Innovative Apple product kicks off new education era

Over the years, the educational experience has changed. More people are going to college than they were 20 years ago and classroom sizes have increased as a result.

Also college campuses are not your grandfathers’ college campuses. Colleges are focusing more on “campus life” with the additions of state-of-the-art dormitories, recreation centers and other facilities for either entertainment or academic reasons. It’s not just about hitting the books these days. It’s also about the “experience.”

But that all might change 20 years from now as the idea of the “virtual classroom” has taken off.

And not surprisingly, Apple is at the helm of this revolutionary movement. Two weeks ago, the company announced the addition of iTunes U to its growing catalog of innovative products.

iTunes U is a free app – accessible from the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad – that offers courses, many of them free, to anybody in the world. In the app, users can access learning tools such as audio, video and eBooks straight from the publisher that will aid them in completing the course.

It’s opened a whole new world of possibilities for both schools and students. The latter no longer have to scramble and text their friends to find out what the latest assignment is.

Instead, if a course is offered through the app, the student can just look up what they missed right from the app. It’s an extension of the actual classroom that will become very useful to the education industry once more and more colleges and universities catch on.

Additionally, it’s a useful application for non-students who are not enrolled at a university. Distinguished colleges and universities, such as Stanford and Duke, offer free video lectures and courses that anybody can access and learn from.

And if you don’t have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, fear not, because iTunes U is also offered on the desktop.

Professors and instructors will also love the concept of this app. They no longer have to teach in a classroom setting if their schedule doesn’t allow it. Instead, they can interact with students through their own time via posting PowerPoints, video and audio lectures and other tools that are necessary for students to complete assignments and study from.

Some might argue that this might take away the importance of learning in a physical classroom setting. That will probably never become obsolete, but it helps those people who are not as fortunate as us to pay full price for the “college experience.” And not everybody lives by distinguished universities such as Stanford, Yale or Oxford.

Sooner rather than later, more students will be earning degrees online than they are now. And iTunes U is just the beginning of a revolutionary way for learning ready to spread its wings and take off.


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