iTunes U 1/12/12

The same amazing resources are now easier to find once you download them. Take a full course or browse for lectures, videos, books with the new iTunes U app.

I know I already focused on iTunes U back in early December, but that was before an actual app was dedicated to it. Before the new iTunes U app, one would go to the iTunes Store and search around. When results were displayed they were grouped by movie, music, TV shows, podcast or iTunes U. During classes I would ask teachers to focus on the results that appeared in the iTunes U category. As of Thursday January 19th Apple has made it all the more easier to access resources posted to iTunes U. When teachers would download a video or audio recording from iTunes it was confusing where to find the file. If you downloaded a video, you had to open the video app. If you downloaded an audio file, you had to open your music app. Now with iTunes U everything can be found in one place.
When you first open iTunes U, there are three tabs in the middle of the screen. Universities & Colleges, Beyond Campus and K-12. I find it difficult to be very effective with the list that appears when I tap K-12 because all that appears is a list of states. Ohio isn’t in the list, and I don’t know what other states have posted great resources. When I tap Beyond Campus, the list is organized by program. I can make use of this type of organizing and quickly find something worth looking into further. I chose Edutopia, because I am familiar with it and….Jackpot! There are several programs I want to check into such as Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning. I downloaded a 10 minute video recording with Salman Khan which I will easily find in my iTunes U Library when I am finished searching. Edutopia is not the only Beyond Campus program of interest, the Apple Distinguished Educators offers Learning Bites which are short videos featuring educational apps in action. Museums, Non-Profit Organizations, Foundations, Public Media, and YES you will find OHIO in the Beyond Campus list! So, teachers can find educational programming from Western Reserve Public Media, ThinkTV, eTech , OSFC, OCALI, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ohio Museums, and Schools.

Once you’ve exhausted your search through Beyond Campus, you’re probably wondering about a simple key word search?

The search box appears at the top right corner and when results appear for your search they are organized by Courses, Collections and Course Material.

When you choose a course, or Course Materials, you can subscribe for free. You can browse the materials, which may include videos, audio & printables. If you choose to download just one piece of a course you are prompted with a message. This message notifies you that the other core materials will automatically be downloaded for you. Courses may have supplemental materials, which are not free. If you choose to subscribe to a course, it can be opened from your iTunes U bookshelf which looks very similar to the iBooks or Newstand shelf. Tabs on the right display Information, Posts which is a nice check list for students to keep track of where they are in the course, Notes –any notes taken in iBooks on this course materials will appear here also, and Materials.

When you choose a collection you can choose to download one piece at a time. Clicking on the Free button will download it automatically to your iTunes U Library. Clicking on the title will let you play the file without downloading. This is a good way to preview before you download, or just play online to save memory space on your device.

I mentioned two key words in my article about iTunes in December, worth searching for English and Math teachers.

·         Khan Academy
·         Lit2Go
If key word searches aren’t your thing, iTunes U is organized into 13 categories:
Business, Engineering Fine Arts, Health & Medicine, History, Humanities, Language, Literature, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Society, Teaching & Education.

You can get to any of the 13 categories by clicking one of the three choices at the bottom of the app.  Middle and high school teachers will get the most mileage out of the materials found at iTunes U; however, all teachers can tap into Professional Development resources and programs about teaching. Elementary teachers will find material at their level will mostly come from Public Media sources, while high school teachers can take advantage of University sources. Foreign Language teachers may find iTunes U resources a rare find for recordings of conversational language. I looked for the arts and was pleasantly surprised. All too often offerings for media resources about the Arts are slim to none but iTunes U has that covered. Physical Education and Health teachers can even find a few resources to help in lesson preparation.
If you haven’t installed iTunes U yet, the next time you open iTunes and try to tap on the iTunes U icon across the bottom of the screen, you will be prompted to install iTunes U.
·         iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 5 or later
·         And Apple ID with an iTunes Store account
·         iTunes 10.5.3 or later is required to sync with a computer