Teachers who are used to asking their students to stop playing with their iPhones may be in for a surprise if Apple's latest idea takes off.
The American technology giant has just announced that it plans to revolutionise the textbook industry in much the way it did to the music industry with the launch of its iPod.
Yesterday (January 19th), Apple unveiled the latest addition to its iPad tablet computer, iBooks 2.
The new application features a system that enables dynamic and interactive textbooks called iBook textbooks and with it Apple plans to conquer the textbook market and revolutionise the lives of people in teaching jobs across the world.
While there are already 1.5 million iPads being used by education institutions around the world, the aim is that iBooks 2 will help grow this number and make the tablet a ubiquitous education tool for teachers and pupils alike.
Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, said: "Education is deep in Apple's DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet.
"Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love."
While the intuitive interface of the iPad should allow textbooks to become more engaging, interactive and informative, Apple is also launching new features that it believes will enable teachers to maximise its potential.
The new iBooks Author app allows users to publish their own books to the iBookstore quickly and simply, while the brand new iTunes U app allows teachers to access a vast catalogue of education material.
Whether schools choose to adopt the devices remains to be seen, but one teacher in America who has taken part in an e-textbook pilot is convinced it is the future of education.
Kris Odette told the Canadian Press that while parents were initially sceptical, when they saw that digital textbooks were helping their children achieve eight to ten per cent better results they became a lot more supportive.
"Essentially everyone has their own website and when they log in all their textbooks are available for them," he explained.
"The idea is trying to move with the digital age and students are [already] accessing computers for all their information."
Posted by Tim Colman