Apple s’attaque au marché de l’éducation avec iTunes U

Application iTunes U

Application iTunes U

L’application iPhone et iPad sortie le 19 janvier en tête des téléchargements !

À peine sortie, l’application pour iPhone et iPad iTunes U fait un carton. Elle est l’application la plus téléchargée la semaine de sa sortie. Il faut dire aussi qu’elle est largement mise en vedette dans Appstore, avec un encart spécial en tête de la sélection de la semaine, aux côtés d’iBooks 2.

Si l’application est toute nouvelle, le concept d’Apple l’est moins, puisqu’il a été mis en place il y a maintenant un an, en janvier 2010. Il s’agit d’une plateforme destinée aux universités, aux professeurs, ou aux institutions de référence comme les musées, sur laquelle ils proposent au public un contenu éducatif. Ce contenu peut prendre des formes extrêmement diverses, du bon vieux pdf à la vidéo, en passant par l’audio, les images, ou des manuels au format ePub. Le but est vraiment de révolutionner l’offre d’enseignement sur Internet en créant un contenu interactif.

Un grand atout pour Apple : les cours mis en ligne proviennent d’institutions des plus réputées. Ainsi, on peut télécharger des cours dispensés par les professeurs d’universités de l’Ivy League comme Yale, Harvard ou Princeton, ou de grands musées, comme le Museum of Modern Art de New York. En France, des écoles comme HEC ou les Mines sont également représentées. Apple se targue d’avoir négocié des partenariats avec les plus grandes institutions de 26 pays dans le monde, le but étant de proposer un contenu d’une grande qualité, accessible au plus grand nombre.

Une offre gratuite

Car le grand point fort de cette application et de tout son contenu, c’est la gratuité. En effet, tous les cours ainsi que l’accès à la plateforme sur ordinateur (Mac et PC) sont gratuits. Désormais, avec l’application iPhone et iPad (elle aussi gratuite), les cours sont également portables et disponibles n’importe où, n’importe quand. Il est donc possible de s’instruire sur tous les sujets, de télécharger des milliers de contenus, sans avoir ni à payer ni à assister à des cours traditionnels dans une université ou une école. On peut même s’abonner à certains cours pour recevoir automatiquement les mises à jour et les nouveaux contenus mis en ligne.

Il s’agit là d’une révolution dans le monde de l’enseignement. En effet, obtenir les cours d’institutions aussi prestigieuses, et notamment des vidéos qui nous font vivre le cours comme si l’on y était, nécessitait jusqu’à maintenant d’y être inscrits. Ce qui peut s’avérer extrêmement onéreux quand il s’agit de grandes universités américaines… Sans compter qu’il faudrait se trouver physiquement sur le territoire américain. Grâce à iTunes U, ces contenus sont démocratisés afin d’offrir un enseignement de qualité sans contraintes financières ou géographiques.

Cependant, ne nous y trompons pas. Si Apple veut ainsi se poser en acteur incontournable du marché de l’éducation, ce n’est pas par pure philanthropie. Les institutions qui souhaitent ajouter du contenu iTunes U doivent, comme toujours avec Apple, développer avec leur propre système, et les contenus produits sont soumis à leur approbation. L’entreprise garde donc la mainmise à la fois sur les types de contenus disponibles et sur leur distribution.

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