Friday, January 20, 2012

Apple takes a big bite out of School Budgets, with expensive iPad's, to access e-textbooks.

iPads are still very expensive when you consider what you can get now via Android tablets. While iPads hover around $400, a simple 7” android tablet has now plummeted to $80. I’m just guessing, but I think school districts would be very happy ordering hundreds of $80 tablets as opposed to $400 tablets.
But Apple doesn’t give a damn, as usual, as it tries to corner the e-textbook market.

Even more sinister; they’ll get their grubby little hooks into the kids who will be required to own Apple’s typically overpriced exclusive product and accessories. Ah, I can remember my first 2nd grade iPad….wrong! The greed meisters at Apple would love that to happen though.
EdWeek: Apple Inc. announced aggressive new efforts yesterday to move into the K-12 electronic-textbook market … through a partnership with three major K-12 textbook publishers—McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt—Apple is offering interactive textbooks through its iBooks store at $14.99 or less. The textbooks feature multimedia elements, including video, three-dimensional graphics, and photo galleries. They also allow students to highlight text to create flashcards and search within a glossary.

Big deal, right? Most Android tablets can do all that and more. But Apple wants it all:
The publishers will give Apple a cut of the revenue; 30 percent in the case of individual consumers, and an undetermined amount when selling on a state or district level. Apple announced it is upgrading iTunes U to allow teachers to create entire online courses. iTunes U is also now expanding to the K-12 market.

Slow down, what about the cost?
But some critics believe the cost of the devices could prevent the innovative textbooks from being used by the students who need them most. By the end of the year, for example, McGraw-Hill will produce five Apple-only textbooks. If the textbooks can be used on Apple devices only, it could require cash-strapped districts to decide on Apple or a lesser education.

“Unless the economy significantly improves and the state governments have a load of money, I’m not sure where the districts will find money for $400 devices, and textbooks,” said Osman Rashid, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Kno, an e-textbook company in Santa Clara, Calif., that focuses on higher education.
UPDATE: 1-30 Monday: Looks like Wisconsin schools won't have to break their budgets:
The Madison school district in Wisconsin is buying 1,400 iPads for its classrooms, and the cash to land the deal is coming from a settlement with Microsoft. The district is starting by distributing 600 iPads among students and teachers and plans to add another 800 iPads by next fall, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Wisconsin and Microsoft settled a software-related lawsuit in 2009 that landed US$3.4 million for the state, along with $80 in technology vouchers. $2.1 million was divided between the schools, and the Madison district is using some of that to finance its iPad purchases.

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