Last week, I wrote about Apple's Potential Game Changer in Education. Apple's announcement of tools to empower anyone to be a textbook publisher on the iPad met various positive and critical reviews.
Ronnie Burt over at The Edublogger" explains that Apple's education announcement was "Not a Game Changer."
"The announcements today by Apple do not result in any major way of changing the way we approach education. This isn't really Apple's fault, as nobody has yet to crack this one and do it well. You still have "curriculum" being created in advance and given to teachers and students exactly like textbooks always have been. Now, those textbooks are just lighter, cheaper, and more fun to read (all of which are great things!)."
"Students are still thought of as "content consumers" in this scenario as opposed to active participants. The new iBook reader allows for easy highlighting and note-taking, which is useful, but there isn't a way to discuss texts or collaborate with others. It is in these more interactive tasks that students construct their own knowledge and learn best - not through passively reading and playing with images."
"What we still need to figure out is a way to manage the individual needs of students - a system that makes it possible to provide a truly differentiated curriculum that is accessible whenever needed."
Ronnie makes a good point that perhaps a true "game changer" should create deeper changes to the structure of classrooms and schools and the way students are more actively engaged in managing their learning.
John Titlow over at ReadWriteWeb explains Why Apple Won't Disrupt the Textbook Industry Anytime Soon, placing the "Apple Revolution" in perspective with other widely available education tools that have slowly been changing the learning landscape.
"Education is already being blown wide open by the Web. The mere concepts of "the lecture" and "the textbook" begin to look antiquated in light of things like Khan Academy, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, iTunes U and MIT's Open Courseware."
"Those examples are just the tip of the iceberg. You'd be hard-pressed to find a student in the U.S. today that isn't already using the Internet to supplement their educational experience to some extent. Apple is well aware of the changes that are already underway. That's why they're doing this."
Over at Macworld, Ryan Fass has broader conclusions of Apple's New Vision of Education, pointing out that:
"Lifelong learning may be one of the most incredible and yet easily overlooked achievements in Apple's vision of 21st century education. The company is making all of this learning content and tools available to virtually anyone, anywhere and at impressively low costs."
This is the most insightful part of his analysis:
"While Apple's education efforts will directly or indirectly affect how future generations learn as they grow up, perhaps the biggest feat is removing barriers to knowledge and supporting multiple learning styles from childhood through adulthood."
These themes of "removing barriers" and "supporting multiple learning styles from childhood through adulthood" resonate most.
Perhaps these themes are larger than Apple or any one brand or technology.
With all these choices in technology, maybe it's not about a specific brand, tool, or format.
It's About You
In the end, what matters most is that you choose your technology to revolutionize your own teaching and learning. You will choose your technology based on your context, but what matters is that you make your choice and move forward.
Perhaps you will choose the Apple ecosystem. Maybe you will choose tools on the PC, Kindle, or a tablet running the Android OS. Or, you might choose to learn from web resources such as Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, or the wide variety of educational resources on You Tube and the Teaching Channel.
In this era of on-demand learning and content creation, access to learning is the game changer. Choose your technology and use it in a way that is meaningful for you.
It's up to you to choose to revolutionize your learning....
Have you made your choice?