Vineet Madan, McGraw Hill Education vice president of new ventures, believes the new iPad in concert with Apple’s textbook initiative will indirectly change the way students learn. It’s not the new iPad’s host of features that has Madan excited; however, instead he believes the iPad 2 $100 price drop allow more schools to purchase iPads for their students.
The $100 dollar price drop is significant to please consumers who wanted a less expensive iPad choice, but for institutions, whose purchase count may number in the hundreds, the savings add up.
“I’ve long thought that the tipping-point price for a tablet is between $200 and $300,” said Madan. “Now that the entry-level iPad 2 has dropped by $100, and it’s now $399 for a 16 gigabyte version, we’ll see much more uptake.”
McGraw Hill sells digital textbooks in iBooks for K-12 as well as higher education and professional audiences. The publisher also created additional titles published through Inkling, a digital publisher in which McGraw Hill has invested.
Madan is pleased with the iPad 2 as a digital textbook conduit, saying, “The iPad 2 still a phenomenally powerful device. Our content performs incredibly well on that device. At the same time, we can build better things for new iPad.”
Madan suggests that the new iPad’s 2048 x 1536 pixel display, 4G LTE high-speed network support and sustained 10-hour battery life will improve the digital textbook experience for the reader, while simultaneously fueling the digital book publishers’ creative flow.
In particular, Madan offers that LTE would afford readers more flexibility, saying, “You could be anywhere and can immediately pull up all sorts of high-res, data-rich content. You can stream it instantaneously and you don’t have pulling down gigs and gigs of content and storing it on the app locally.”
“And battery life is another huge factor that many people don’t think about, including those behind some of the Android tablets,” Madan continued, with a knock at tablets that run on Google’s OS. “When you’re thinking about learning, you don’t have to worry about charging device in between every class.”
Institutions may also find that the longer battery saves the headache of school-owned iPads running out of juice in the middle of the day.
What kind of new textbooks can students and educators expect to see from McGraw Hill? Madan wasn’t explicit, but he hinted that the Retina display was key. “Extraordinarily high resolutions really unlock the potential of ‘pinch to zoom’ functionality,” Madan explained. “You can already see this to a large extent in iBooks and on Inkling’s books, but the future will enable completely mind-blowing experiences for students. Imagine zooming in again and again on a cell structure in biology, for example, and seeing every level with the same crispness and clarity.”
In addition to digital textbooks, McGraw Hill also has Tegrity, an app that allows students to record lecture audio and video on iOS or web platforms. The new iPad’s iSight camera will improve the quality of the video students can capture.
Madan is understandably optimistic about the iPad’s future as an educational tool, saying, ”There’s never been a better time to be a student, whether that’s K through 12 or in higher education. The access to learning materials, the access to content through the web, the access to resources is not something many of us could have even considered five years ago, and I say this as a father of three young children.”
Teachers, parents, and (obviously) students will all benefit from the iPad’s integration into the classroom. It will be exciting to see how the iPad alters the landscape of elementary, secondary, and higher education.