Apple updates iTunes U, lets iPad teachers create courses and take students’ questions

Apple announced updates to iTunes U Monday, bringing educators and students new tools to “build and experience educational content on iPad.” Beginning July 8, teachers using the iTunes U app can create, edit and manage courses directly on iPad for the first time, and students “will discover new ways to collaborate” including the ability to start class discussions and ask questions right from their iPad.

Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services:

“Educations is at the core of Apple’s DNA and iTunes U is an incredibly valuable resource for teachers and students. iTunes U features an amazing selection of academic materials for everyone around the world. Now, with the ability to better manage and discuss educational content, learning becomes even more personalized on iPad.”

The new in-app updates to iTunes U give teachers full course creation capabilities on iPad, with the ability to directly add content and learning materials from iWork, iBooks Author or any of the “over 75,000 educational apps” available for iPad. Using the iPad’s built-in camera, teachers  can also capture photos and videos to incorporate real-world subject matter into any course, making relevant content available to all students “in an instnat.”

Fraser Speirs, head of computing and IT at Scotland’s Cedars School of Excellence:

“iTunes U is the most powerful destination for bringing the entire educational experience to life on iPad. By freeing teachers to create and organize courses right on iPad, educators  can be better focused on enabling student participation both with the content and with one another.”

Students using iPad and enrolled in private iTunes U courses will now  have “everything they need to fully collaborate with their classmates and teachers.” With the Discussions feature, students can “automatically follow” classroom discussions and join conversations on new topics, or set up push notifications for when new topics are started or replies are added to active exchanges. Teachers can also participate in forums and can moderate discussions by removing any off-topic messages or replies.

Larry Reiff, a teacher at New York’s Roslyn High School:

 “Discussions in iTunes U puts the potential for thoughtful exploration and collaboration into the hands of every one of our students. iPad and iTunes U continue to provide students with the tools they need to build knowledge and demonstrate their learning.”

Source: Apple

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