Monday, July 07, 2008

“A New Kind of University: iTunes U Grows as Content Rich Resource for K-12 Community”

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) announced July 2nd the availability of a wealth of free content for K-12 educators on Apple's iTunes U. Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Utah, are now sharing resources not only for K-12 educators in their own states, but for teachers around the world.

SETDA, is the principal association for state and district directors of technology, and provides professional development and leadership for effective use of technology in education.

"This comprehensive collection of quality digital content offers teachers and students a single location to access resources on topics from Florida history to the Navajo language to nano technologies." said Dr. Mary Ann Wolf, SETDA's Executive Director. "Teachers can now access these resources in real-time to support teaching and learning. The new K-12 resources on iTunes U address the critical need to engage students through technology-based resources in the core curriculum areas."

Being a Michigan educator for over 30 years, of course I went directly to the Michigan resources. Two areas that caught my eye were the Saturday Morning Physics podcast from the University of Michigan (I have always been fascinated with Physics) and the Free is Good link with terrific resources for the classroom teacher. The moderator took me to websites and demonstrated how to design an original rubric on the Rubric Maker, and how to use the Graphic Organizer Maker. Both have editable content for subject matter from primary to secondary levels. It was as if I was taking an individual lesson on developing classroom resources. I think the writing rubric I created would be very effective as a teacher evaluation and an aide for sixth grade students to evaluate their own work as they moves through the process. I had fun.

Give it a try.
iTunes U is located in an area of the iTunes Store dedicated to providing free education content. iTunes, a free software download for Mac or PC, is required. The collection is designed for use in elementary, middle- and high-school.

Other new instructional resources for you to check out on the web:

1.) NBC News launched free online learning community
for teenagers.

It is a collaborative learning Community for students ages 13 and up that incorporates gaming, discussion, and video resources in a safe, online environment. Created by NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News.

2.) Computer simulation may help young children learn conflict-resolution skills.

The computer game, called Cool School: Where Peace Rules, features animated school characters in situations that ask children ages 5-7 to select an action for resolving a potential conflict.

3.) Free online games to reinforce math and language skills.

Arcademic Skill Builders is a nonprofit web site that features
online educational games offering a new approach
to learning basic math, language arts, vocabulary, and
thinking skills… Inspired by arcade games

Ask Yourself:
• Can I add more pizzazz to my lessons with innovative websites?
• Could I pass this on to colleagues who love this sort of stuff?
• Who could I team with to design a few lessons for the fall?

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