Apple has launched a new digital platform called iBooks 2, which aims to reinvent our notions of the traditional textbook and instead provide students and teachers all over the globe with educational resources straight to their iPads.
The iBooks 2 platform (a revamped version of Apple’s eBook reading app for iOS devices), will allow students of all levels to browse through content, access glossary definitions, view embedded 3D animated models and add enhanced interactive gallery features to books. They’ll also be able to take in-app notes and follow links back through to the iBooks store to get more resources (and keep Apple rich).
The iBooks 2 platform is an interesting yet predictable move from Apple and the idea of browsing through materials solely using an iPad is far far more appealing than flicking through dirty textbooks that were probably bought back in the 60s. However, many are now questioning whether it will really change the way we learn in the future or whether the new platform will be a privilege reserved for those with the cash to splash on iPads and shiny new digital textbooks. So for now we’re not expecting the death of the textbook as we know it, but we can see these kinds of content-rich resources being a valuable addition to all kinds of classroom over the next year.
The iBooks 2 app will be hitting the iTunes store today and although it’s free the books themselves (quite obviously) aren’t.
As well as introducing iBooks 2, today Apple also introduced the iTunes U application, which provides teachers with a way to deliver content straight to university students who own iPads and iPhones. Full courses including video, documents and books can be delivered and important information about assignments and the syllabus can also be accessed too, a little like the student portals you get at most universities. Users will also be able to access free educational content from top establishments, like Cambridge and Harvard. How fancy.[Image via CNET]