Apple has launched a new education tool designed to bring the classroom together, directly on iPad.
iTunes U aims to help educators organise their classrooms in a seamless fashion, enabling teachers to deliver lessons, grade assignments and stay connected with students.
Apple has a long history with education, developing education-specific apps for the changing learning environment and helping teachers and students learn in the digital world.
“We believe that technology has the power to transform the classroom,” the tech giant says on its Education website. “It can pave new ways of thinking. New ways of sparking ideas. Yet the foundation never changes: a dedication to learning that’s always been part of our DNA. “
iTunes U allows teachers to build assignments in a matter of minutes, and immediately share details with the class. Teachers are able to import current lesson materials into iTunes U, including documents, worksheets, web links, images and videos.
The learning tool creates a new way to engage every student with rich learning materials, like apps, books, videos, podcasts and primary sources, from across iTunes.
“There’s no limit to how creative your assignments and their homework projects can be,” Apple says.
Once teachers have published a lesson or assignment, students have immediate access to all the materials, instructions, due dates and grading information.
Students are then able to hand in assignments directly through iTunes U. Built-in grading lets teachers track the progress of the entire class at a glance.
Students can submit their work directly from supported apps to an assignment in iTunes U, including videos and presentations. Once projects are handed in, they’re all organised in one place, making them easy to review and grade.
The integrated grade book means teachers will know exactly how each student is going on every project. They can see when a student has viewed an assignment, when their work is complete and when it’s time to send a reminder. Teachers will then be able to grade every project as it’s handed in, with just an iPad.
iTunes U allows teachers to get a snapshot view of how the class is going on a specific assignment, or across the whole term or semester.
The tool enables conversations to be continued beyond the classroom. Teachers can post debates to get everyone engaged, or one-to-one chat means individual questions and conversations can take place between teacher and student.
“It’s a whole new way for students to raise their hand. Individualised attention made easy,” Apple says. “You don’t have to be face to face to chat one on one. Give extra help or offer feedback on an assignment with private messages.”
iTunes U has push notifications keep teachers and your students in the loop. When teachers add an assignment or respond to a question, students get instant updates, and teachers are notified as soon as a student hands in homework or an assignment.
“We’ve been proud to work alongside educators and students to reinvent what it means to teach and learn,” Apple says. “And together we’re doing things we never thought possible. “