Saturday, October 03, 2009

The genius of Apple

Why come out with an iPod nano with video? Sounds like such a trivial addition to the product but with that single move Apple could be re-positioning itself in the world of education in a monumental way. I didn’t think of it at first, I thought was “what a waste of an announcement, that it was just a ploy to get Steve Jobs out there in front of people again.” But then I started talking to teachers, librarians, and instructional technology integrators in my school district and I began to see a totally different picture of the iPod nano. First, teachers have long seen the benefits of video in the classroom and on field trips. Traditionally that meant lugging the district or school video camera and let’s face it, even the little school video cameras are big. If your district is more forward thinking you may have one of the new smaller video cameras such as a Flip Video, the RCA Small Wonder or similar small video cameras. However, my district will not allow such video devices because of the proprietary software they require. The videos will not download properly without the software embedded in the camera, which our district blocks teachers from downloading and renders the device useless. Now enter the librarians (and music teachers) who already have convinced the tech gods to allow them to have iTunes. The precedent has been set, iTunes is allowed on district computers for music teachers to download songs and for librarians to borrow and download public library audio books. The interface used by the iPod nano is iTunes. Problem solved. And, will librarians have a use for video? As Sarah Palin has said more than once, “you bettcha”! The library catalogs in our district allow for students to create their own video and audio reviews of books and embed them right into the record of the book so others can see and hear it when they search the catalog. What a great way for students to leave their mark on their school by recommending books to their friends. What a great way to get other kids to read, with recommendations from their peers. Can you tell I am excited? Lastly, instructional technology integrators in our districts are very down in the mouth these days since there is little money in the technology budget. Think of the cost savings this little iPod nano with video will give school districts. They will need to buy only one device instead of the two they traditionally buy. One device that is similar in price to either of the other two devices they now buy… a two for one deal sounds good in my mind. One device that now does the work of two, brilliant. Apple had their thinking caps on for this one folks, it just may be a way for them to break back into the education market which at least in the case of my district has gone to the PC side exclusively. What about your district? PC or Apple? Can you see uses for this new iPod nano? Please comment below. I am looking forward to your thoughts and the dialogue.