Apple representative John Maschak works with Calgary Public teacher Tammy Watt during a two-day workshop on creating iTunes U courses at Barnett House in early November.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association now has a site on Apple’s iTunes University that offers free course content to educators in Alberta and beyond.
With one billion downloads and counting, Apple’s iTunes University is the world’s largest online catalogue of free educational content, allowing teachers to create and manage courses for a customized student learning experience.
On Nov. 6 and 7 the Association hosted a learning session for 25 Alberta teachers at Barnett House. Participants received expert training on content creation for iTunes U.
“Learning and using new technologies to increase the level of engagement in my classroom is something that I’m really excited about,” said Calgary teacher Shannon Roy, as she tapped through the iTunes U site on her iPad. “Students are always up for new and innovative tools to learn with, so I think this will go over very well.”
Dozens of Alberta principals and assistant principals have already been trained to create courses in iTunes U that will eventually populate the site. These courses will connect directly to Alberta’s Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders and offer participating school leaders the opportunity to share their knowledge with others throughout Alberta, across Canada and around the world.
Last month, Alberta school leader Derek Hatch had his course —Connecting with Your School Community Using Social Media — highlighted on iTunes U worldwide as an exemplary course for Connected Educators Month.
So how does it work? Users install free iTunes software on their devices (PC, Mac or a portable device) to access content by searching or browsing the iTunes store. An option exists to download the iTunes U app on an iPad, providing enhanced capabilities, such as note taking for students participating in a course. Interactive assignments can be built into the design or even after a course has been launched. Interactivity can be further enhanced as participants have the option to share course notes with one another.
Watch for upcoming training opportunities for the creation of interactive iTunes U courses and opportunities to become a course contributor for the Alberta Teachers iTunes U site. To access the site, please visit tinyurl.com/ATAiTunes. ❚
Calgary Public teacher Shannon Roy.