While the students are away, teachers plan their lessons. Summer vacation is a time when many teachers prepare for the next school year while the memories of the one just finished are still fresh. Just in time for this season, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released an iTunes U update to help them do that.
Apple got into education via iTunes U in 2012. Getting iPads a nd other Apple technology into classrooms is one of the company’s goals. After all, the educational market is an opportunity to make money. Reaching out to teachers is a side step into that market. Apple has a website dedicated to the iPad’s educational benefits.
Apple’s update includes not only lesson planning support, but also forums for teachers and suggestions for using iPads in the classroom. That goal of getting more iPads into classrooms would result in more iPad sales for Apple, after all. More iPads in the classroom would also benefit the App Store, in which education is its own category. As Apple gets a cut of every financial transaction, this is another potential way for the company to make money.
This is not to say that more technology in classrooms is a bad thing. In some situations, extra technology can help improve the educational experience. Students may benefit in some courses where the extra technology is present. A 2013 study showed that technology helped students to better grasp scientific concepts.
In that study, iPads were used as teaching aids for a lesson on the solar system, showing either a textbook-style diagram or scale models of the planets and their orbits, a concept that can be difficult for teachers to model on a blackboard. The study showed that students learned in both examples but learned more in the later example, which is easier to display on a device like an iPad. Of course, results like this is good news Apple can use in its sales pitches to education-related clients.
Now is a good time for Apple to target teachers. In most of the United States, the school year is over for students. Summer is when many teachers evaluate what worked and what did not during the past school year. It’s a time for revising lessons and learning new tools. Apple’s release of educational tools is well timed here.
IPads and other technology are rapidly entering classrooms. Some school districts give students iPads now as a part of the curriculum. Many districts use interactive whiteboards known as SMART boards, bringing interactive technology into the classroom. As devices like smartphones and tablets have increasingly become part of everyday life, it’s not particularly surprising that technology is also becoming a part of classrooms. The computer followed a similar pattern of entering classrooms as the technology became more mainstream. Apple is now trying to ensure the same happens with the iPad.