Tag Archive for ‘Education’

The Case for an ePad ➝

Stephen Hackett:

What would it mean for Apple to make an ePad?

Making the tablet more rugged would be at the top of the list for a lot of educators. I’ve heard numbers all over the place when it comes to accidental damage rates for deployed iPads in schools, but making an ePad that could take more abuse would be a winner in most people’s books, I’m sure. […]

Apple should also reconsider its keyboard strategy. I don’t know if taking a page out of the education-only eMate 300 and going with a built-in keyboard is the right answer for every school, so in this fantasy, let’s say every ePad can support an external keyboard via the Smart Connector, but perhaps there could be a SKU that came with a keyboard built into the device more directly. It should still fold flat out of the way when not needed, granting greater flexibility than the traditional notebook form factor.

An inexpensive, education-only iPad that’s built to withstand some punishment sounds like a compelling product. I expect there’s a lot of school districts that would reconsider their hardware choices if such a device existed.

Education Event Speculation

As you may have heard, late last week, Apple announced an education-themed event to be held in Chicago on March 27. The last Apple event like this was in 2012, in which they announced iBooks 2, iBooks Author, and iTunes U for iOS. This time around, the event is being held at Lane Tech College Prep High School.

At first glance, this feels like it’s going to be a relatively small event — as in, no hardware releases — but I’m not so sure. This will likely be Apple’s only opportunity to unveil products on stage before WWDC in June and many of the usual suspects received invitations. If Apple had anything slated for the beginning of the year, this is the time to announce it. And of course, many school districts begin planning the following school year’s budget in the spring. If Apple wants to compete with inexpensive Chromebooks, they’ll have announce products before WWDC.

The most obvious potential product announcement is an upgrade to the current iPad at an even lower starting price. DigiTimes first floated the idea last December, as reported by MacRumors, which was corroborated earlier this month by Taiwan’s Economic Daily News. There isn’t much in the way of details about what exactly this new iPad would feature, but DigiTimes’ sources believed that Apple was targeting a $259 price point.

This will likely be a minor upgrade from the existing iPad — probably an A10 Fusion processor and some improvements to the camera system, but not much else. The story will be all about what you get for your money — powerful computational abilities, a great display, built-in cameras for augmented reality, and an immense software catalog.

But the iPad isn’t the only possible hardware announcement for this event. Earlier this month, KGI Securities issued a report to investors claiming that Apple has a new MacBook in the works that is poised to replace the existing MacBook Air. Like the rumored iPad, details on the new MacBook are sparse. There doesn’t even seem to be any consensus as to whether the new machine will be given the “Air” moniker — KGI refers to it as “MacBook Air” while DigiTimes has simply called it “MacBook”.

What these reports do indicate, however, is that Apple is planning to position the new model at a price point lower than the current MacBook Air — maybe $800-900. Introducing new, inexpensive MacBooks and iPads would be a good one-two-punch from Apple, helping to bolster their offerings in the education market.

There will certainly be software discussed at the event. iOS 11.3 should be launching soon and could make an appearance on stage, but it brings very few new features to the platform. iBooks has been renamed “Books”, iMessages sync over iCloud, and the introduction of AirPlay 2 are the biggest new features, but that won’t fill much time on stage.

iOS 11.3, a new iPad, and MacBook Air aren’t enough to justify an Apple event. I get the feeling Apple has something else up its sleeve. And it’s probably something big that would be particularly intriguing to education customers.

I haven’t been able to fully formulate this thought, though. What could Apple be up to in this regard? Something to do with Swift Playgrounds and teaching software development? Maybe there will be a new mechanism for sharing apps between classmates. Or a massive upgrade to Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. I have a lot of ideas of what it could be, but none of them stand out above the rest.

Whatever the case, Apple has clearly been working on something. And I’m excited to see what that might be. If you have any ideas for what Apple might have in store next week, let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Microsoft’s Answer to Chromebooks ➝

Romain Dillet, writing for TechCrunch:

Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS is called Windows 10 S. This new operating system is a streamlined and secured version of Windows 10. It runs sandboxed apps and doesn’t require expensive hardware.

And this is where Microsoft shines as it can talk with all major PC OEMs to convince them to build Windows 10 S devices. The company announced that Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba are all working on Windows 10 S devices.

These machines will start at $189 and will ship with a one-year subscription of Minecraft: Education Edition alongside free access to Office 365’s online apps for students and teachers.

The downside is, these devices won’t be shipping until sometime this summer. Many schools do their purchasing at the end of the school year — like, right now. And having to wait a few more months for these is a deal breaker.

Apple Publishes iPad Starter Guides for Educators ➝

AppleInsider:

Released through iTunes U, the new series consists of six starter guides recently published by Apple Education, the company’s in-house edtech team. Apple advertised the collection’s launch in an email sent out to iTunes U users, and is featuring in the Education section of the iBooks Store.

I hope these iPad-based education initiatives are successful. I’d love to see more iPads in classrooms.

Amazon Unveils Online Education Service for Teachers ➝

Natasha Singer looked at Amazon’s new endeavor from a “technology in the classroom” perspective, but I think that’s a little off the mark. One of the biggest problems in education is the erosion of planning time. Teachers are spending more time with students in the classroom and are given less time to produce lesson plans. Unless something radical changes, teachers need resources like this to keep their head above water. This may turn into technology in the classroom play at some point in the future, but in the meantime, it’s going to be more about good old fashioned worksheets and instructional guidance.

Apple’s New Classroom Experiment ➝

Apple is providing 114 schools nationwide with an iPad for each student, a MacBook for each teacher, and an Apple TV for each classroom. The effort should help bolster their position in the education market and, potentially, build a generation of students who grew up using iOS as their primary computing platform.

One of the biggest problems with adding technology to the classroom, though, is that districts tend to purchase devices without any plan for integrating into the curriculum. Teachers are told that they must include technology in their lesson plans in order to justify the cost of equipment, but aren’t given any guidance or training on how to do so. Apple is attempting to fix this issue by sending an employee to each of their chosen schools for 17 days each year for teacher trainings and lesson plan mentoring.

Apple Classroom First Impressions ➝

Fraser Speirs shares his impressions of Apple’s newly released Classroom app for iPad. If you work in education, especially as a teacher, I encourage you to read it all the way through. There’s a good chance you’ll be using this at some point in the future.

Textbooks and iTunes U on iPad ➝

Stephen Hackett, writing on 512 Pixels:

Today, however, the company is in a fight for the classroom. With low-cost Chromebooks, Google is making great inroads across the country’s classrooms.

With iOS 9.3, Apple is firing back, adding to its tools to make the iPad a better citizen in schools. I believe education is still near to the heart of Apple, and I’m sure they’ll keep working to improve their offerings in the space. They’ve come a long way since 2012, that’s for sure, but I’m not sure their dream of digital textbooks will ever come true.