Pupils from Scoil Oscair CNS Lucan, pictured at the launch of the new iTunes U app
Pupils from Scoil Oscair CNS Lucan pictured at the launch of the new iTunes U app, which took place at the Red Rua Centre in Tallaght, Dublin

Apple’s first iTunes U service in Ireland embraced by 16 schools

12 Jan 2016

Students across 16 schools, colleges and further education centres in Dublin are the first in the country to use Apple’s iTunes U learning resources to create an open learning environment.

An initial group of more than 70 teachers in 16 centres of learning have undertaken professional training in order to create, edit and manage entire courses for the iTunes U platform. They are also sharing their ongoing course work with each other.

iTunes U is Apple’s collaborative learning app, and it can house multiple resources in a streamlined learning environment.

The move comes just as Apple releases the first beta of iOS 9.3 to its public beta testers, with a multi-user mode for iPads aimed primarily at schools where buying a single iPad for each student is too expensive.

“This is exemplary of the forward-looking approach to skills development that we want to see for every pupil and driven by our teachers,” explained Paddy Lavelle, CEO of the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB), which is rolling out the iTunes U programme in Ireland.

“It’s truly exciting to be at the forefront of the merging of traditional teaching methods with advanced digital technologies that will underpin and support the skills of our teachers and are easy to use for our students.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see how students react to the initiative and the long-term results iTunes U will impact on teachers and students.”

‘Tra-digital’ learning through iTunes U

A library of iPads has been made available for teachers to use. With resource materials prepared specially by iTunes U skilled teachers, students will be taught using a mix of traditional and digital means.

They can also collaborate with teachers and students in an open learning environment.

Up to 20 courses are planned for delivery through the DDLETB iTunes U site and these will be accessible throughout Ireland and the world. iTunes U also enables anyone to download free video and audio lectures from the world’s leading universities, including many in Ireland.

DDLETB’s iTunes U service has already had more than 1,800 downloads and over 17,000 individual viewers of its coursework from all over the world, most notably in the US, with a course on energy now also featured as a standout item on the global  iTunes site.

The launch of DDLETB’s iTunes U courses has been supported by the Apple Distinguished Educators programme, a voluntary network of education leaders recognised for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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