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The K12 news could be more of a motivator for change than the textbooks in the K12 space. I can see some teachers creating textbooks, but creating podcasts and support materials for iTunes U will be much easier. In fact, many educators may already have some of those materials created and ready to upload.
Of course, K12 is very different than higher ed - especially when it comes to issues like permissions for using students and student work and the probable "review process" that will be required by a school district.
To get started with iTunes U, K12 school districts, universities, and colleges in 26 countries can start at eduapp.apple.com
Using iTunes and the iTunes U part of the store is certainly more mainstream than many of the other free book sites. If it opens up teachers and students to open-education books - including textbooks - that is a good thing. If it makes more institutions familiar with a way to share their resources openly, that is also a good thing.
Oxford, Rice, and the Open University are three institutions that Apple announced have added digital books to the lectures and other materials they already make available there.
The Oxford e-books includes Shakespeare’s entire First Folio. Open University has 100 interactive books and plans to double that by year's end.
Rice already had titles available at the Connexions site which host a lot of open textbooks. Rice put some of the most popular textbooks from there into iTunes U.
Stanford has released the iOS 5 version of their "iPhone Application Development" on iTunes U. You can download course lectures and slides for free. The obvious audience is students of all ages interested in developing apps, but if you are teaching or planning to teach such a course yourself, it would make sense to take a look.
Stanford offered an iPhone apps course online in 2009 and it made some history by scoring a million downloads in its first seven weeks. The instructor is Paul Hegarty and he teaches students how to program apps for iPads and iPhones. It is the most popular download on
Stanford's iTunes U site, with more than 10 million views.
It is no small task to learn to create apps. Unofficial prerequisites: If you are unfamiliar with Apple's operating systems, you need to learn Objective-C. If you were a Stanford student, you would have taken a year of computer science classes and had object-oriented programming before taking the apps course. Two Stanford prerequisite courses, Programming Methodology and Programming Abstractions, are also available on iTunes U.
Back in May 2007, Apple added iTunes U (the area for colleges and universities) to the iTunes Store and I blogged about the first 16 colleges whose podcasts were being included there. That was logical because NJIT was one of those "sweet 16" schools. I have updated that post several times and included the growing list of colleges with an iTunes U presence.
I think the posts served a purpose and they got lots of views, but this will be the last update. Apple now lists all the colleges within iTunes, so, as long as you have iTunes installed, you can access the up-to-date list there.
Along with the colleges and universities, they also have other organizations offering educational podcasts in the "Beyond the Campus" area.
My only reason to offer this particular update is to direct readers to the latest addition to iTunes U. Now there are K-12 offerings too. I'm very happy to see that New Jersey has the dominant presence in that category as of now!
These links will only open if you have the free iTunes software installed on your computer which will allow you to view, play or download content.
- Beyond Campus
- K-12 offerings including East Orange schools, Hunterdon Central Regional High School and Montclair Public Schools from New Jersey
- List of all colleges available in iTunes U NOTE: There are also schools (such as Rutgers) that utilize iTunes U services for their own students but do not offer open, public content. Those schools are not listed by Apple.
Additional web links