Apple is updating iTunes U with new content creation tools to bring the digital classroom closer.
Announced on Monday, the iPad and iPhone maker said starting July 8, the free iTunes U service will be updated to allow teachers to create, edit and manage full courses directly on the iPad. Teachers can add content directly to lesson plans and academic materials through the device, and can import material from iWork, iBooks and 75,000 other education-related applications available in Apple's ecosystem.
In addition, teachers can now use the iPad's camera to capture photos and videos before importing this media directly into lesson plans.
Students can also use the Discussions feature in iTunes to follow classroom discussions and join conversations on new topics, or set up notifications to be warned when new topics appear. Teachers can also participate and act as moderators.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services commented:
Education is at the core of Apple’s DNA and iTunes U is an incredibly valuable resource for teachers and students. iTunes U features an amazing selection of academic materials for everyone around the world. Now, with the ability to better manage and discuss educational content, learning becomes even more personalized on iPad.
iTunes U allows educators to create learning material including lesson plans, assignments, books, quizzes and lectures — which can then be kept private or shared and made available to the general public. Apple says thousands of academic institutions use the free service, which accounts for over 750,000 free learning materials.