Today’s Apple Announcement: iTunes U – A teaching portal for students and educators, the ‘Apple way’

So, I posted about the new iTunes U app, and I think you’ll want to go check it out. It’s an awesome app that is exactly what educators need.

Apple has given teachers of university, college, or K-12 school, an easy way to design and distribute complete courses.

Just think about that. Imagine that you’re a young student now. Your teachers can create courses for you at home that feature audio, video, books, and other content (including third party apps). That means that you can continue learning from your teacher when you’re at home on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod-touch.

What makes it the ‘Apple way’?
Everything starts to just integrate. That’s what we love about Apple. Our products work with one another, and they work well.

The iTunes U app integrates with iBooks, iCloud, and other apps to make it easy for students to keep up with your course. For example, new iBooks Textbooks and other books for the course are available right from the app, where students can tap them to start reading the assigned chapter. Notes taken in iBooks are consolidated for easy reviewing in the iTunes U app. If an assignment includes watching part of a video, one tap goes straight to a specific spot in the video. And iTunes U keeps documents, notes, highlights, and bookmarks up to date across multiple devices.

Instructor updates
This is powerful. Tools like Blackboard have been hanging around universities for years. Today, young students can see assignments, notes, and reminders from their teacher through this awesome tool. Not just in the app, but on their home PC, or Mac.

Keep track of notes and highlights
When a student takes notes, or makes highlights in iBooks, those notes are stored in iTunes U so that the student can go back and review them later, and see them all in one consolidated location.

This isn’t just for young students
Life long learners can take free courses created and taught by instructors from leading universities and other schools.

Apple competes with a lot of partners
They compete with Google that distributes the iPhone, iPad and Safari search. They compete with Samsung that distributes their flash memory and displays. And now they’re creating a competitor to the book publishers for their iBooks platform. Is this sustainable?

Apple doesn’t seem to care about who they step on as they more towards the best experience for their customers. iTunes U is the perfect example of this. They are willing to attack what’s wrong with an industry and seek to make things better for their users no matter who’s business they frustrate – even their own.

They’re taking this service to a level above and beyond any of their competitors. We’ve come to rely on Apple for raising the bar, haven’t we.

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