iPads for schools?
This story is the shape of things to come:
Each first-year pupil at St Kevin's College in Crumlin will pay €150 for the iPad, which will contain all their text books. They will keep the computer for the year and do all their schoolwork on it.Now, from a professional point of view, I wonder what sort of deal they cut with the publishers - textbook costs are the bread and butter of many publishers, who are loathe to see their unit sales go over to e-formats (which destroy, ultimately, the possibility of making many sales). Academic publishers tend not to mind, since they don't need to sell 60,000 copies to make their costs back.
But this is where it is for our digital natives now, a single slate of technology will contain all of their education - and the question becomes, why not load up all their reading resources all the way through their academic career - they will expect instant access to ebooks at university.
Propriatorial rights are currently holding back the widespread adoption of ebooks. Certainly, there remains a need to pay for quality, but the time will come when e-books sweep away a lot of the existing informational infrastructure. When you have the entire world's knowledge accessible from a slim bag sized machine, anything is possible.
I wouldn't be surprised if there were similar schemes in the offing in the UK. The publishing industry is changing fast, and with a 3G Kindle only costing £150.00 (my mate bought an ebook in the pub as a demonstration) everyone will begin to expect. Likewise, it has reached the point where if you're with anyone with a smartphone and the conversation turns round to 'What Bands was Steve Vai in' - someone can Wikipedia the bugger before you can blink.