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[View the story "New iPads Spark Education Discussions" on Storify]New iPads Spark Education DiscussionsThe iPad 4 and iPad Mini bring more options into the tablet space. But ultimately, the education conversation around these devices comes down to price and teaching quality. Storified by centerdigitaled · Tue, Oct 23 2012 15:11:49Apple announced a new iPad 4, iPad Mini and iBook Author update on Tuesday, Oct. 23, in a live-streamed event. Since the first generation of the tablet entered the market in 2010, the company has sold 100 million of them. This news is important in the education world because 2,500 schools in the United States use digital textbooks that were created in iBook Author. The updates to iBook Author include the ability to use new templates, import fonts and insert mathematical expressions. The mathematical expressions capability is a big deal, Apple CEO Tim Cook said. The most interesting announcement I thought was being able to embed your own fonts with iBook author.Ian A. RalphBut the application doesn't work for all publishers. Kelli Campbell, Discovery Education's senior vice president, said the updates were positive improvements. However, they don't overcome the concerns that held the digital content provider back from publishing through the application a few months ago."We chose not to work with the software because the content and the application would then only be available through the iBook store," Campbell said. "That presented some provisioning concerns for us as well as we would lose the connection directly with the end user, who we felt really needed the professional development in order to make this effective." Back to the iPads, Apple announced two new iPad versions: No. 4 and the Mini. The iPad 4 has a new retina display, double the CPU and graphics performance, and the same starting price of $499 as the previous version. The Mini is 23 percent thinner than the fourth generation, as light as a pad of paper, and starts at $329 for a Wi-Fi only, 16 gigabyte model. Cook spent quite a bit of time comparing the Mini to the Google Nexus 7, which came out this summer and is in a similar size range, but priced at $249 for the 16 gigabyte model and $199 for the 8 gigabyte model. @shareski the starting price point seems a tad high to effectively compete with the 7. sad as Apple could more than make up for it in app $ZaliPad Mini vs. Google Nexus 7 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire HD http://cnet.co/OZMOYICNETIPad Mini over priced and under specced still happy with my Nexus 7Richard JordanI suspect the Nexus 7 has sold rather well. But if Google doesn't say HOW well, publishers won't take the risk of supporting it.Benedict Evans@teach42 Have you spent any prolonged time with the Nexus 7? Truly, it's a fantastic user experience. = to and better than iOS in ways.Ben Grey@teach42 I much prefer my N7 to my iPad. For more than just form factor.Ben GreyThe most significant announcements as far as education goes were the iPad 4 and the Mini, Campbell said. The other devices -- including the new Mac lineup -- are still in the high price range for most school districts."Anytime you have a scenario -- with especially Apple being such a disruptive force -- that can possibly impact the application of new hardwares and technologies into schools, that's good," Campbell said. "I actually was a little surprised the price point didn't come in a little lower, but [the Mini] is now a viable option for school districts to purchase." However school districts will end up supporting a variety of devices from various vendors, including student devices and their own hardware. That's why the digital content that schools use on these devices needs to be platform-neutral, Campbell said."Ultimately it's going to be the content that performs on those devices," Campbell said, "and I think the need for content and applications to be neutral to those devices will really be critical for school districts as they begin implementing this kind of educational content and technology in classrooms." The same goes for the writing process.@teach42 Have an ipad and a nexus 7...difference? Nil - writing process does not change across devices - writing process=device agnosticJohn FinchEducators and education watchers held some lengthy conversations about these announcements on Twitter. As always, budgets factor into what devices school districts choose. And the difference appears to be coming down to price.@thurrott @AnnaTarkov Feel bad for schools mentioned in keynote (like my daughters) who scraped money to buy iPads that are now out of date.Anthony Zoko@shaycolson @jpedde @pmanley agreed. And a big part of problem with iPads in schools is budgetsDavid Rosenim sorry, but unless u signficantly drop the price of ipads, its only going to be really adopted in the richest of schoolsWesley Jun@daveandcori @imcguy @willrich45 My principal told me we could afford a lot more computers if we quit using our copier.William Chamberlain@daveandcori @wmchamberlain @willrich45 I'd bet there's more money lost on extra/unused paper than you think. A lot more.Chad Lehman@shareski It's the price point that will make the difference in education.William Stites@teach42 I don't think there is a difference anymore tween iOS and Android - same device, same apps, same purpose. But huge diff in $$John Finch@teach42 @wmchamberlain I've actually been surprised to see almost all the apps I use on iOS now on Android. It's happening.Ben GreyWhile much of the talk today will revolve around specs and features, the most important thing is not what a device can do, but what educators can do, with or without a device. "We see that digital content and hardware in classrooms is only as good as the professional development that's going along with it because technology doesn't really teach, it's the teachers that do so," Campbell said.@daveandcori In all fairness, it isn't the tools that make the difference anyway. They can all be used poorly and used well.William Chamberlain
Storified by centerdigitaled · Tue, Oct 23 2012 15:11:49
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Tanya Roscorla covers education technology in the classroom, behind the scenes and on the legislative agenda. Likes: Experimenting in the kitchen, cooking up cool crafts, reading good books.
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