Tuesday, March 31, 2009

iTunes University

Apple iTunes U is a service to everyone, not just students, that has lessons in languages, lectures, podcasts, and audio books that can be downloaded for free. These things come from various places such as universities, PBS, museums, and cultural institutions around the world. This content could be used in any classroom, from early elementary up through college. As teachers this can also be used for ourselves because we should never stop learning and enhancing the content we teach our students. An overview of this program can be found here. There are also two reviews of the research paper "iTunes University and the classroom: Can pod casts replace Professors?" that can be found here, and here.

As a student I find this part of iTunes fascinating. Just looking at the first page that comes up I see many things I want to check into. The Research Channel looks really neat and the Michael C Carlos Museum at Emory has an exhibit on King Tut! These are things that I am interested in just for myself. The research Channel has two on top, Orphans Preferred: The Pony Express and Perspectives on U.S. History. Both of these would be interesting on a personal basis, but would also be good for the classroom as a teacher.

According to a couple of different articles I read, students who listened to podcasts and took notes scored higher then the students who went to class. Does this mean an end to professors? I do not believe that it does, but using iTunes U in addition to class would be beneficial to most students. The value to older students is priceless. In this article I read, click here, a 62 year old truck driver is going back to school without having to sit in class with kids. This will help many older, non-traditional students who want to continue to learn, but don't want to go to class with a bunch of kids the ages of their own kids and grand kids, many of whom place little importance on the classes they are taking.

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