Apple Aims to Change the Face of Education

We were all asking ourselves what will be Apple’s next big thing. What new device did Steve Jobs nurture before his untimely demise?

Is it going to be Apple TV which Jobs was talking about in the past few years? A new sleek and shiny gadget we couldn’t do without?

About 10 days ago, and without the usual fanfare reserved for a new gadget, Apple revealed their new big project.

Changing education by making text books and knowledge easily accessible to all.

At the event, which was held at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, Apple executives said: “We try to bring the same energy and passion we’ve put into every product we make into our education business as well.” They start by reinventing the k-12 school textbooks.

Armed with the fact that there already are over 1 ½ million iPads used for education and over 200,000 learning apps, they are expending their reach by introducing 3 new components:

iBooks 2

This is a reinvention of the iBooks store and is geared toward textbooks. And what textbooks do they offer? One example is the excellent E .O Wilson’s book “Life on Earth”.

This kind of Interactive book is similar to the interactive wonder the guys from Push Pop Press did with Al Gore’s book “Our Choice”. The book was presented in a TED conference in Sept. 2009 and in many minds showed the possibilities of future education. Pop Push Press was consequently bought by Facebook in August 2011. I believed at the time Facebook is aiming to change the textbook, but Apple seems to beat them to it.

The new interactive books, with text, images and videos offer everything in such an elegant and seamless way. You tap on the picture, it becomes full screen, you pinch it small and it goes back to where it was before. Slides of microscopic looks and vast vistas are a simple click away.

To get the feel of this new book you can download “Life on Earth” free of charge. It might take some time because the file is heavy but it is well worth it.

Apple hopes that many more educators will put time (and money) into creating new books which will be presented at the iBooks 2 stores and will be accessible without charge.

The other kind of interactive books are the traditional textbooks, used by students all over the United State grades k-12. You can see a sample of the book on Chemistry from McGraw Hill. It not only looks more appealing than the traditional book, with more graphics and charts, it is interactive because you can do things with the book. You can tap and drag to highlight text you think is important, you can type note relevant to the page and you can collect all of them in one place, replacing notes and  cue cards.

Those textbooks will cost no more than $14.99. Major publishers such as Houghton Miffilin Harcourt, McGraw Hill and Pearson are already working with Apple to produce more books.

iBook Author

To facilitate the creation on new books, Apple released a free OS X program. Those who’ve tried it say it is every bit as promised.  It makes life very simple by dragging and dropping media in the places you want it to be. (http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/19/apples-ibooks-author-hands-on/)

Teachers can create their own books and share them with their students on iPads. They can expend to areas beyond the curriculum and design a lively course that can be easily updated as new research becomes public. They can post assignments and class schedules.

Why would a teacher do that instead of telling the students to find it by themselves? There is too much information on the web, apple executives say. Sorting it out, knowing what is important and putting it all in one place is the future of education.  Pending Apple’s approval, the books will be published for free, in the iBooks store.

There’s another model of selling the books, in partnership with Apple (70/30). The books have a price limit of $14.99.

iTunes U

iTunes U has been around for almost 4 years, with very little attention outside the academic world. Regardless of this fact, more than 700 million downloads have already been made. Now the service is getting its own app.

iTunes U has a collection of thousands of courses from different universities. Some look like a spiral notebook and when you open them you can find the course description, the syllabus and the teacher’s bio. You can find out ahead of time what you are getting yourself into. The integration with iBooks is complete. If it says in the course you need to read an article from a certain book, no need to look it up in the store. A click will link you directly to the correct book and the right page. One click will get you back to the course and your homework. Some of the courses have live lectures as well. Teachers post assignments, homework and can leave notes. The Open University has some wonderful books on various subjects, for courses to be taken online.

The iPad can be now the only learning tool you will need. You can highlight sections, you can type notes, and you can have it all in one easy place for review.

No more excuses. Now you can learn anything, anywhere, anytime.

 Author:

@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.

 Sources:

What’s the Real Key to Success? It’s Failure

The World’s Greatest Successes are the World’s Biggest Failures

An article at Harvard Business Review by Jeff Stibel, Chairman and CEO of Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp entitled “Why I hire people who fail.” – described the efforts of a hiring executive to uncover failures in people’s backgrounds. His point? Only by failing do people learn, therefore those who have not failed have not learned.

In his article he cited Apple, who created a “Failure Wall” to learn from mistakes.

Here are three great quotes about failure:

  • “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
  • “I have not failed, I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
  • “Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” – Sophia Loren

This got me to thinking of the risks I personally took in founding the B2B demand generation company Find New Customers in 2009, our many months of failure, and the great successes we enjoy today – delighted clients, Mad Marketing TV and more.

The light bulb went on. Had I not been willing to fail over and over, the success we enjoy today would never have happened.

There’s a lesson for business leaders here. Don’t reject failure – celebrate it. Champion the risk-takers. They are the ones who make great things happen.

Sources:

Why I hire people who fail

Failure Wall

Find New Customers

The Treacherous Trip from Leopard to Lion: A Digital Fable

HOW IT ALL BEGAN
About a month ago, I awoke to find that I could no longer view videos on my computer. Was it a nightmare or was I really awake to this horror. I would receive indications on e-mails, on social media comments, on blog posts, it seemed like everywhere. The reason I knew they were videos hidden from sight was because I was constantly plagued by the sign of the black rectangle.

MAC OS X Leopard

A MAC OS X Leopard Logo © bloggism.net

NO VIDEO
Often there was a chilling warning, taunting me in written in bold letters across the rectangular black void, as if I had committed the terrible sin because my Flash player was out of date. The feeling of commencing a treacherous journey, one I had taken before, began to overshadow me. The difference from other times was that this time I was surrounded by nothing but black, rectangular mine fields. Friends would say to me, “Oh did you see that video I sent you?” and I would have to answer in the negative, confessing that I had not.

TECHNICALLY INFERIOR
It had become quite embarrassing, almost humiliating. I was functioning at a technical level lower than and inferior to just about everyone. How did it happen? And literally over night, too? I went from being a Steve Job’s products devotee to being an Apple flunky. The was my biggest humiliation. Most of the people who questioned me were ardent PC users, not even MAC loyalists. And I, the great proponent of Apple superiority, was having to admit that I could NOT even view videos. The black rectangle loomed larger and larger like a scarlet letter.

OUTDATED FLASH PLAYER
It got to the point where I could not take it any more. Every time I attempted to open a video, I got the message that the Flash Player I was using was out of date and that I needed to download a higher version. No biggie to them, the messengers inside my computer. But for me, it was mortifying. It was as if I was being told to run as fast everyone else but I had a broken leg. “I am going as fast as I can”, I found myself shouting back at the Flash message every time it appeared. It got to the point where I had to admit, even to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I have gone as fast and as far as I can with my Leopard. It is outdated and I can not use the higher level of Flash. I surrender. The black triangle has won’.

MY LEOPARD HAD FAILED ME
The Leopard, that had been my faithful digital companion for over five years, finally had failed me. I had no choice but to go to the Lions. Somehow though, the pain I had already suffered made this transition, as treacherous as I knew it would be, less daunting since I had experienced similar trips in the past.

GONE FOREVER
The address books, the years of methodical bookmarking and endless organizational hours would all have to go down the drain. “Wait a minute”, one might say. “Can’t you ‘migrate’ these things from your Leopard to your new Lion?” Once again, the blushing humiliation set it. “No, you can not”, the MAC salesman confessed. My 10.4.11 Leopard was just too old to do any of the necessary tricks to make the leap to a 10.7.2 Lion. Nothing less than a complete start over would suffice.

A MAC LION OS X logo

A MAC LION OS X logo © guardian.co.uk

IN CONCLUSION
So here I am, three days after purchase, in the midst of my safari. Yes, perhaps one might consider me brave or perhaps a fool. But I am still porting from Leopard to Lion.

POST SCRIRT
By the way, if you  have been through this nightmare and have any suggestions, tips or similar stories, please let me know. Just contact me through the comments section at the end of this story.

SOURCES:

Apple – OS X Lion – The world’s most advanced OS.
Upgrade Mac OS X to Leopard
Flash Player Version

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Hype @ Apple

hypelogo

When I first read Steve Jobs Thoughts on Flash I knew something was up. It seemed so strange that after years of diplomatic relations between Apple and Adobe – Steve Jobs was bashing one of Adobe’s most popular products and listing reason after reason as to why users won’t see Flash on Iphones and Ipads. That’s not to say that Jobs didn’t make some valid points, but the entire essay struck me as a bit odd. Could Apple be working on software that could eventually replace Flash?

“That’s crazy talk”, I thought to myself. Apparently I wasn’t too far from the mark.

Enter: Apple Hype

Offering many of the familiar interface elements that Adobe Flash has been providing, Hype is a new HTML5 animation builder and authoring tool.
This recently released app available exclusively through the Mac App store at a fairly affordable price of $29.99 USD (much cheaper than Adobe Flash) and is focused on encompassing the HTML5 formats that can include CSS3, HTML5 tags, and even the latest in Javascript technologies.

The Good News

Fortunately for those who already have some background in Flash, learning Hype may not be all that difficult. Although their graphical user interface is laid out in a different manner, the basic components remain the same.
Most developers are huge fans of drag-and-drop working function and will not be disappointed with Hype in this manner either. Users can drag:

• Images
• Vector Art
• Videos

And just about any object onto the creation stage and begin to animate them by utilizing key frames. Hype also has a fairly nifty record feature. In this manner, developers can quickly create ‘dry runs’ on freshly created animations to find out if they will work through the entire progression of a script. Oneof the big ways Hype separates itself from Adobe Flash is that instead of using a proprietary file type, the animations created in Hype can be converted into a JavaScript and CSS based animation. Say goodbye to those annoying “you must download and install the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player to view this content” messages.

Hype does offer a fair share of default elements such as text boxes, buttons, and other elements that are readily available to add to your animations. To create even more complex forms of animations Hype users will also be able to utilize scenes to break up the content, allowing developers to create their own transitions. The programs Flash-like IDE does make creating animations much easier.
So easy in fact, that even the most basic user can likely download their own copy, research the introduction movie and check out their tool bars, and create their own basic animation in a matter of minutes.
The Not So Good News

Despite excessive amounts of claims, Hype does not actually generate HTML5. Instead, it generates CSS, HTML4 and JavaScript. Hype also shows a distinctive lack of canvas elements nor does it use any of the newest APIs. However, this shouldn’t take away from what it is proficient at.
Ironically, because Hype doesn’t utilize a history API, and due to the manner in which the documents are embedded into the page, Hype disables the browsers back button. This is unfortunately not even necessary, with the support of the History API, this most important element of web browsing would remain functional.

Embedding simple Hype animations may require a bit of tweaking or alteration but it can be done. It isn’t that hard to do, but it will mean fishing into the code, which seems in a great part to defeat the purpose of Hype itself.
Only time will tell how much this program will be of benefit, and to whom.

Sources:

Steve Jobs Thoughts on Flash

Apple Engineers Create Hype

Hype Animates the Web

Build Animations in HTML5 with Hype

iPad2 Announced and Motorola Xoom Released!

Even though it was questionable as to whether he would make an appearance today or not, Steve Jobs had an announcement he wanted to be the one to share. As he strode out to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun,” he brought with him the information on a much awaited device. The iPad 2.

While some of the newest viewers claim that the iPad 2’s cover is far more impressive than the moderate upgrades and updates made to the new iPad, others heartily disagree. Jobs wants users to understand, that this isn’t a simple tweaked and fluffed upgrade, but a new device created from the ground up.

Narrow Augmented Reality

This version of the iPad will be a bit thinner, a tad lighter and have a few more features than the old version. Front and rear-facing cameras will allow users to use applications like Facetime as well as take photos or video. In addition, augmented reality applications that require users to ‘look through’ the iPad while drawing data atop of the normal view is supported.

Motorola Xoom has already been tested with an augmented reality option in the recent past. In fact, the March 2011 issue of Popular Science will feature a 3D interactive cover that will reveal Android’s 3.0 Honeycomb-powered Xoom device. Xoom comes with a 1.3MP front camera, and a 5MP rear camera.

More Apps

Apparently, there can never be enough apps. With over 65,000 apps currently fueling the iPad, the new iPad 2 has already generated a whole new generation of apps. A YouTube application allows users to watch videos directly from YouTube. With a high resolution screen, users can also choose to view their videos in high definition with impressive results.  

Xoom already has its own impressive list of apps in those such as the Wall Street Journal Tablet Edition app that allows more than just an informative read, but also allows users to download entire papers to read at their own pace, even if out of range of a wi-fi connection.  Fuze Meeting, that helps to facilitate communication between team or group members has proved another reliable Xoom app.

New Processors

The new main CPU on the iPad 2 is the Samsung A5 dual-core processor. This processor will offer speeds up to nine times faster than its original device. Additionally, there is also a newer graphics processor that is twice the speed of the original iPad.

On the Xoom you will also find a dual-core processor, the Tegra 2 powered by NVIDIA. 

Aesthetics

Although unlikely to be dubbed fashion-forward by anyone, it will come available in white or black from day one this time. Also, the iPad 2 is only a mere 8.8mm thick. This is thinner than the iPhone itself. Think that is amazing? It has become even lighter at a slight 1.3 pounds.

Motorola Xoom comes in black.

However, as with just about any other mobile device, both products have already sparked another set of case and cover industries so your customization options, in the manner of accessories, is nearly limitless on both devices.

Verizon Support

If you are one of the many consumers locked into a Verizon data-network, than you will be delighted to know that there will also be a version of the iPad 2 that will support Verizon’s cellular network. Since Verizon claims one of the most widespread networks in the United States, this could be incredibly good news for an incredible amount of iPad users. Although Verizon isn’t known to be the most affordable carrier, they do boast incredible coverage that will make this version of the iPad 2 nothing short of phenomenal in coverage for this type of device.

Xoom has this covered as well. There is an available Verizon version for this device as well. The Xoom like the Ipad2 will has data and non data options.

Under the Bling and $$$’s of the iPad 2

Although iPad 2 sure does seem to sport some shiny bells and impressive whistles, in the end, it may not be enough to talk consumers out of anywhere between $500 and $1200.00 of their hard earned cash, and those at ‘auction’ pricing. 

The new iPad will be released for purchase on Friday, March the 11th, 2011 in the United States and on March the 25th in other selected countries worldwide.

Under Xoom’s Hood

Although personal choice in applications or abilities and even things such as accessories can always be weighing factors in personal choices between these types of technological devices, these specifics or details are still likely not the deciding factor for most who may be weighing which of the newer devices they actually plan to sink the funds into. Although Xoom may be a bit more expensive in initial cost at around $800 for the Verizon version and $600 for open wi-fi, in the long run, its application cost and accessories are likely to cost far less than its Apple counterparts.

My Biased Opinion

    Apple has its core following, it has grown as far as it can, now that more reasonable and advanced players are in the Market with Android it shouldn’t be long before the Android platform surpasses the iPad just like it did the iPhone.

   Steve, its called Flash, wonderful little upgrade you missed.

Sources:

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