Calif. Department of Ed. Now on iTunes U

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iTunes is not just a website used to download the latest pop song, it's also providing educators with free resources for professional development.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced the launch of the California Department of Education on iTunes U, a dedicated area within the iTunes store.

With districts and schools under tremendous pressure to make every dollar count, teachers can now download top-rated educational content at no charge, O'Connell said.

"Whether accessed through a desktop, laptop, or smart phone, CDE on iTunes U will be an important tool for the continued professional development of our community of education professionals," O'Connell said. "Educators now have more opportunities to access relevant information whenever and wherever it is convenient for them."

Available content meets the CDE's criteria, which includes high-quality video, audio recordings, presentations, PDF documents, and other education-related information.

Schools will be able to offer educators free professional development resources that are produced primarily by districts and private education institutions throughout the state, O'Connell said.

More than 200 media files are available on iTunes U, some of which have been contributed by from California school districts and charter schools.

Additional content will be unveiled in the near future, but for now the CDE is asking districts to contribute material.

"School districts have contributed, and we're also working with various organization for additional content," said Tom Adams, CDE's director of standards, curriculum frameworks and instructional resources.

Adams said the content will continue to grow as long as people continue to contribute information.

Information on the Common Core State Standards is set to be in iTunes U in the near future. The standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

The CDE has a number of tools up for educators including information about how to help educators successfully implement a standards-based education for California's adolescents, as well as information on to encourage students to bond with their schools.

The Riverside County Office of Education has a presences on the site too—they have a video presentation from their Educational Leadership Services Division.

"Going forward, we expect more contributions," said Jim Long, CDE's education programs consultant. "We do have additional content in the queue that will be out soon. But right now we're looking for existing material, we're not asking people for new information."

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