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Apple pushes global education programme through iBooks textbooks

Apple has announced plans to expand iBooks Textbooks and iTunes U Course Manager to new markets across Asia, Latin America, Europe, and other areas.

Apple's iBooks Textbooks are rolling out in Brazil, Italy, and Japan while iTunes Course Manager is hitting Russia, Thailand, and Malaysia. With the latest expansion, iBooks Textbooks is now available in 51 countries around the globe and iTunes Course Manager is available in 70 countries.

"The incredible content and tools available for iPad provide teachers with new ways to customize learning unlike ever before," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, said in a statement. "We can't wait to see how teachers in even more countries will create their new lesson plans with interactive textbooks, apps, and rich digital content."

With iBooks Textbooks, students have access to full-screen textbooks on their iPad, complete with features like interactive animations, rotating 3D diagrams, flick-through photo galleries, and tap-to-play videos. Even better — with iBooks Textbooks, students don't have to carry heavy paper textbooks, texts can be quickly updated as new events unfold, and they don't have to be returned. It boasts nearly 25,000 educational titles covering 100 percent of the US high school core curriculum and the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) core curriculum in the UK.

Meanwhile, iTunes Course Manager lets educators easily share resources directly with their class or a global audience on iTunes U. The free iOS app gives students access to what Apple calls the world's largest online catalog of free educational content from schools and universities.

"iPad is so much more than just a textbook or just a notepad for students — it's a powerful educational tool, a study partner, a window into the past and a glimpse of the future," Sophie Post, fourth grade history teacher at Falkner House school, said in a statement. "Teaching history was once a static timeline of events. In leveraging the entire educational ecosystem of iPad, creating my own iBooks Textbooks and iTunes U courses, and pulling in apps like History: Maps of the World, studying history has suddenly become a creative, dynamic and truly transformative experience for my pupils."

One recent attempt to bring iOS to the classroom didn't go as smoothly as planned. In October, Los Angeles school officials confiscated iPads provided to students after they "hacked" their tablets to access Twitter and other unauthorised websites and apps.