ITunes is not just a website used to download the latest pop song. It’s also providing educators with free resources for professional development.
In November, then-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 smartphone, CDE on iTunes U will be an important tool for the continued professional development of our community of education professionals,” he said. “Educators now have more opportunities to access relevant information whenever and wherever it is convenient for them.”
Available content meets the state department’s criteria, which include 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 California school districts and charter schools.
Additional content will be unveiled in the near future, but for now the department is asking districts to contribute material.
“School districts have contributed, and we’re also working with various organizations for additional content,” said Tom Adams, the department’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 department 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 how to encourage students to bond with their schools.