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Live Blogging the Apple Education Announcement

New York — Apple managed to make news simply by announcing that it would hold a press conference on the topic of education. All week long, other education-technology companies have seized the moment to push out their own announcements, trying to ride a wave of mainstream attention to how technology is changing education.

This morning starting at 10 a.m. EST, the company is set to make its announcement, and The Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog, along with the ProfHacker blog, will be there, posting live updates.

[Update: Below is an archive of our live blogging. For more coverage, see a story in The Chronicle and a post on the ProfHacker blog.]

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10:57: Presentation is over. Now we’ll have a chance to demo the new software tools here. Stay tuned for a Chronicle article later today.

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@kfitz: Back to Phil. “Apple exists at the intersection between liberal arts and technology.”

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10:54: Phil S. back on stage: Sounds like things might be wrapping up. Will there be “one more thing”?

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10:52: Universities have already created over 100 full online courses in iTunesU, and they’re free. As of today, K-12 schools can sign up too.

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@kfitz: Outline for course gives complete syllabus; can be customized with stuff like office hours.

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10:49: Integration between iBook reader and iTunesU, so it can keep track for students how far along they are in their homework.

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10:47: Want to let teachers create full online courses. Everything you need to make a course. New app announced to support this new iTunesU.

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10:45: Apple rep back on stage. Next announcement, something new with iTunes U. They call it the world’s largest catalog of educational content. Not sure if that’s really true though.

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@kfitz: Superintendent of LA Unified School District: interactive textbooks will create huge leaps in what’s possible for students.

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@kfitz: Video demo of textbooks: fast, fluid navigation, interactive objects, note taking, etc.

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@kfitz: “There is no reason today to assume that students have to use the same tools as 1950. To do so is to prepare them for a world already past.”

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10:37: Another video of high-school teachers talking. They’re complaining about negatives of current textbook model.

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10:36: E.O. Wilson biology book: Life on Earth (again K-12). This will be exclusive on iBookstore, and first two chapters are free.

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10:35: Announced initial partnership in K-12 textbooks with three companies: McGraw Hill (5 textbooks so far), Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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10:31: Apple said biggest need for e-textbooks is high school. iBookstore will feature e-textbooks that cost $14.99 or less.

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10:30: Announces that this book-making tool will be free, and is available today.
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10:29: Philip S. back on stage. Sums up and mentions that users can publish right to iBookstore.

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10:27: Calls it a “total miracle in terms of time-savings” in designing and publishing books. Must say it looks pretty easy to build these books with interactive features and galleries, and show it on iPad in a few clicks.

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@kfitz: Adding content to book is drag-and-drop; slick automatic text layout, but manipulable, too.

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10:25: Combined Keynote and iBooks2. Interesting. PowerPoint-type tool meets book-creation.

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10:24: “How about adding some media … super-simple,” says demo man.

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@kfitz: iBooks Author, Mac application, feature-rich authoring tool for creation of any kind of book, but amazing textbook authoring experience.

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10:21: Next announcement: “iBooks Author.” Yep, it’s the rumored tool to make books. Not just for textbooks, but focused on textbooks.

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@kfitz: How do we get these awesome textbooks? iBooks Store: new categories view includes textbooks category.

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10:19: “You own the book forever.” That’s a big difference from many publishers e-textbooks are, which self-destruct after a semester.

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10:18: Shows tool that automatically turns student notes and highlights into study cards. “No more ever having to make paper flashcards.” First big applause from audience.

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10:16: Demonstrating highlighting and note-taking. A few mis-swipes get a nervous laugh.

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@kfitz: Rosner: authors have total freedom in laying out text and graphics. (KF: One assumes that the authoring tool that allows this is to follow.)

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10:15: Lots of talk about book navigation, but nothing too new and different yet.

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@kfitz Kathleen Fitzpatrick: Text has nice layouts, embedded videos, pinch-and-zoom drilling in. Pretty awesome visualizations, 3D models.

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10:10: He says “These are gorgeous, gorgeous books.” Also shows interactive features, like an animated 3D model of structure of a cell.

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10:08: Brand new iBooks2. Brings a new textbook experience to the iPad.

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@kfitz: Schiller: iPad #1 on teen wish lists at Christmas this year. The iPad’s many virtues include 20K+ ed/learning apps.

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10:06: First area he will talk about: Reinventing the textbook.

10:05: “No one person or company can fix it all.” Apple will focus on student engagement. Now he’s saying how cool iPads are. He says iPad is affordable. Some spin going on there (it’s more expensive than many other tablets).

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10:05: Showed video of K-12 teachers.

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10:02: Giving bleak education statistics in math and science education. “We can do better than this.”

10:00: Philip Schiller from Apple. … “We try to same passion and energy we put into every product we make into our education business as well. Something profound starting to happen. (He means students buying iPads.)

“We’re on the cusp of something really great.
But there are challenges in education both old and new, and they’re pretty profound.”

9:55: Seated at the event, they just asked us to turn off our iPhones. Well, our electronic devices.

We’re doing this coverage in coordination with our ProfHacker blog, so Kathleen Fitzpatrick is sitting next to me, and she’ll be adding her thoughts as we go. Follow her on @kfitz and we’ll put her tweets here.

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