students use, instead of text books, the budget impact would be substantial as they would not only have to pay for the iPads (and likely many replacement iPads as the tablets are lost or damaged), but also incur fees for the books. In a high school setting, this could be a very cost-prohibitive initiative.

But Apple won’t be swayed, saying that there are already over 1 million iPads being used in educational settings and feel that this shows high potential for educational institutes to ditch the printed books and opt for less-cumbersome, more eco-friendly, ebooks. With most textbook publishers having offered their textbooks in electronic form for years, this initiative simply offers more opportunity for the ebooks to be utilized. Additionally, the electronic versions offer interactive quizzes and videos, something much more interesting than the regular paper versions. To learn more and watch the official Apple video announcing this new program, go here.

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