Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Introduction to iTunes U and Mobile Learning

What Is It?
There's a lot more to iTunes than music and movies. iTunes U is part of the iTunes store filled with educational audio and video content you can take anywhere on your iPod or iPhone. Everything in it comes from top universities, museums, PBS stations and other cultural institutions. It's all free--so you don't have to be a student to benefit from some of the world's brainiest people. There are over 175,000 educational audio and video files from all around the world and new tracks and new providers are added all the time.

A Little History
iTunes U was announced at Cupertino, California in 2007. The service was created to ultimately control access to educational audio and video content for college students. Member institutions are given their own iTunes U site that makes use of Apple’s iTunes Store. The online service is free to use for everyone in the pipeline. Content varies from course lectures to sports highlights with plenty of material in between.

How Do I Use It?
When you come to iTunes U, you'll find lots of ways to explore. You can check out popular downloads or other featured content or check out a category you're interested in, such as business or fine arts. You can also explore by visiting individual universities and other providers on iTunes U.

To start learning about a topic, just click on it. You'll land on a course page with all the related files, called tracks, down below (video or audio recordings of each class session). If you want to download all the tracks, click "get tracks." To get just one, click "get" or "get movie." iTunes creates a folder with the provider's name in your playlists so it's always easy to find your tracks.

Many courses or series are ongoing and you can subscribe so you can automatically receive each new episode whenever it's available. iTunes will download episodes to the Podcast section of your library. Tracks will be waiting for you when ever you're ready to learn something new. You can play your new downloads in iTunes, or sync to your iPod or iPhone and learn on the go.

If there's something in particular you want to learn about, you can use the iTunes store search field to find it fast. Filter the results by iTunes U. You'll see all the tracks that are relevant to your search. You can also view the courses, series, or programs the tracks come from.

To learn more about how Apple helps teachers connect with their students, click here.

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