iTunesU – Free Educational Resources

iTunesU - teacher

With the rapidly escalating pace of technological innovation, it is becoming increasingly important that educational institutions keep up-to-date with ways of connecting students to information wherever they are, whenever they need it, at any time of the day. One of the ways that many universities are now using to provide information which is easily accessible via computers, iphones, ipods and ipads is iTunesU, an area of the Apple iTunes Store that was launched in May 2007, and which is devoted to free educational resources.

iTunes users now have access to over 350,000 audio and video files from educational institutions around the world. Universities and colleges are making information available on events such as lectures, sporting highlights, lab demonstrations, language lessons, and virtual campus tours, in a variety of formats such as slideshows, PDFs, films, exhibit tours and audiobooks.iTunesU - girl In the ‘Beyond Campus’ section of iTunes U, students can also access a wealth of content from places such as MoMA, the New York Public Library and Public Radio International.

An article in the International Business Times in August this year stated that over 300 million downloads have now been recorded from 800 universities which make their content publicly available at  iTunesU.  Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, Yale, UC Berkeley, University of Melbourne and Université de Montréal are just some of the universities using this method of staying in touch with users.

The Top 10 categories of content available are:  business, engineering, fine arts, health and medicine, history, humanities, language, literature, mathematics, science, social science, society, teaching and education.

A study by Heller and Underwood in 2008 looked at whether or not iTunesU helped students’ learning, and they concluded that as long as students take notes on the podcasts, the advantage is that they can use the podcasts to listen a number of times to a lecture, thus picking up concepts they may have missed if they just attend a face-to-face lecture. iTunesU - K-12

In 2008 Apple also released iTunesU – K-12, a space where schools can publish information for their students, searchable and accessible via the iTunes app on their phones. Catholic Network Australia, the Western Australian Department of Education and Learning, Perth PLC and Scotch College in Melbourne have all taken advantage of this format for keeping in touch with their students and wider communities.

With the rapidly escalating pace of technological innovation, it is important that educational institutions  keep up to date with methods of disseminating information to students. One of the ways that many universities are currently looking at is to provide information which is easily accessible viacomputers,  iphones, ipods and ipads from the iTunesU website.

An article in the International Business Times in August this year stated that over 300 million downloads have now been recorded from 800 universities which make their content publicly available at  iTunesU.  Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, University of Melbourne and Université de Montréal are just some of the universities using this methos of staying in touch with users.

iTunes users now have access to ‘over 350,000 audio and video files from educational institutions around the globe’ as well as

iTunesU Intro by psicorcb

Images from:

http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/profiles.html
http://www.ipad.net/ipad-news-class-is-in-session-at-itunes-u.html
http://gigaom.com/apple/itunesu-k12/

Voice Thread

 Voice Thread is a neat way to combine photos, videos and podcasts, but it also allows other people to view the voice thread and add their comments as well. You can also ‘doodle’ on the image as you add comments – e.g. you can add arrows, circle objects or underline words.

Voice Thread allows you to create 3 free threads, or you can register as a K-12 educator to qualify for special rates for schools. Making unlimited Voice Threads yourself as a teacher costs a one-off payment of $10, but if you would like your whole class to be able to create Voice Treads, this costs $10/month or $60/year.

To see how other teachers are using VoiceThread, take a look at this VoiceThread wiki put together by Collette Casinelli, and join the VoiceThread Ning started by Mark Carls. I especially love this book promotion VoiceThread where a number of the teachers at Valley Catholic school in the US are talking about their favourite books.

To create your account, go to http://voicethread.com/ and register, then click on the Create tab to upload photos or video.  You can then add comments by phone, by web-cam, by microphone, or by typing a comment. Once you have ceated your thread, you can easily post it to one of the websites below; you can add friends, then invite them via email to view the thread; or you can embed the code into a blog, wiki or website. 

The real benefit of Voice Thread lies in the fact that it is so collaborative. Once you have created your thread, you can share it with students on the other side of the world, and they can add comments to it as well.  Have a look at one of the voice threads that our students created for Book Week this year. (This is the email message that is sent out when you invite people to view your thread):

Winning the World Cup – Georgia and Zoe

 

 

 

Click the image or the link above to view and participate in the VoiceThread. Making comments is really simple and you can delete and re-record as many times as you like.

A VoiceThread is an online media album that allows a group of people to make comments on images, videos, and documents, really simply. You can participate 5 different ways – using your voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam). It’s easy to control who can access and comment on a VoiceThread, which makes it a secure place to talk about almost anything: business and academic presentations, travelogues, family history, art critiques, language study, tutorials, book clubs and digital storytelling. A VoiceThread allows an entire group conversation to be collected from anywhere in the world and then shared in one simple place.