Apple in Education webinar 2012

May 4, 2012 at 11:58 am | Posted in waffle | Leave a comment
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I’ve just attended a glossily produced webinar by the Apple Higher Education team about ‘Education in the Post-PC World’. As you might expect, the focus was on the potential of the iPad – with Apps, iBooks (especially those developed using iBooks Author) and iTunes U. The main presentation provided an uncritical, uncontested and relentlessly upbeat  view of online learning – no mention of the challenges that they present both academics and students – but, hey, this is a sales pitch! There was some video from UCL which had some great quotes from managers, tutors and students, and showed their really positive vision for online learning. A recording of the webinar will be available soon, if you want to review it.

There was some great double-think; Flash and Silverlight bad, because they don’t work on (Apple) mobile devices and so restrict access, but interactive iBooks good, even though they only play on iPad. There was also the implicit view that learning is all about content, probably because Apple understands very clearly how content can be monetised. iTunes U may be free, but to use it you have to have iTunes on your PC and so it may well become your default media player – and then an iPhone becomes a better choice than an Android phone.

I have a MacBook laptop as my home PC, and an iPhone and probably an iPad soon as well, so don’t get me wrong – they make great products that work well – but I’m dead set against educational approaches that lock our students into buying from company A rather than company B. The interactive iBooks look fabulous, but I’d rather the output was HTML5 that could be played on any device – such as a laptop. Technology lock-in – just say no.

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