Apple planning classroom digital overhaul with "Garageband for eBooks"

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Apple are thought to be planning to launch a new eBook standard at an educational event this coming Thursday, set to revolutionise the ways in which textbooks are distributed and children learn.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple have been working with leading educational publisher McGraw-Hill for over a year on developing a new platform tied into the iTunes ecosystem.

The new platform will also implement the EPUB 3 standard in order to make rich eBook content, using a new software tool described by Ars Technica as “Garageband for eBooks”. This would replace the current clunky method of using iWork to build eBooks, but could also make sharing the eBook content across non-Apple devices difficult, something Apple obviously have no qualms about.

The proposed announcement seems something of a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it looks to offer a unique and, by all accounts, highly engaging way of presenting information in the classroom and grabbing kids’ attentions, which is obviously great.

However, locking into Apple’s ecosystem with a standard not often used elsewhere pushes children (and cash-strapped schools) into Apple’s usually-expensive order. It could deny as many children the chance to follow up on the in-class activities at home as many as it enables, particularly if the new textbooks are only compatible with Apple products.

All will be revealed on Thursday. Head back here for all the news on the announcements then.

Gerald Lynch