Archive for December, 2011

When will education make the ‘tablet’ jump?


Tablet devices and tablet PCs, such as Apple’s iPad, Motorola’s XOOM and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, are currently at the forefront of the digital landscape. Regardless of the OS these devices run on, they can all play games, read eBooks, run apps, read the news, browse the internet and check the weather for you.

But after finishing reading Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, one thought came to mind that had also struck Jobs late in his life – why is it that the education industry has been largely unaffected by the changes in the digital landscape? Jobs pointed out that in the 21st century, why is it that student’s still have to carry a backpack to and from school containing 3 or 4 heavy textbooks? Firstly, it’s not good for a young person’s back to be carrying that sort of weight around. And secondly, when we have these new tablet devices so readily available, why is it that educational materials haven’t made the seemingly obvious electronic switch?

How much simpler would it be if every student at school simply had an iPad, Galaxy Tab or XOOM that contained their text books, reading material, study novels, calculator and research materials. That way the load on student’s backs is drastically reduced, by the fact all they need to carry around is a tablet that weighs less than 1kg, and educational materials can suddenly be much more engaging and tailored to the student by taking advantage of the interactive strengths of a tablet. Plus, the cost of the text books could be drastically reduced, meaning the financial burden on parents of putting their kids through school is also reduced. Yes, there is the up-front cost of the tablet itself, but this would easily be offset inside a year by savings on text books and other learning materials or by having a loan-style arrangement between students, the schools, and the tablet manufacturers.

Having developed apps for iPad, such as the Ultimate A-League app and some of our MiBooks books, it’s easy to see from our standpoint the advantages of moving education in this direction. Personally, if I was in school today, I’d much prefer to be in an English class reading Shakespeare from an iPad or in a Maths class running through demonstrations and calculations on a XOOM, than I would be lugging around half a library on my back. With the direction technology is moving in, it makes good sense – and hopefully is just a matter of time before education and technology really meet head on.

Sneak peek at the next MiBooks adventure

We can’t reveal too much at this stage, or release the name or any actual screenshots just yet, but below are the application icons for the next MiBooks ‘choose your own adventure’ kids book for iPhone and iPad. What we can tell you, and it is quite obvious from the images below, is that it’s a swashbuckling, treasure hunting adventure on the seven seas….aaaarrr! There will be some screenshots and demo videos being released over the coming weeks, so stay tuned to our blog, Facebook or Twitter.

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