Just when I get finished bashing Apple, they do something cool and useful for educational technology. No, they didn't lower their prices or introduce bargain machines or put 2 mouse buttons on their laptops. They did, however, introduce iTunesU, a collection of course materials and campus-life oriented podcasts from some of the nation's top schools. This is actually a new section of their iTunes store, as well as the name for their partnership with these universities. Participating schools include MIT, Bowdoin, Arizona State, and the University of Maryland. In fact, Apple claims that over 250 schools are sharing content through the iTunes store now.
iTunesU gives universities that choose to participate the ability to share a wide variety of content with the public, students, alumni, parents, etc. According to the site,
Just like the iTunes Store, the popularity of iTunes U has exploded. Already, more than half of the nation’s top 500 schools use it to distribute their digital content to students — or to the world. Any school can open all or part of its site to the public, from alumni to parents to anyone with a love of learning. iTunes U is transforming the way people learn on campus, off campus, and where there’s no campus at all.
While most universities have been podcasting for some time, this is certainly an innovative way for Apple to facilitate the sharing of this content and give us all one more reason to become pod people. Most of the content is free for the taking...I can almost feel the earbuds now.