New iTunes U update has useful tool for educators

iTunes U’s update includes an iPad course creator—but will prove useful?

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Copyright: Bloom Design/Shutterstock

There are over 500,000 free lectures, videos and other resources available on iTunes U, which was created in 2007 as a section of the iTunes store dedicated to providing users with educational content.  Over 155 countries have access to iTunes U’s repertoire of material, made easier by Apple’s most recent update.

Apple announced on June 30 that they have enhanced the iTunes U experience for iPad users. For example, educators are now able to create and edit their own iTunes U courses directly on their iPads for the first time. They can incorporate pictures and video captured from their iPad’s camera and also add their work from other apps such as iWork or iBooks Author to their iTunes U courses.

“This is about selling more iPads to schools by making time-strapped teachers’ lives easier,” wrote Natasha Lomas.…Read More

iTunes U content tops 1 billion downloads

Downloads of content from Apple’s iTunes U have topped one billion, Apple reported Feb. 28.

iTunes U features the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent libraries, museums, and organizations—helping educators create courses, lectures, assignments, books, quizzes, and more for iOS users around the world.

More than 1,200 universities and colleges, and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts, host more than 2,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more, Apple says. Leading universities including Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT, and Oxford continue to extend their reach by enrolling more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses, with Stanford University and The Open University each surpassing 60 million content downloads.…Read More

Apple unveils interactive textbooks, revamped iTunes U

The iBooks 2 app is available for free.

Apple might make the heavy backpack an endangered species.

There won’t be much students can’t do with a few taps and swipes of their Apple iPads after the tech giant’s introduction of iBooks 2–a book store that now includes interactive textbooks–and an iTunes University app that could create a comprehensive school experience inside the popular computer tablet.

Apple officials confirmed Jan. 19 weeklong speculation that the company would jump into the textbook market during a press event at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, where Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, introduced the next iteration of the iBooks app, which for the first time will offer textbooks that start at $14.99 or less for high school students.…Read More

Apple to enter the digital textbook fray?

Apple's invitation created an instant stir on social media sites.

Education-technology advocates took notice when the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the textbook industry “ripe for destruction” in his official biography. On Jan. 19, school technologists might just see what Jobs had in mind.

A flurry of speculation about Apple’s entry into the digital textbook market swept across Twitter, Facebook, and technology blogs after Apple released an invitation touting an “education announcement at the Big Apple” Wednesday afternoon.

The event will start 10 a.m. on Jan. 19 at New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.…Read More

Universities add open eBooks to iTunes U

The open eBooks on iTunes U use the EPUB format, so they are readable on a wide variety of mobile devices.

Rice University has joined Oxford University and The Open University in contributing free, open eBooks to the iTunes U web site, using the burgeoning EPUB format that lets students read eBooks on a variety of eReader devices becoming more prevalent in higher education.

Rice’s contribution of 18 of its most popular titles came from the Houston-based university’s open education program, Connexions, which logs about 2 million visits every month, according to an Oct. 29 university announcement.

The open eBook additions from Oxford, Rice, and The Open University—an online school based in the United Kingdom with more than 250,000 students—will be accessible not only on eReaders like Apple’s iPad and the Barnes & Noble Nook, but also mobile devices like the iPhone and Android-based smart phones because they are printed using the EPUB format.…Read More