A new section on Apple’s iTunes U contains a wealth of free online content for K-12 educators.
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) announced the availability of these materials during the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in San Antonio July 2. As with other content on iTunes U, which before had been geared primarily toward college and adult learners, the new resources can be downloaded to a computer or mobile media player for easy playback and review.
Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah–along with individual school districts, museums, and other educational institutions–are now sharing resources not only for K-12 educators in their own states, but also for teachers around the world, through iTunes U. The service’s new K-12 initiative creates a place where professional development, curriculum resources, best practices, and samples of student work are easily accessible from a single location, SETDA said.
"This comprehensive collection of high-quality digital content offers teachers and students a single location to access resources on topics from Florida history to the Navajo language to nanotechnologies," said Mary Ann Wolf, SETDA’s executive director. "Teachers can now access these resources in real time to support teaching and learning. The new K-12 resources on iTunes U address the critical need to engage students through technology-based resources in the core curriculum areas."
Michigan, for example, has posted content from its MI Learning initiative, which includes podcasts on school leadership and professional development, as well as lecture modules on high school business and marketing. The Florida Center for Instructional Technology offers resources on history, digital literacy, and technology integration. And Maine’s Education Department has added material on teaching and learning with digital text and adding inquiry to science lessons, among other topics.
"Michigan is constantly looking for ways to innovate in education," said Michigan’s superintendent of public instruction, Mike Flanagan. "MI Learning on iTunes U presents a unique opportunity to engage students, teachers, and parents in new ways of learning. With the growth of mobile devices and interactive media, we now have a variety of content options that helps learning happen any time, anywhere, and not just inside the classroom. That is true innovation."
"It is extremely exciting to be able to share best practices with the educational community via this pioneering approach to digital content," said Kate Kemker, Florida’s director of technology learning and innovation. "This project pushes the envelope with technology and provides professional development and curricula resources from Florida and other states to the greater educational community."
"Maine has been working closely with partners statewide to bring together materials that foster a 21st-century learning environment," said Jeff Mao, Maine’s learning technology policy director. "iTunes U is now an even better resource for K-12 educators, and we look forward to adding more content to enhance and extend teaching and learning."
iTunes U is an area of the iTunes Store dedicated to providing free educational content (See "Schools use technology to share course content.". iTunes, a free software download for Macs or PCs, is required. Focused collections of content designed for use in elementary, middle, and high school are available in the K-12 category of iTunes U.