Apple announces major new developments in academic publishing

Computing giant Apple recently announced the launch of two new applications that could revolutionize education, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

iBooks Author is a free authoring application that allows educators to create their own fully interactive digital textbooks. Faculty can drag-and-drop images, text, video and multimedia presentations into the app to create customized learning materials for their courses. The news could revolutionize how college textbooks are created, and make learning a more engaging experience for students. For those considering filling out a college application, an iPad could soon be on their "What to bring to college" checklist.

According to CNET, students will be able to highlight passages and make notes to aid them in their studies. The second application, iBooks 2, will function as an online bookstore accessible through the iPad tablet computer. Several textbooks from major publishers are already available on the iTunes U store.

If Apple introduces discount pricing for hardware in colleges, the California-based computing company could be set to dominate the academic publishing industry. With iBooks Author, faculty will be able to create fully customizable course content based on their individual curricula, potentially making education more engaging.

What do you think of the idea of faculty creating their own books? Does the announcement make you want to learn more about digital textbooks, and how they can impact your educational experience?

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