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iTunes U Makes Learning More Accessible
By: Cindy Wendland
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The Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge, England is an expensive independent school that boasts great exam results. They are making headlines because they have uploaded reams of course material onto iTunes U and iBooks, where they can be accessed for free by teachers and students at other schools. Wow — making learning accessible and free!

As part of the technology committee for a school district, we have had the opportunity to learn how technology is being tried and used to assist teaching and student learning. There is so much on the education front and it is difficult to keep up. Who knew that Apple offered this venue for learning? It’s quite remarkable.

Some teachers have built their own websites where they post content for the students. Other teachers use school-provided infrastructure and smartboards and Edmodo. Yet others still use the traditional methods of textbooks and chalkboards. Apple’s iTunes U offers another approach that students may find more intuitive. The iPad is a relatively inexpensive and cool piece of technology that students enjoy using. Accessing course information via an iPad app makes it instantly contemporary, which connects to and engages today’s students. That is one way to make the course relevant.

It is admirable that a private school would make their course information available online. What we see in school districts is that they have such bureaucratic systems for adopting curriculum that the freely offered information would have to undergo significant committee testing and evaluation. It remains to be seen how much this free information will be incorporated and used. The important part of this story is that technology is offering a way to make educational informational accessible, available, and free. Now we just need school districts to collaborate and be willing to accept what is being shared. It could be powerful.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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