Apple Keynote Education Disappointments

Waiting for a big education announcement.

June 10, 2013

The gap between my fantasy life and the real world has always been disturbingly large. Nowhere is this chasm more evident than at an Apple Keynote.

In my fantasy world every Apple Keynote contains at least one big education announcement. One area where Apple's hardware or software does something to help improve the quality, lower the costs, or increase access to education.

Too much to ask for? Maybe.

Monday's Keynote introduced iOS 7, iTunes Radio, an updated MacBook Air, a smarter and better sounding Siri, and the newest OS X release (Mavericks). All very nice.

But what I did not see are any education platform updates.

These e-learning updates that I would have liked to see include:

1. A Major Update to iTunes U Courses / Course Manager:    

iTunes U Courses and Course Manager are the best reasons to consider a one-to-one iPad program for your department, school of campus. The platform allows for secure delivery of readings and video to iOS devices, with support for offline content interaction, notes, and dynamic updating.

The iTunes U Courses App is a great start, but it has some significant limitations. There is no way to pre-enroll students. Analytics are limited to non-existent.  No ability to do quizzing or assessment (as is possible with iBooks Author). No interaction tools - such as blogging or discussions.  No web version of the iOS app for access to iTunes U Courses from a browser.  And no integration with any LMS platforms.

All of these updates could be done efficiently and with the existing app architecture.  What is necessary is for Apple to make mobile learning a priority, and devote the appropriate resources to this goal.

2. Voice and Video Recording Capabilities for Apps on iOS 7:

iOS devices are terrific for curricular content consumption. The iPad and iPhone have nowhere reached their potential for creating educational materials or engaging in mobile learning activities.   A great example of this limitation is the inability of iOS devices to support video and voice recording of screen content. We have some wonderful tools for rapid authoring on OS X and Windows, but almost nothing for iOS.   

What we need is a TechSmith Relay for the iPad. A ScreenFlow for iOS.  Why Apple can't bring voice and camera capture capabilities to Keynote, Numbers or Safari on iOS 7 is beyond my understanding.   How great would it be for students and faculty to quickly be able to record voice and video narrations of their presentations, spreadsheets, and websites from an iPad.  This feature should be universal across all apps....as rapid authoring capabilities would go a long way towards realizing the potential of mobile learning.

Was there anything in the Apple Keynote that got you particularly excited?

What education hardware or software announcements do you wish that Apple had made?


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