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Apple pushes electronic textbooks, teaching
by Staff Writers
New York (UPI) Jan 20, 2012

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Apple says its release of new educational software programs and applications means U.S. students will be able to abandon backpacks filled with heavy textbooks.

Three new programs were announced by Apple Thursday in New York at an event at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The New York Times reported.

iBooks 2 is an updated version of its electronic bookstore where students can download textbooks; iBooks Author is a program for Macintosh computers designed for the creation of textbooks; and ITunes U is an app for instructors to create a digital syllabus and share course materials with students.

"Education is deep in our DNA and it has been from the very beginning," Philip W. Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, said at the New York event.

One hurdle facing widespread use of electronic textbooks and teaching methods would be the cost for schools to buy iPads, which start at $500 each in stores.

"It's a very high and expensive hurdle to overcome," said Josef Blumenfeld, a senior vice president at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of the textbook publishers working with Apple.

But the technology has its advocates.

Bill Rankin, a professor of medieval studies at Abilene Christian University, participated in a pilot program in which students and teachers used iPhones in the classroom.

Apple's new education tools are "revolutionary," he said, because they give users the ability to create and share books easily.

In a California school, iPad textbooks increased students' math scores by 20 percent, the pilot program indicated.

A pilot program at Amelia Earhart Middle School in California's Riverside Unified School District used the Algebra I digital textbook, called the world's first full-curriculum algebra application developed for Apple's iPad.

"Students' interaction with the device was more personal," Earhart Principal Coleman Kells told appleinsider.com

"You could tell the students were more engaged. Using the iPad was more normal, more understandable for them."

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Ericsson and ZTE bury patent hatchets
Stockholm (AFP) Jan 20, 2012
Swedish mobile network giant Ericsson and Chinese rival ZTE have settled their patent infringement disputes, Ericsson said in a statement on Friday. "The parties have now signed a global cross-licensing agreement and both parties have also agreed to drop all litigation," said the statement. In April, Ericsson filed lawsuits in Britain and Italy against ZTE for infringement of its patents ... read more

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